In Case You Missed It – Week 8
Offense sells the tickets, but defense wins championships.
That’s how it goes, right?
Growing up and playing competitive sports my whole adolescent life, that was the one statement I heard from coaches and teammates more than any other.
But does defense even exist anymore? Or have offensive players in FCS football become just so overwhelmingly good that it’s now impossible for defenses to corral them?
Week 8 in the FCS was one for the ages if you’re a fan of embellished offensive statistics. I’m not so sure I can count on both hands the number of 170-plus yard rushers from this weekend, not to mention record-breaking performances by Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp and Harvard quarterback Scott Hosch.
Let’s start with the game of the week – Richmond visiting James Madison. ESPN’s College GameDay was in the house for what was arguably the most hyped FCS game of the season thus far, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Spiders running back Jacobi Green carried the ball 27 times for 236 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns to help lead his Richmond squad past the previously unbeaten Dukes, 59-49. The two teams combined for a whopping 1,305 total yards of offense, as Spiders quarterback Kyle Lauletta racked up 415 yards through the air, including 204 to receiver Brian Brown.
JMU quarterback Vad Lee accounted for 418 yards of offense (294 passing, 124 rushing) with five total touchdowns. Both teams were magnificent on third-down tries with Richmond going 11-for-15 on conversion attempts, and James Madison right behind at 10-for-14.
That was just the start of the action, though. Fordham running back Chase Edmonds continued his beastly sophomore season with a 2015 FCS single game-high tying 347 yards on the ground, matching Lamar’s Kade Harrington who achieved the feat just a few weeks ago. But Edmonds went a step further with 402 all-purpose yards – an FCS high this season – and added three touchdowns. He now leads the nation with 1,393 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Harrington was stellar as well this weekend with 243 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, but he was overshadowed in his team’s 35-17 loss to Central Arkansas by Blake Veasley, who galloped for 292 yards (a UCA school record) and four touchdowns on a 2015 FCS single-game high 49 carries.
That’s four examples right there, and I didn’t even mention Illinois State’s Marshaun Coprich (206 yards, two touchdowns), Sam Houston State’s Jalen Overstreet (200 yards, one touchdown) or Southern’s Lenard Tillery (196 yards, two touchdowns).
C’mon, defenses across the nation. It’s crunch time in college football, and those championships are out there waiting to be taken. Time to stop the FCS offensive record book from being re-written each week.
In case you missed it, here are some headlines from Week 8 action in the FCS you should know:
Edmonds not only tied the 2015 FCS single-game high with 347 rushing yards, but he set Fordham and Patriot League records with the performance as well. The previous school record for yards on the ground was held by Chip Kron (1985) and set at 272. The Patriot League record was much more recent, previously held by Lafayette’s Ross Scheuerman, who broke loose for 304 yards last season.
Harvard kept its win streak alive and pushed it to 20 games dating back to the 2013 season with a 42-7 clubbing of Princeton. Hosch threw for a career-high 437 yards, scored two touchdowns through the air and added two more on the ground. His passing yardage was the third most in Crimson single-game history.
Monmouth got a taste of its own medicine Saturday when facing the unbeaten Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina. The Hawks and Chants were knotted at 20 apiece before Ryan Granger connected on a 30-yard game-winning field goal as time expired, just one week after Monmouth downed Liberty thanks to a game-winning boot.
Holy Cross quarterback Peter Pujals could be the dark horse for some offensive honors this week after leading his Crusaders past Lafayette in a 42-0 rout. Pujals threw for 358 yards and six touchdowns – four of them to receiver Brendan Flaherty. It was Holy Cross’s second shutout of an opponent this season.
Saturday marked North Dakota State’s first game without quarterback Carson Wentz (who is out for the regular season with a broken wrist), but the Bison were in good hands with Easton Stick under center. Stick threw for 126 yards and a touchdown, and added 124 rushing yards with two more scores as NDSU doubled up Indiana State, 28-14.
Dartmouth nearly allowed Columbia to pick up its first multi-win season since the Lions went 3-7 in 2012. The Big Green narrowly escaped with a 13-9 victory, but were flagged 17 times in the contest for a total of 159 penalty yards. Yikes.
Drake quarterback Andy Rice was the hero Saturday as his Bulldogs took down previously unbeaten Jacksonville, 28-24. Rice had four touchdown tosses in the contest, including the game-winner to Andrew Yarwood with 3:14 left to play in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
Jacksonville State only used its potent offensive starters for about one half of play in its 27-7 victory over winless Austin Peay. The Gamecocks still set a school record defensively, however, holding the Governors to just 82 yards of total offense, which is tied for the third-best single-game defensive performance this season in terms of yards allowed.
Finally, your Cooper Kupp update. The junior receiver moved into a tie for second all-time in FCS history with 52 career touchdown receptions, passing Jerry Rice’s mark of 50 and evening him with former Elon great Terrell Hudgins in the category. The only player standing in his way of the all-time record is former New Hampshire pass catcher David Ball, who owns 58 career touchdown receptions. But Kupp, who added three more scores to his resume on Saturday to tie Hudgins, still has AT LEAST four games left to play in his JUNIOR season. Whether he returns for his senior campaign is up for debate.
Kupp hauled in a 2015 single-game high 20 receptions Saturday for a school-record and FCS single-game high 275 yards to complement his three scores. But it was kicker Jordan Dascalo who provided the fireworks for the Eagles against Northern Colorado. The transfer from Washington State connected on a 44-yard field goal try as time expired to save Kupp’s record-breaking performance and give Eastern a 43-41 victory over the Bears.