National Notes Week 11
Kevin Marshall, National Contributor | November 13, 2015
The State of the Nation
Living on the edge finally caught up to a couple of top teams and upsets abounded last week in the FCS!
Jacksonville State solidified their hold on the top spot in the Anygivensaturday.com Top 25 poll by beating their second straight opponent who entered the contest undefeated in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Illinois was the victim last week losing 24-3 to the Gamecocks. Eli Jenkins and the Gamecock offense get a lot of press but their defense is really playing well. That defense has given up three points in the last eight quarters.
Illinois State was one of the upset victims. South Dakota State used an improving offensive attack led by Freshman Quarterback Taryn Christion to beat the Redbirds. Christion gives the Jackrabbits an extra dimension with his ability to move around in the pocket and run with the football. When he is in there the defense must account for him and that leaves a a lot of man to man opportunities for his receivers down the field. Jackrabbit wideout Jake Wieneke is having another exemplary campaign. Last week he became just the second Jackrabbit to post consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Christion and Wieneke could lead SDSU a long way in the future.
Chattanooga finally ran out of mojo on the road in front of a packed house at Mercer. The Bears forced 4 turnovers, including an interception while protecting the 17-14 lead with about 4 minutes remaining in the game, and beat the Mocs. Mercer is going to be tough in 2016. The loss by Chattanooga makes the game on Saturday against The Citadel a must win if the Mocs are to make the playoffs.
It’s a mess in the Colonial Athletic Association. Six teams are in position to be in the postseason. Richmond, who looked to be in the catbird seat, lost to New Hampshire 30-25. Wildcat Senior Quarterback Sean Goldrich proved again how important he is to UNH. Goldrich threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Goldrich is more than just his stat line. UNH looks like a different team since he has come back from injury. His leadership just may lead the Wildcats to the postseason. Towson beat Maine 10-7 in an old school CAA game that featured defense, hard hits, and guts. Towson keeps winning and are solidly in the discussion for an at-large bid to the national playoffs.
North Dakota State racked up over 500 yards of total offense for the second consecutive week. Quarterback Easton Stick threw touchdowns to four different receivers in his home debut as the Bison signal caller. NDSU seems to be playing their best football at the right time of the year once again.
McNeese State clinched the Southland Conference Title and punched their ticket to the playoffs by defeating Sam Houston State 27-10. The key to this one was the ability of the Cowboy defense to get off of the field on third down. McNeese held the Bearkats to just 4-15 on the penultimate down. Cowboy quarterback Daniel Sams had 332 total yards in the victory.
Eastern Washington and Portland State were both upset in Big Sky Conference action. Portland State was shocked by Northern Colorado and Eastern was blown out by Northern Arizona. The UNC Bears went 88 yards in just five plays and scored the game winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining to win 35-32. The Eagles ran into a Lumberjack offense that has really been putting on a show lately. NAU put up 52 points and the ‘Jacks defense limited EWU to 30. This is the third straight week Northern Arizona has scored 50 points.
Charleston, South Carolina is now the home of two conference champions. The Charleston Southern Buccaneers and The Citadel Bulldogs both earned at least a share of their conference crown last week. CSU beat Kennesaw State 29-14 and The Citadel retained possession of the coveted Silver Shako by whipping military rival Virginia Military Institute 35-14. The Citadel’s victory, coupled with Chattanooga’s loss to Mercer, gave the Cadets just their third Southern Conference Championship in school history. Both Head Coaches should be on all the ballots for the Eddie Robinson Award.
In the Voices of the FCS segment this week Mr. Tyler Merriam, Voice of the SDSU Jackrabbits, joins us to talk about his craft and the Jackrabbits. Mr. Brandon Lawrence, of Thefcswedge.com, stops by to discuss the CAA playoff picture and a few other leagues too. Tune in and hear what these gentlemen have to say.
Towson at William and Mary
Towson has shown a lot of heart and have proven how tough they are. William and Mary is just too good up front and running back Kendell Anderson will have holes to run through. Tribe 21-13.
Richmond at Villanova
Villanova, like Towson, has really played themselves back into playoff consideration if they can win out. Richmond needs to rebound after a very disappointing loss to New Hampshire one week ago. The Spiders get back on track this week. Richmond 23-17.
Illinois State @ Southern Illinois
I fear the Salukis are headed for the Old Yeller treatment in this one. After the Redbird loss last week I wouldn’t want to play them this week. Brock Spack will have his boys fired up and ready to go. ISU 31-17.
North Dakota State @ Youngstown State
The Penguins got well against Missouri State last week but this Bison team is finally playing up to their potential. NDSU will win on the road 31-20.
South Dakota State @ South Dakota
The Coyotes can play with anyone but the Jackrabbits are rolling into the postseason. SDSU 34-13.
Lehigh @ Colgate
The Colgate defense has been playing very well lately. They rush the passer well and are stout against the run. Lehigh will have trouble moving the ball and Colgate will not. Colgate 28-20.
The Citadel @ Chattanooga (AGS Game of the Week)
There has been a lot of chatter this week about Chattanooga being exposed in their loss last week to Mercer. I don’t think so. Like most other teams they turned the ball over and they got beat. The Citadel is playing for the outright SoCon title and the best the Mocs can hope to do is share it with the Cadets. Chattanooga must have this one to be playoff eligible. I think they get it. Chattanooga at home 23-21.
Liberty @ Charleston Southern
The Flames are out. Charleston Southern has the best defense in the FCS and they show it. Bucs 28-17.
Central Arkansas @ Nicholls State
The Bears are good and will be a solid playoff team if they can get there. Central Arkansas on the road 35-21.
Montana State @ Idaho State
The Bengals are down after suffering a bizarre and disappointing loss to Montana last week. The Bobcats are coming off of a loss to Southern Utah. Bobcats 34-31.
Southern Utah @ Portland State
This should really be a good one. The Vikings lost a lot of momentum last week and will be looking to regain it. Southern Utah keeps rolling behind a talented defense. Thunderbirds Are Go! 38-35.
Eastern Washington @ Montana
The Griz have new life after winning one last week they probably shouldn’t have. The Eagles are hurting after getting whipped by NAU. EWU Coach Beau Baldwin earns his pay this week. Eastern Washington 38-31.