Yesterday was an awesome day for football. There were some FCS over FBS upsets again. #18 Illinois State took down E Michigan by a huge margin, 31-14. Sacramento State, who upset Oregon State last year, used a last second field goal to triumph over Colorado 30-28. Finally, reigning FCS National Champ #2 NDSU, who beat Minnesota last year, proved they don’t need to rebuild by beating Colorado State 22-7.
But as far as FCS vs FCS, there were no bigger games than App State’s 35-27 victory over Montana. If you want, you can actually rewatch the game in its entirety on ESPN3.
Gone were the special teams mistakes of the ECU game. The penalties were cut by more than half, 5 for 42yds. In fact we had 0 penalties in the first half. The biggest stat of the night though was 0 turnovers for App, but 4 for Montana.
I said in my prediction that the turnover battle would decide the game. That’s often the case anyway, but it turned out to be very applicable in this game. Montana actually outgained us on the ground 176-157. They outgained us in the air as well, 307-260. Montana just made way more mistakes than us, even missing a crucial extra point that would have tied the game.
We’re off to a great start and should be ranked in the Top-10 this week for whatever that’s worth. Let’s take a look now at the “Other” games to watch from this past week. I didn’t have quite the prediction week I had last time, but not horrible, going 6-3 for 15-4 on the season. Frankly anyone who predicted The Citadel would take down Georgia Southern needs a mental health screening.
ECU – 10 / @ FBS #9 South Carolina – 40
ECU was held scoreless until the 2nd half in what can only be considered an ass-whooping. If anything, this game shows that there is likely a bigger gap between the FBS mid-majors and the so-called BCS teams, than there is between the elite FCS and the FBS mid-majors. Although, UL-Monroe might have something to say about that (they took down #8 Arkansas yesterday). Ultimately, ECU’s 5 turnovers doomed them (why didn’t they do that LAST week). We’ll find out how good ECU really is once they get into their C-USA schedule.
Coastal Carolina – 47 / Furman – 45 (3OT)
Although it didn’t quite have the “names” that our game did, this game seems to be the one you wanted to actually watch. After taking an early 10-0 lead, Coastal Carolina seemed to maintain control, going into the 4th quarter with a 17-6 lead. Then all hell broke loose. Furman put up 19 4th quarter points and it took a last second field goal by Coastal just to put it into overtime. Then the two teams traded touchdowns in 1st and double overtime. That’s when the mandatory 2-pt conversion tries came into play. The teams traded touchdowns again, but Furman was unable to convert their 2-pt conversion and that finally ended the game. When it was all said and done, Furman actually had less turnovers and more total yards than Coastal. I’m looking forward to playing both of these teams.
#3 Georgia Southern – 21 / @ The Citadel - 23
The biggest win by a SoCon team so far is definitely this one. The Citadel proved everyone wrong, including me, by showing that they can play with anyone at the FCS level. They started off strong with a 14-0 lead, but slipped after that, taking only a 17-14 lead into halftime. With 3:13 left in the game, Georgia Southern took the lead 21-20, but with 0:35 on the clock The Citadel kicked a game-winning field goal from 37yds out to seal the deal. Georgia Southern put up 307 yards on the ground, which wasn’t even as high as last week.
Overall this outcome was great for us. If Georgia Southern beats us they would still have the tie-breaker, but if they lose another SoCon game (Wofford?) we would have the inside track. In the short-term, it makes next week’s matchup against The Citadel a lot more interesting (and scary). If the Citadel were to win, they will have to be considered the lead contender for the SoCon championship. Who saw that coming?
Chattanooga – 24 / #24 Jacksonville State - 27
Chattanooga is good at keeping big games close, but they aren’t good at actually winning them. Here’s another heartbreaker for them as they fall to a ranked opponent on the road. After being down 17-7 at halftime, Chattanooga stormed back to tie the game at 24-24 with 00:39 remaining. I guess they left too much time on the clock because Jacksonville State kicked a game winning field goal as time expired. Once again the losing team actually had slightly more yards on offense 422-410. This game was almost all done in the air as the two teams combined for only 87 rushing yards.
Western Carolina – 24 / @ Marshall – 52
No surprises here. Most of WCU’s points came in the fourth quarter when Marshall had long since unloaded their bench. Marshall put up 430 passing yards and almost doubled WCU’s total yards 615-335. The good news for WCU is that they only need to win 1 more game to beat last season’s win total. Let’s hope they get it against Georgia Southern for the laughs.
NC Central – 14 / Elon – 34
I wouldn’t wish the beating Elon got from UNC last week on my worst enemy. I knew NC Central was no good but after Elon’s performance I would have picked 11 random guys on the street over Elon. I guess they had something to prove because they bounced back and dominated this game. They went into the half up 31-7 and took a nap the rest of the way.
D-II West Alabama – 6 / Samford – 34
WOW great job Samford! This might be the biggest upset of all time!!! Oh wait…WEST Alabama. Nevermind, don’t care.
D-II Lincoln (PA) – 0 / #10 Wofford – 82
Apparently Wofford played their local Lincoln/Ford dealership in a pickup game this week. A not-a-record crowd of 4,309 watched this epic matchup that put the Superbowl to shame. Yawn.