In Case You Missed It – Week 4
While almost the entire city of Philadelphia focused on getting ready for the Papal visit over the weekend, something else had been brewing up on the Villanova campus Thursday night – just a few miles from where Pope Francis would address hundreds of thousands of people.
An upset for the masses, so to speak.
UPenn and Villanova share the power struggle for FCS dominance in the City of Brotherly Love, and for the last century it’s been a pretty one-sided affair.
And while the global attention fell on the Pontiff, the Ivy league member Penn pulled out a 24-13 victory over the Colonial Athletic Association powerhouse for the first time in 14 meetings on Thursday.
It was Penn’s first victory over intra-city rival Villanova since Oct. 14, 1911.
The loss for the Wildcats was especially hard, considering reigning FCS player of the year John Robertson wasn’t under center. Instead, Zach Bednarczyk made his first career start for Villanova, throwing for 185 yards, a touchdown and an interception. ‘Nova had just 96 rushing yards in the loss, a clear indicator that Robertson was missed.
Penn coach Ray Priore picked up his first victory with his new program, and now has additional time to get ready for an Ivy League clash against current conference titan Dartmouth.
The Penn victory Thursday was just the precursor for an exciting weekend of FCS football. In case you missed the action, here are some notable stats and headlines to remember:
In Pioneer Football League action, Butler narrowly took down Campbell thanks to a one-handed touchdown snare by Brandon Collins with 37 seconds remaining. Butler (3-1,1-0 PFL) defeated the Fighting Camels, 25-24.
Staying in the Pioneer League, Jacksonville quarterback Kade Bell attempted 63 passes Saturday against Marist, which is the second-highest single-game total for a quarterback this season behind Montana’s Brady Gustafson (64).
Bethune-Cookman hasn’t always been a well-rounded offensive unit, but the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Wildcats this season seem to be focusing a little more on the passing game than in years past. They have, however, always been a program that commits plenty of penalties. In the team’s 42-12 win over Savannah State Saturday, B-CU was flagged 23 times for 212 yards.
Perhaps an easy choice for offensive player of the week, Grambling State quarterback Johnathan Williams put on a show Saturday in his Tigers’ 70-54 victory over Prairie View A&M. Williams accounted for seven touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) and 449 total yards (429 passing) in the offensively dominated clash. Grambling State is 2-0 against Southwestern Athletic Conference competition.
The two teams combined for a whopping 56 first downs and 845 passing yards. Williams is tied for the FCS lead in points responsible for per game (24.0 ppg) with North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. The difference: Williams has played in four games, while Wentz has only played three.
Coastal Carolina running back De’Angelo Henderson has almost silently been helping his Chanticleers defeat their opponents. On Saturday, the junior ball carrier galloped for 136 yards and two touchdowns as his Chants took down Bryant, 31-17. Henderson is part of a six-way tie for most rushing touchdowns (six) in the FCS this season.
Henderson is also second in the nation with 133.0 rushing yards per game. He likely won’t be catching Dayton’s Connor Kacsor anytime soon, though.
Kacsor had another stellar outing Saturday following up his 2015 breakout performance last weekend. The senior back clearly doesn’t have a problem handling a hefty workload, considering he carried the ball 44 times in the Flyers’ 31-27 win over Kennesaw State. Kacsor rushed for 229 yards (fourth most in a single game in the FCS this season) and three touchdowns.
The Dayton running back has carried the ball 84 times in the last two games. His 44 and 40 totes over the last two weeks, respectively, are the two highest single-game totals in the FCS this year. Kacsor is averaging 181.7 rushing yards per outing.
Speaking of single game rushing performances, does James Madison’s Vad Lee know he’s technically listed as a quarterback? It sure didn’t seem like it Saturday when his Dukes took down FBS opponent SMU, 48-45.
Lee shattered Kacsor’s single-game rushing mark by springing loose for 276 yards on the ground, adding two touchdowns on 20 carries. Lee was responsible for five touchdowns and 565 total offensive yards in the contest, which is the highest single-game yardage total this season.
Lee leads the FCS with 424.5 total yards per game, is tied for second in points responsible for (90) and is tied for fourth in points responsible for per game (22.5). James Madison as an offensive unit tops the nation in total offense (671.3 ypg), rushing offense (356.3 ypg), and is second in scoring offense (50.3 ppg).
The Dukes’ win over SMU means the FCS now has six victories over FBS competition this season.
Murray State quarterback KD Humphries did everything he could for his Racers on Saturday, but his team still lost to Tennessee Tech, 31-29. Humphries accounted for four total touchdowns and tied Eastern Washington quarterback Jordan West for most single-game passing yards with 491. Humphries ranks fourth in the FCS this season with 377.8 total ypg.
Finally, your weekly Cooper Kupp update. Kupp caught two more touchdown passes and hauled in 133 receiving yards on 10 receptions in EWU’s 28-20 win over Sacramento State, giving Kupp 10 touchdown catches through four games to lead the nation.
But watch out for South Dakota State’s Jake Wieneke, who brought in two scoring grabs of his own on Saturday. Wieneke has six receiving touchdowns in only three games played.