National Notes Week 13
Kevin Marshall, National Contributor | November 27, 2015
The State of the Nation
The deliberations and debates are over and we have a field for the 2015 FCS Playoffs! Some fans are happy and others are livid with the selection committee. This is no different from any other year. If your team was on the bubble and didn’t make it then they should have won one more game and removed themselves from it.
The Citadel Bulldogs shocked everyone but themselves by beating the University of South Carolina 23-22 in front of 77,000 plus fans in Columbia, SC. This victory by The Military College of South Carolina was no fluke. The Cadets ran for 350 yards on an SEC defense and the Bulldog defense held them when they had to. Cadet Tyler Renew led the ‘Dogs with 174 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Southern Utah won the Big Sky Conference by beating Northern Arizona 49-41. Thunderbird quarterback Ammon Olsen was the difference. Olsen threw for 430 yards and five touchdowns in the victory over the Lumberjacks. Olsen’s favorite target was Mike Sharp who had 169 yards on eight receptions with three touchdowns. Congratulations to the Thunderbirds and Coach Ed Lamb.
Portland State closed the book on the Eastern Washington Eagles 2015 season with a 34-31 win on the road in Cheney, Washington. The Vikings were an impressive 13-17 on third down. The Eagle defense just couldn’t get off of the field. PSU running back David Jones was huge for them. Jones ran for 150 yards and a couple of touchdowns.
Montana beat the Bobcats of Montana State 54-35 in The Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman, Montana. The Griz led at the half 37-14 and never really let the Bobcats back into the contest. The defense was good again for Montana and is the reason they have been winning lately.
Richmond claimed the CAA automatic bid by beating the William and Mary Tribe 20-9. Spider running back Jacobi Green was the difference for Richmond. Green ran for 218 yards. The Richmond defense really played well. That unit held the Tribe without a touchdown.
Western Illinois played themselves into the playoffs by defeating South Dakota State 30-24 in two overtimes. Nikko Watson carried the ball for 163 yards for the Leathernecks and Sean McGuire passed for 282 yards and a touchdown.
McNeese State did something that very few have been able to accomplish. The Cowboy defense held Lamar running back Kade Harrington to just 70 yards on 17 carries and made him a non factor in the game. Three Cowboys rushed for over 100 yards in the 20-14 win over the Cardinals. McNeese Head Coach Matt Viator tied the record for the most wins by a Coach at McNeese State. Congratulations to Coach Viator.
The Bearkats of Sam Houston State destroyed Central Arkansas 42-13. Bearkat quarterback Jared Johnson passed for 279 yards and halfback Cory Avery ran for 100 yards for the fourth consecutive week. Central Arkansas allowed 550 yards of total offense. Coach KC Keeler seems to have his boys poised for a deep run in these playoffs.
The Interviews – Playoff Spectacular
Brand Lawrence and I discuss some of the upcoming national awards for players and so forth at the FCS level and then Brandon , Chad Lenz, and I will break down each game in Segment Four. You can get your printable bracket for the playoffs here.
Picking these first round games was really tough. Emory and I disagreed more than usual. Tune in to get Mr. Hunt’s upset picks.
Southern Utah @ Sam Houston State
This game features two very good offenses and some of the best defensive players in the country. Southern Utah has faced tougher opponents this season than the Bearkats have and are more battle tested. Two excellent coaches lead these two programs. I think Ed Lamb and the Thunderbirds best KC Keeler and his Bearkats in Texas. SUU 31-27.
South Dakota State @ Montana
If history is any indicator then the Griz will spot the Jackrabbits a big lead and then come roaring back to win. I don’t think this one is going to play out that way. SDSU has to get pressure on Griz quarterback Brady Gustafson and make him throw it underneath and come up and make the tackle. Tackling is something the Jackrabbits have not done well this season. Give me the Griz in a cold and loud Washington-Grizzly Stadium 38-35.
Eastern Illinois @ Northern Iowa
Northern Iowa should win this battle of the Panthers. EIU may just be happy to be here while UNI thinks they can win the whole thing. Aaron Bailey will be the difference for Northern Iowa. UNI 35-13.
Duquesne @ William & Mary
The Tribe will be on the warpath after losing the Capital Cup and the CAA last week. Kendall Anderson gets back on track and the Tribe defense is tough! William and Mary 42-17.
Western Illinois @ Dayton
I’ll be shocked if the Flyers win this one. I do think this will be the most competitive team the Pioneer League has had since they received the automatic bid. Leathernecks 38-20.
Fordham @ Chattanooga
The Key in this one is Fordham running back Chase Edmonds. If the Ram offensive line can make some spaces for him to run through this could be on e of the better first round matchups. I think Jacob Huesman and the Mocs will be up to the challenge. Mocs 38-21.
Colgate @ New Hampshire
The past two seasons a Patriot League team has gone to Durham, New Hampshire and lost. Colgate is a good team and this is not the same UNH team that FCS fans are used to seeing in the playoffs. The Wildcats are tough to beat at home though. UNH 28-17
The Citadel @ Coastal Carolina
This should really be a good one. The Chanticleers come limping into the postseason off of a loss while the Cadets are sky high after defeating South Carolina. Can The Citadel offense sustain drives and keep their defense off the field? If they can’t Alex Ross and company will pick the ‘Dogs apart with their passing game. This one is really tough to pick. Coastal at home 31-28.