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FCS Recap: No Place Like Home
Everybody likes home cooking. And in a week of big matchups, it was home teams that stood out in this week’s slate of games.
Only one nationally-ranked team lost to a lower-ranked team at home this week - and that was to a higher-ranked team in a triple-overtime thriller. Across the Top 25 and around FCS, teams everywhere said: There’s no place like home.
No. 4-ranked McNeese State was given everything they could handle by South Dakota State on “Hobo day". After ending regulation knoted at 24, both the Jackrabbits and Cowboys scored touchdowns on all three overtime possessions. However, it would be McNeese State that would make the crucial two-point conversion in the third overtime period to outlast No. 18 South Dakota State, 46-44. The Cowboys racked up 574 yards of total offense, with quarterback Derrick Fourroux accounting for 399 yards. He rushed 22 times for a team-high 102 yards and added 24-of-38 passing for 297 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. McNeese State stopped SDSU on their two-point conversion in the third overtime period to preserve the victory.
Not only did No. 3 Montana’s 25 regular season game winning streak came to an end on the road, when Weber State upset the fourth ranked Grizzlies 45-28 at home in rainy Ogden, Utah it was the first win for the Wildcats against the Grizzlies since 1998. Weber State’s sophomore quarterback Cameron Higgins threw for 237 yards on 21-of-30 passes, and threw four touchdowns to three different receivers. Sophomore receiver Mike Phillips caught three balls for 39 yards and two touchdowns, while fellow sophomore Bryant Eteuati caught seven passes for 74 yards and one touchdown.
No. 10 Northern Iowa kept its perfect 2008 home record (3-0) intact after a 34-14 victory over Nicholls State on Thursday night. Panther quarterback Patrick Grace finished the game with 92 yards rushing and 152 yards passing. One big loss for the Panthers, however, was running back Corey Lewis, who fell with a sprained ankle. He may be out for next week’s game against Illinois State.
No. 17 North Dakota State rallied from a 20-point deficit to defeat No. 13 Southern Illinois 35-27 in a Missouri Valley Football Conference game played before a sellout crowd of 18,942 in the Fargodome. The Bison scored 35 unanswered points against Southern Illinois after beginning the game down 20-0 to snap a two-game losing streak. Bison running back Tyler Roehl rushed 26 times for 125 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 34 yards. Linebacker Mike Maresh tied a career-high with 10 tackles, while strong safety Cyrus Lemon came up with a career-best nine stops and linebacker Tyler Henry finished with nine. Free safety Nick Schommer came up with an important interception early in the fourth quarter. It was Schommer’s 11th career pick and puts him eighth on the NDSU career list.
Conference games on the road for Colonial Athletic Association opponents on the road are always a battle, and the clash between No. 16 Delaware at No. 18 UMass was no exception. A defensive struggle, Minuteman kicker Armando Cukor would boot a 38 yard field goal to break a 7-7 tie, while defensive back Jeromy Miles would return Blue Hen quarrterback Rob Schoenhoft’s pass 52 yards to the house, sealing UMass’ 17-7 home victory.
Portland State sophomore quarterback Drew Hubel completed 44 of 73 passes for five touchdowns – all without an interception - in the Vikings home 47-36 win over 11th ranked Eastern Washington . Perhaps most amazing were his 623 passing yards, setting a school record, and coming one yard shy of the Big Sky and national record of 624 passing yards by Jamie Martin of Weber State (1991). The 73 attempts tied the Big Sky single-game record of 73 set by Montana ’s Dave Dickenson against Idaho in 1995. The 44 completions tied the PSU record set by Neil Lomax against Northern Colorado in 1979. Hubel’s yardage beat Portland State ’s single-game record of 592 yards set by John Charles against Cal Poly in 1991.
Other key home victories included:
* No. 7 Elon went to 3-0 in the Southern Conference as the Phoenix cruised to a 31-10 victory at home over No. 15 Furman. Quarterback Scott Riddle threw three touchdown passes and runningback Brandon Newsome scored two rushing touchdowns on the afternoon.
