In Case You Missed It – Week 11
Saturday, Nov. 14, was the day the giants fell.
Not just on the FCS level of college football. Not just for football in general. It was a wild, unpredictable day for sports across the platform.
The obvious hint that it would be a crazy day came in the form of the longest win streak in the FCS coming to an end.
Harvard’s 22-game run was shattered early in the day at the hands of Penn in the form of a 35-25 upset. The Crimson, who had been victorious in 16 consecutive Ivy League contests dating back to the 2013 campaign, uncharacteristically turned the ball over three times in the loss.
That game was the harbinger that set up the greatest upset: Holly Holm knocking out the seemingly invincible Ronda Rousey in a bantamweight UFC fight for the ages.
Sure, the two events are unrelated. But they say when it rains, it pours. And the rain fell hard on Saturday.
Now Harvard’s grip on the Ivy League is anything but secure. With one week left, the Crimson must take down Yale in order to reclaim the league crown for the fourth time in the last five seasons. But the Bulldogs are never pushovers, and a Dartmouth team that nearly took down Harvard just a few weeks ago will have one eye on the Crimson as it takes on Princeton in the Big Green’s regular season finale.
The Ivy League is just one conference in the FCS that will have its champion fitted in the final week. But a handful of them have already had their victor crowned and representative to the FCS playoffs decided. With Harvard now no longer among the unbeaten FCS programs, Dayton (10-0, clinched Pioneer Football League title) and McNeese State (9-0) head into their final contests as the two remaining perfect teams.
In case you missed the Week 11 action, here are some facts and stats to know from across the FCS landscape:
The Northeast Conference is one that still doesn’t have a champion, so the Duquesne versus St. Francis (Pa.) season-ending clash next weekend between the two 4-1 in-conference programs means the winner punches its ticket to the playoffs.
On the flip side, Wagner picked up its first victory of the season this Saturday when the NEC team forced five Central Connecticut State turnovers and held the Blue Devils to 267 total offensive yards (including 81 rushing).
Speaking of turnovers, Brown gave the ball back to Dartmouth virtually once every third possession. The Big Green recorded seven (SEVEN!) takeaways in their 34-18 romp of the Bears. Dartmouth and Harvard each have one loss in the Ivy standings, but Harvard owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Also in the Ivy League, the debate rages on as to whether Cornell’s 3-0 win over Columbia was exciting or horrific. The correct answer: horrific. The two programs combined for 27 first downs and just 495 yards of offense. Columbia threw for 42 pass yards in the loss, while Cornell had 41.
Marist kept it close against Dayton, but it was the Flyers who came away with the victory in the final minute to clinch their first-ever FCS playoff berth. Alex Jeske carried in a 7-yard touchdown run with less than a minute on the clock to give Dayton the 28-21 win.
Not having Connor Kacsor, who tore his ACL in practice back in early October, didn’t hurt the Flyers Saturday. Tucker Yinger carried the ball 23 times for 237 yards, doing his best impression of his injured teammate.
Charleston Southern – not Coastal Carolina and not Liberty – clinched the Big South Conference championship with the team’s 31-24 victory over the Flames behind quarterback Austin Brown’s 301-yard, four-touchdown effort. Nathan Perera was on the receiving end of two of those touchdown connections.
Youngstown State seemed to have North Dakota State on the ropes Saturday, but the four-time FCS national champion Bison were able to overcome a 17-point deficit to pick up a narrow 27-24 win. Quarterback Easton Stick scampered four yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 35 seconds to play to pick up the victory over Bo Pelini’s Penguins squad.
Chattanooga earned the Southern Conference title with its 31-23 win over The Citadel thanks to the work of star quarterback Jacob Huesman. The passer completed 13-of-17 through the air for 192 yards, but did most of his damage with his legs by rushing for 118 yards and a pair of scores.
Northern Iowa blanked Missouri State Saturday in a 41-0 affair. Aaron Bailey broke into the end zone for four rushing touchdowns, and the Panthers’ defense held the Bears to just six first downs in the contest and 139 offensive yards. UNI racked up 512 yards of offense in the lopsided win.
Two of the FCS’ best running backs were marvelous once again Saturday. Fordham rusher Chase Edmonds toted the ball 20 times for 137 yards and a touchdown in his Rams’ 38-31 victory over Georgetown. Edmonds has 20 rushing scores this season, ranking second in the FCS.
The player he finds himself behind is having one of the best seasons in history. Lamar tailback Kade Harrington carried 31 times Saturday for 217 yards and two touchdowns as his Cardinals took down Incarnate Word, 28-21. Harrington has now rushed for at least 100 yards in eight straight games, and has six 200-plus yard performances this season. He leads the nation with 2,022 yards and 21 scores on the ground.
Cal Poly signal caller Chris Brown did it all in his Mustangs’ 55-38 win over UC Davis. Brown passed for three touchdowns, had one rushing score and pulled down a 30-yard touchdown reception to complete the triple threat of offense.
Finally, the Colonial Athletic Association has been up and down this season in terms of stability. But there was certainly no shortage of excitement Saturday.
In danger of losing for the third time in as many games, James Madison made a clutch comeback Saturday as receiver Brandon Ravenel hauled in a 12-yard touchdown grab with 17 seconds to play to lift his Dukes past Delaware, 24-21, on the road.
And John Robertson fill-in Zack Bednarczyk found Kevin Gulyas for a 12-yard touchdown connection with 41 seconds left in regulation as Villanova downed Richmond, 21-20, to hand the Spiders their second straight conference loss.