CAA: Week 1 Recap and Power Rankings

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I’d like to start off my very first post in honor of the Legendary Satchmo:

Hello CAA fans everywhere, and College Football Fans across America and around the world.  Zac here with Dukes Gang, excited to be joining this prestigious team at The FCS Wedge.  I’m a little late to the game with no Preseason Preview but let’s face it: I probably would have just written about the Dukes for 4 pages anyways.  Regardless, let’s recap Week 1 of CAA action.

James Madison 34 – East Carolina 14

The National Champions showed they haven’t lost much at all on offense despite graduating tons of talent, rushing all over the FBS Pirates and dominating on the defensive side of the ball.   Cardon Johnson led the way with 265 yards including TD runs of 85 and 80 yards.  Georgia Tech transfer Marcus Marshall also broke off a TD run for 70 yards.  The Dukes looked significantly more poised than host ECU from the very first snap, shutting out ECU in the first half for the first time since 2007.  JMU’s defensive backs had 3 INTs including 2 from Rashad Robinson coming back from injury last season.  His first pick was particularly incredible, stealing a touchdown out of an ECU wideout’s hands in the endzone.  The Dukes look to keep their 13 game win streak (longest current active Division 1 win streak) alive next week, hosting ETSU.

Richmond 34 – Sam Houston State 48

Scheduled to be played a week earlier in Week 0, Hurricane Harvey pushed this contest back to Week 1.  Richmond’s new head coach Russ Huesman faced the same Sam Houston State team that defeated his previous Chattanooga team in the playoffs last season and was unable to come away with a victory.  In a battle of offense with very little defense on either side, the Bearkats prevailed on the strength of 2016 Payton Award Winner Jeremiah Briscoe’s arm.  Briscoe threw 20 completions for 411 yards and 4 touchdowns, with one INT.  Possibly even more impressive was Kyle Lauletta’s 36 completions for 546 and 5 TDs, despite his 2 INTs in the Redzone that could have been the difference in this game.   The Bearkats also added 272 on the ground, with Remus Bulmer accounting for 89 of those yards on 10 carries.  The Spiders had less success on the ground, with Gordon Collins being the leading rusher with 6 carries for 54 yards and starter Deontez Thompson being held to 20 yards on 6 carries as well.  Sam Houston State jumped all over the Spiders in the 2nd quarter, posting 35 points and never really looking back.  Richmond did its best to mount a comeback but fell short with the 2nd Lauletta INT in the endzone.  Richmond will face to another strong out of conference battle next week at Colgate.

Villanova 38 – Lehigh 35

The Wildcats scored three times in the 2nd quarter to jump out to a 28-14 halftime lead and withstood a Lehigh run late in the game, giving Coach Mark Ferrante his first win after the retirement of Legendary Nova Coach Andy Talley.   Zach Bednarczyk went 17 for 23 with 2 TDs and 72 yards on the ground, adding to RB Matt Guzak’s 142 rushing yards and two TDs.  The Mountain Hawks’ Brad Mayes impressed, with 33 completions on 49 attempts for 406 yards and 4 TDs.  Lehigh fell behind early but used Mayes’ performance to come back to within 3 with 4:38 left on the clock.  Unfortunately for the Mountain Hawks, they did not have another chance as Nova used a 9 play drive to grind out the game clock.

Maine 23 – New Hampshire 24

This year’s Battle for the Brice-Cowell Musket did not disappoint. Maine posted their most solid attempt to win the Musket since they did in 2010, with a missed extra point being the difference.  Maine RB Josh Mack ran for 103 yards off of 23 carries, and transfer QB Chris Ferguson impressed, completing 23 out of 44 attempts and 3 TDs.  He also posted 2 INTs, the latter of which sealed the deal for New Hampshire. UNH QB Trevor Knight went 18 for 29 for 149 yards and two TDs, while also running for 79 yards on 21 carries.   Maine hopes to bounce back next week hosting Bryant and New Hampshire will continue their quest for 14 straight playoff appearances at FBS Georgia Southern.

Rhode Island 27 – Central Michigan 30 – 3OT

The Rams proved more than up for the test against MAC foe Central Michigan, but fell just short in a heroic effort that took three overtimes to settle.  Down 21-7 after just 1:01 into the fourth, Rhode Island scored 14 unanswered to push the game into overtime.   After matching field goals in the First OT, CMU fumbled on the first possession of 2nd OT.  Rhode Island drove for 9 yards to the 16, and attempted to win the game with a 33 yard field goal. Unfortunately, C.J. Carrick’s kick was tipped at the line and went just wide right.  The Rams mustered another field goal in the 3rd OT but yielded the game winning touchdown to the Chippewas on a 4 yard TD run.   Rhode Island QB Tyler Harris went 21 for 40 for 284 with three TDs, but the story of the game was CMU’s failure to capitalize on his 6 INTs.  A lot of that had to do to the Rams’ bend but not break defense, which seemed to tighten up when the Chips got to the red zone.  Rhode Island will try to take the momentum from almost upsetting their first FBS team into Week 2 when they face Stony Brook in CAA league play.

