In Case You Missed It – Week 10
First things first: I apologize.
For anyone (if, in fact, there was anyone) who was looking forward to this column a week ago and was disappointed by its absence, I’m sorry. I had a prior engagement and was unable to publish. Which means this installment of ICYMI will be extra fascinating. Hold on tight, because here we go…
I don’t get it, people. I understand that every year coaches and players talk in the preseason (and during the season as well) about the parity of the FCS and how any team could emerge and take a conference or national title. For the most part, that’s a farce.
Yes, sometimes things do happen that raise eyebrows. Like last season when four-loss Sam Houston State burned through the postseason and made it to the semifinals where the Bearkats squared off and lost against eventual champion North Dakota State. That wasn’t really supposed to happen, but it wasn’t completely unheard of.
For the most part, the teams that are predicted to take a conference championship or make a postseason berth usually do. College football is at least fairly predictable.
But this season, I’m lost.
I really don’t get it. You’re telling me that a New Hampshire team which lost to the likes of Delaware and Stony Brook and was nearly vanquished by Rhode Island can take down Richmond? Northern Colorado can hang with and ultimately beat Portland State? Mercer shuts down Chattanooga’s veteran-laden offense?
Gone are the days when there was a true favorite. North Dakota State’s reign over the FCS and the polls just isn’t the same. The only problem is: if it’s not North Dakota State that is seen as the kingpin of the league, then who is?
Sure, Jacksonville State is at the top at the moment. But is there anything the team has done to prove it’s unbeatable? The last few weeks of this college football season will be of vital importance for a handful of programs, and once again we’ll sit back and enjoy it as it all unfolds as we try and get a much clearer picture.
In case you missed the action from Week 10 of the FCS season: here are some of the more muted headlines and stats you should know:
Another week, another strong showing for some of the place kickers around the FCS. St. Francis (Pa.) kicker Lance Geesey booted five field goals through the uprights to help his Red Flash hold off Central Connecticut State, 22-13. The Citadel’s Eric Goins also had five field goals, but his Bulldogs held a much more comfortable lead as they defeated VMI, 35-14, to remain perfect in Southern Conference play.
And Norfolk State kicker Cameron Marouf lifted his Spartans to a 20-17 overtime victory over Savannah State thanks to a 38-yard game-winner.
In an interestingly close contest between Stony Brook and Howard, defense played a huge role. But don’t tell that to Seawolves runner Donald Liotine, who scampered for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries – all career highs. He was responsible for Stony Brook’s only points in the 14-9 victory over the Bison.
But on defense, Stony Brook set a pair of outlandish FCS single-game highs. The Seawolves managed to sack Howard quarterback Kalen Johnson a whopping 12 times, and held the Bison run game to a dismal minus-42 yards on the ground. The previous FCS single-game high this season was minus-18 yards, held by Harvard.
Speaking of the Crimson, they extended their win streak to 22 games dating back to the 2013 campaign with a convincing 24-16 victory over Columbia. Harvard has won 16 straight against Ivy League competition, and could claim at least a share of the league crown for the fourth time in the last five seasons with a win next weekend against Penn.
Charleston Southern got its defense on by holding Kennesaw State to 1-for-12 on third-down conversions Saturday in the Buccaneers’ 28-14 win. The Bucs overcame 10 penalties for over 100 yards for the victory.
Jarod Neal played a decent game for UT Martin, throwing for three touchdowns and 358 yards to lift his Skyhawks past Eastern Kentucky, 42-35. No touchdown pass was more important, however, than his final one to Rod Wright, which came with 1:05 to play that proved to be the game-winner that gave UT Martin its first lead of the contest. Neal did throw four interceptions in the win.
Did you miss the ending to Idaho State versus Montana? If so, I can’t even adequately describe it to you. Go to YouTube and search for it. You won’t regret it, especially if you like game-winning touchdowns on botched game-winning field goal attempts. On second thought, I’ll just include it here.
No Kade Bell for Jacksonville? No problem. The accomplished lefty passer for the Dolphins was taken out of the game against Davidson in the first quarter after suffering an injury, and redshirt sophomore Rylan Wells filled in nicely. Wells tossed four touchdowns to lead the Dolphins to a 42-12 victory.
Updates on your presumptive FCS Offensive Player of the Year frontrunners: Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp added another score to his resume after hauling in nine grabs for 98 yards and a touchdown. His season total is up to 18, and his career total is now 55 – just three back of David Ball’s all-time record of 58 for New Hampshire. His Eagles were defeated by Northern Arizona, however, 52-30.
Kade Harrington burst out with another strong game, gaining 255 yards with two touchdowns on 32 carried for Lamar. Because Fordham back Chase Edmonds was idle with his Rams over the weekend, Harrington has firmly implanted himself as the FCS rushing leader with 1,805 yards (Edmonds has 1,506). Both backs have scored 19 rushing touchdowns.
Lamar ultimately lost to Nicholls State, though, 30-28, on a late Colonels field goal.
Finally, a couple more FCS single-game highs that were tied this weekend:
Jackson State linebacker Javancy Jones registered six tackles for loss against Alabama State, but his Tigers were taken down by the Hornets, 17-12.
And McNeese State punter Jean Breaux launched an 86-yard punt that ties a 2015 FCS high in his Cowboys’ 27-10 beating of Sam Houston State.