National Notes Week 14
Kevin Marshall, National Contributor | December 03, 2015
The State of the Nation
The first round of the national playoffs is in the books and what an exciting weekend it was! I expect a few more surprises this week in round two.
Chattanooga 50 Fordham 20
The Chattanooga Mocs, Co-Champions of the Southern Conference, easily handled the Patriot Leagues at large team the Fordham Rams. The Mocs led 31-0 at halftime. Chattanooga completely dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage and it was apparent to all who saw the game that Fordham was over-matched. UTC had 560 yards of total offense with 360 of them on the ground. Chattanooga faces the #1 seed this week the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in Alabama.
The Citadel 41 Coastal Carolina 38
Cadet Eric Goins kicked a 43 yard field goal as time expired to propel The Citadel to the second round. The Cadets had a school record four players rush for over 100 yards in the victory. Sophomore Quarterback Dominique Allen led the way with 174 yards and two touchdowns. Junior B-Back Tyler Renew followed up his herculean effort at South Carolina last week with 129 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore A-Back Cam Jackson added 113 yards and a touchdown while senior A-Back Vinny Miller posted a cool 100 yards on the ground. The Citadel defense forced four turnovers and made the plays when they had to. Coastal Carolina moves on to the Sun Belt with a loss in their last FCS game. The Citadel travels 17 miles up Interstate 26 for a rematch with the #8 seed Charleston Southern Buccaneers on Saturday in the second round.
Colgate 27 New Hampshire 20
The Red Raiders won their sixth consecutive game by outlasting New Hampshire of the CAA. Colgate was the definition of balance on offense gaining 189 yards on the ground and 188 through the air. Colgate tackled extremely well and is one of the more fundamentally sound football teams I have seen all year. They are obviously a well coached team. James Holland rushed for four touchdowns, one in each quarter, and hit paydirt after the Red Raiders had drives of 5, 11, 10, and 17 plays. Those long drives really took the starch out of New Hampshire. Colgate will play at the #5 seed James Madison on Saturday in Virginia.
Sam Houston State 42 Southern Utah 39
Bearkat quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe came off the bench hot and led Sam Houston State to a comeback victory over the Big Sky Conference Champion Southern Utah Thunderbirds. Briscoe, who entered the game due to an injury to the starter, was just what the Bearkats and Coach KC Keeler needed. Sam Houston had two 100 yard rushers in the contest. Ridgeway Frank posted a career high 137 yards and two touchdowns and Remus Bulmer had 116. Southern Utah quarterback Ammon Olsen completed 33 of his 58 attempts for 379 yards and four touchdowns. Olsen’s favorite target was Mike Sharp. Sharp caught eight balls for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Sam Houston State will travel to Louisiana on Saturday for a matchup with the #4 seed McNeese State.
Montana 24 South Dakota State 17
It was a great first half for Montana. In the opening thirty minutes the Griz looked like they could whip anyone in this playoff field. Montana led 24-0 at the intermission but had to hold on to defeat the Jackrabbits. The Griz offense, led by quarterback Brady Gustafson and his 295 yards passing, looked very impressive at times. The Montana defense looked impressive all the time. National Defensive Player of the Year candidate Tyrone Holmes had three sacks and three tackles for loss. Montana plays at the #3 seed North Dakota State Bison on Saturday in Fargo.
Northern Iowa 53 Eastern Illinois 17
UNI was clearly the better team in this one. Quarterback Aaron Bailey was efficient in the passing game finishing 7 of 11 for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Tyvis Smith rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown. The UNI defense played perhaps their best game of the season. EIU was just outclassed in this game. Northern Iowa is on the road at the #6 seed Portland State in round two.
William & Mary 52 Duquesne 49
The Tribe may have overlooked the Dukes and they almost got scalped. Duquesne outgained and outplayed the Tribe but William and Mary survived. The Tribe defense, which I was bragging on just a couple of weeks ago got torched for 540 total yards. The NEC Champions jumped out to a 14-0 lead and William and Mary was able to tie the score with about 4:00 to go in the first half. DeVonte Dedmon was huge for the Tribe. Dedmon hauled in three touchdown receptions. Tribe running back Kendell Anderson bounced back with 137 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns. William and Mary is at the #7 seed Richmond Spiders in a rematch of The Oldest Rivalry in the South.
Western Illinois 24 Dayton 7
Nikko Watson rushed for 152 yards and Pete Swenson had four sacks to lead the Leathernecks to the victory over the Pioneer League champion Dayton Flyers. The Flyers scored the first touchdown but after that it was all Leathernecks. Quarterback Sean McGuire led the Leathernecks on four scoring drives longer than 40 yards and Western Illinois did just enough to come away a winner.
This week I was privileged to sit down with Mr. Mark Wilson, the AD at Tennessee Tech, and the Chairman of the 2015 FCS Playoff Selection Committee. Mr. Wilson will clear up many of the questions FCS fans may have about the process of selection for the playoffs. Mr. Dan Hunt, Head Coach of the Colgate Red Raiders, also stops by to discuss his team.
Chattanooga @ Jacksonville State
The games in this series have been incredibly close. Playoff football is a different thing though. I think the Gamecocks playoff troubles continue. Chattanooga in the upset 28-27.
Western Illinois @ Illinois State
All Redbirds in this one. Coprich carries the load and leads Illinois State to victory. ISU 31-17.
Montana @ North Dakota State
Rematch of the thrilling game in August. The Bison have the home field this time and 12 weeks of film on Coach Bob Stitt and the Griz. Bison 28-17.
Sam Houston State @ McNeese State
Can the Bearkats put together another run like last season? I don’t think so. Cowboys 38-35.
Colgate @ James Madison
Colgate is a very good football team. JMU may be looking ahead. Red Raiders shock the FCS. Colgate 27-24.
Northern Iowa @ Portland State
The Vikings are built to defeat a team like UNI. I don’t think the Panthers offense can keep up. PSU 31-24.
William & Mary @ Richmond
The Spiders controlled the line of scrimmage in the regular season game between these two. The Tribe get their revenge. Tribe 20-17.
The Citadel @ Charleston Southern
The Bulldogs have been hoping for a rematch with CSU. They have their wish and will not squander the opportunity. The Citadel 27-24.