The following “Pick Six” points offer a quick look inside GLVC football action this week.
[1 | teams set to kick off 2018 campaign]
The seventh season of GLVC football officially kicks off on Thursday with half of the league’s teams in action. Five-time and defending champion Indianapolis hits the road for a top-15 matchup to begin the year as the No. 13 Greyhounds visit No. 10 Grand Valley State. Missouri S&T hosts Eastern New Mexico, which is receiving votes outside the AFCA preseason poll, while Truman State welcomes Michigan Tech and Quincy hopes at Division I Indiana State. On Saturday, McKendree squares off at home against Northern Michigan, Southwest Baptist travels to Houston Baptist, William Jewell is at DI Drake, and Lincoln takes on Lane in their annual battle. GLVCSN will stream the home openers for McKendree, Missouri S&T, Truman State across all of its platforms, including GLVCSN.com, the GLVCSN iOS and Android apps, and the GLVCSN OTT apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV. Be sure to download or upgrade to the newest GLVCSN mobiles apps, which now feature push notifications. Now you can know exactly when your favorite school or team begins its stream.
[2 | uindy unanimously picked to win its sixth league title]
The GLVC coaches unanimously picked Indianapolis to win the GLVC Championship this fall, it was announced July 27 at the seventh annual GLVC Football Kickoff in Lebanon, Illinois. Under the direction of eighth-year head coach Bob Bartolomeo, the five-time and defending GLVC Champion Greyhounds earned 49 points in the poll and all seven first-place votes, given Conference bylaws state a coach cannot for his own team. Since the GLVC began sponsoring football in 2012, UIndy has compiled a 42-4 record in GLVC play and garnered NCAA DII playoff bids in four of the last five seasons. The Greyhounds are coming off a record-setting 2017 campaign in which they went 11-1 (7-0 GLVC) and ended the year with a program-best No. 13 national ranking. Fourteen starters return for UIndy this season, including the reigning GLVC Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Jake Purichia, as well as 2017 GLVC Freshman of the Year, running back Al McKeller.
[3 | hounds to start season with historic ranking in coaches poll]
UIndy will open the 2018 season as the 13th-ranked team in Division II, according to the American Football Coaches Association Division II Preseason Poll. The Hounds, who topped out at No. 5 in the rankings during last season’s historic run, enter the poll in the same spot they finished 2017. The No. 13 ranking is the highest-ever preseason position for UIndy in the AFCA poll history, besting the No. 16 ranking earned prior to the start of the 2016 campaign. UIndy has received votes in each of the last seven preseason polls, including four times being ranked in the top 20. UIndy is the only GLVC school in the preseason rankings but is one of nine Super Region Three teams on the list. Nearly half of the top 15 teams (i.e. seven) hail from the nation’s third Super Region, including the Greyhounds’ opening-game opponent: No. 10 Grand Valley State. The Lakers were ranked No. 2 in last year’s preseason poll before the Greyhounds defeated them, 24-20, in the 2017 opener.
[4 | miners looking to dominate on both sides of the ball]
Missouri S&T, which picked up a first-place vote in the GLVC Preseason Poll, returns the majority of its potent offense that helped guide the Miners to a 7-4 record last year, including a 5-2 league mark that tied for second. Sixth-year head coach Tyler Fenwick welcomes back junior running back Deshawn Jones, who led the GLVC in rushing and was a second-team All-American last year, as well as senior quarterback Tyler Swart, the school record holder in passing yards (5,860) and total offense (5,538). On the defensive side of the ball, junior Tershawn Wharton and senior Roderick Chapman led the GLVC in sacks and interceptions, respectively, one year ago. As for Jones, the talented tailback set the league’s single-game mark of 275 rushing yards last year, the regular-season rushing record with 1,579 yards, and could take over the No. 1 on the career charts with another performance like his effort in 2017. He is currently 10th all-time at 1,912 rushing yards, just under 1,300 yards from league leader Bubba Jenkins (3,203) of Southwest Baptist. Jones currently paces the league with nine consecutive 100-yard rushing performances.
[5 | glvc passing marks could fall as well]
Speaking of Missouri S&T standouts eyeing conference career marks, senior quarterback Tyler Swart enters 2018 fifth on the GLVC’s all-time passing yards chart with 5,860 yards. Having thrown for 3,165 yards last season, Swart is just 2,649 yards shy of eclipsing the league record of 8,508 set by McKendree’s Isaac Fisher from 2012-15. UIndy senior quarterback Jake Purichia has certainly made his mark as well. Despite missing the second half of his sophomore season to injury, Purichia sits seventh on the career passing charts at 4,256 yards. A slight improvement from his 2017 campaign, in which he was named GLVC Offensive Player of the Year, could vault him past former UIndy signal caller Connor Barthel, who sits fourth all-time at 7,189 yards. Only three quarterbacks have surpassed the 8,000-yard plateau in their career, including Fisher, Quincy’s Nick Lonergan (8,414, 2012-15) and Southwest Baptist’s TJ Edwards (8,276, 2015-17).
[6 | more than half of all-conference selections return]
More than half of last year’s All-Conference honorees return for another season in 2018, led by GLVC Offensive Player of the Year Jake Purichia (QB) and Freshman of the Year Al McKeller (RB), both of UIndy. Those two standouts, along with Missouri S&T junior running back Deshawn Jones, are among the 18 returnees from the 35 first-team selections recognized last year. In addition to McKeller and Purichia, UIndy brings back first-team honorees in sophomore OL Clay Hadley, junior DL Jacob Schmatz, senior DL Lucas Rice, and senior linebacker Cole Sigmund. Missouri S&T boasts three additional first-team returners in senior WR Justin Vaughn, junior DE Tershawn Wharton and senior DB Roderick Chapman. Southwest Baptist is represented by two first-team standouts from a year ago, including senior LB Tyler Curts, and senior DB Cory Hanger. Truman State also returns a pair of first-teamers in State junior DE Sam Reeves and senior PR/KR Malique Robbins. Other top returnees include McKendree senior OL Cole Foster, and Quincy senior LB Cody Leonard. Also of note, 22 of the 38 second-team picks are back this year.