William and Mary 10 – Virginia 28

The Tribe fell in what was honestly a closer game than the score shows, despite being down 14-0 at the half.  W&M was robbed on a non-reviewed on-field fumble call that would have given them the ball back late in the 2nd quarter and only down 7-0.  They also had a couple of close calls on interceptions before UVA’s QB Kurt Benkert found Andre Levrone in the endzone with 1:31 left in the first half.  The Fighting Ebirts got it to within 21-10 on QB Tommy McKee’s 2 yard run with 6:55 left in the 4th, but the Wahoos held them off.  McKee looked promising for the Tribe, especially on the ground, rushing 15 times for 89 yards and several first downs.  Running back Noah Giles also averaged 4.9 ypc on 11 carries for 54 yards. William and Mary will try to turn their season around next week at Norfolk State.

Delaware State 3 – Delaware 22

This year’s Route 1 Rivalry belonged to Delaware who retained possession of the Route 1 Cup for the 8th consecutive time.  Under new head coach Danny Rocco, who transferred from in-conference rival Richmond this offseason, the Blue Hens stayed true to form, having never lost this “rivalry” game.  With a balance attack through the air and on the ground, Delaware dominated statistically on offense as well as defense.  QB Joe Walker threw for 192 yards with a TD and INT, and RB Thomas Jefferson averaged 5.4 yards per carry on 19 attempts for 102 yards.  Overall, Delaware had 206 passing yards and 226 rushing yards.  But even more impressive was their defense, holding the Hornets to just 224 total yards and only a field goal.  Delaware looks to follow in James Madison’s historic footsteps and become the 2nd CAA team to upset a ranked Virginia Tech team next week in Blacksburg.


Elon 13 – Toledo – 47

The Phoenix hung in there tight for a half versus MAC Toledo, only being down 16-7 with a minute left in the 2nd quarter.  But a 27 yard field goal by the Rockets’ Jameson Vest put Toledo up 19-7 at the half.   The Rockets’ then returned the 2nd half kickoff for a TD and never looked back.  The Phoenix struggled to gain yards by the pass or the run, totally only 175 yards for the game, with only 47 of those through the air on just 3 completions.  Elon has another tough test next week against SOCON foe Furman.

 Morgan State 0 – Towson 10

The Tigers shut out the Bears in the 2017 edition of the Battle for Greater Baltimore, holding them to only 49 yards on the ground and 185 in the air.  However, Towson had issues of their own on offense only putting up 85 yards through the air and a measley 17 net yards rushing.  The Tigers’ D looked promising, with a fumble recovery and 3 INTs including one that set up the games sole touchdown.  The Tigers will have to find some stripes on offense and continue to lean on their grrrrreat defense in a Week 2 matchup against Maryland.

Stony Brook 17 – South Florida – 31

Despite a fast start and a halftime lead of 10-7, Stony Brook was stifled in the second half and fell to FBS South Florida by two TDs.  There were a lot of positives for the Seawolves, however, including great play from their special teams with Andrew Trent blocking USF’s Jonathan Hernandez’s punt and Augie Contressa recovering it in the endzone for a 7-0 lead.  RB Stacey Bedell also impressed, with a 54 yard TD run and averaging 7.1 yards per carry for a total of 71 yards.  In the end, however, the Bulls pulled away on the strength of QB Quinton Flowers, who threw 2 TDs in the second half that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.  Stony Brook faces another almost FBS victor in Rhode Island in Week 2.

Albany 17 – Old Dominion 31

The Great Danes put together a great Fourth Quarter, coming back from down 24-3 to within a TD at 17-24, but a 55 yard Blake LaRussa pass to Gemonta Jackson put the game out of reach in favor of ODU.  Albany’s Karl Mofor came one yard shy of breaking the century mark, putting up 99 yards on 21 carries and one TD.  Will Brunson also played well, going 13 for 29 for 160 yard through the air with an INT.  Albany will face Morgan State in Week 2 and look to move the CAA’s record against the Bears to 2-0.

Week 1 CAA Power Rankings

1. James Madison
2. Villanova
3. New Hampshire
4. Maine
5. Richmond
6. Rhode Island
7. Delaware
8. W&M
9. Stony Brook
10. Albany
11. Towson
12. Elon

Written by 

I'm a native Georgian who who grew up watching Georgia Southern and FCS football. As a JMU alum, I've watched countless CAA and FCS football contests in person and televised since 2002. I currently live in Richmond VA with my beautiful wife and 5 pound chihuahua, my Mexican stepson. Follow me on twitter @ZPriceIsRight

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