* Quarterback Armanti Edwards threw for four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as No. 3 Appalachian State cruised to a 47-21 victory at home over No. 12 The Citadel.
* No. 1 James Madison rolled over Hofstra 56-0 at home behind quarterback Rodney Landers’ 133 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.
* No. 22 Jacksonville State handled Southeast Missouri State 38-17 behind quarterback Ryan Perrilloux’ 239 yards passing and 2 touchdowns.
* No. 8 Cal Poly took care of business in their first league game, beating South Dakota 49-22 at home in their first Great West Conference game this year. Wideout Ramses Barden would catch 5 passes for 138 yards - three of them for touchdowns - while runningback James Noble would add 109 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
* No. 21 Northern Arizona quickly fell behind at home 7-0 to Sacramento State - but scored 42 of the game’s next 45 points and ended up dominating the Hornets 42-10. Lumberjack quarterback Lance Kreisen would rack up 256 yards passing, pass for two touchdowns and add a third with his feet. Kicker Robbie DeHaze was a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points, as well as adding field goals of 48 and 37 yards.
FCS West Notes
* Montana State used a big first quarter to claim a Big Sky victory on Saturday in Pocatello over Idaho State, 33-21. Punter Eric Fisher had a spectacular day, averaging 47.1 yards on seven punts, nailing ISU inside the 20 three times and drilling a 70-yarder that was downed inside the three. That was tied for the seventh-longest punt in MSU history.
* Southern Utah’s Aaron Fernandez scooped up a fumble and returned it 54 yards near the end of the third period to give the Thunderbirds a 14-7 lead over Youngstown State Saturday and the Thunderbirds were able to make the advantage stand up as that was the last scoring for the game.
* Illinois State tailbacks Geno Blow and Walter Mendenhall each rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns apiece and the Redbird defense limited Indiana State to 115 yards of total offense, as the Redbirds rolled to a 57-6 victory. Blow finished with 119 yards, while Mendenhall finished with 105 yards.
* No. 21 Western Illinois’ Herb Donaldson rushed for 273 yards and four touchdowns as the Leathernecks defeated Missouri State, 33-21. The Leathernecks and the Redbirds provided the MVFC with the league’s first road victories.
* Butler got their first Pioneer League conference win since 2006 and their first win over Drake since 2002 with a 21-15 victory. Rob Belvins’ 39 yard interception return for a touchdown was the key play for Butler, breaking open a 7-6 game.
The Ivy League features one of the more unlikely 3-0 teams: Cornell, who defeated Lehigh 25-24 on the very last play of the game at Murray Goodman stadium. Quarterback Nathan Ford found wideout Jesse Baker on the right side of the end zone for his second passing touchdown on the afternoon and to give the Big Red the victory. Ford would go 39 for 63 passing for 438 yards, but had 3 interceptions.
Holy Cross would score two touchdowns in the last 4 minutes of the game to force overtime, but it wouldn’t be enough. Yale would hold the Crusaders scoreless at home in the Yale Bowl and kicker Tom Mante would boot a field goal to allow the Bulldogs to scrape out a 31-28 win. Crusder kicker Matt Partain missed a 37 yard field goal that would have forced a third overtime.
No. 14 Villanova relied on the work of quarterback Chris Whitney to beat William & Mary 38-28 on the road this weekend. The Wildcats cruised to a 35-7 lead before the Tribe would rally in the second half to close the deficit to 10. Whitney would account for four touchdowns and 246 total yards on the afternoon.
In a key MEAC game, Hampton quarterback Herbert Bynes connected with wideout Justin Brown on a 30 yard touchdown strike in the fourth quarter to lift the Pirates over last years’ MEAC champion, the Delaware State Hornets, 17-14. Brown, who fought off four defenders to find the end zone, had 7 receptions on the afternoon for 106 yards.
Albany, playing their fifth consecutive game on the road, didn’t play like it at Rooney Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Runningback David McCarty would run for 237 yards, while Great Dane quarterback Vinny Esposito threw for 68 yards but three touchdowns in a 33-23 victory over Duquesne. Esposito would also add 13 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground as well.
No. 25 Brown, coming off an emotional win over Harvard last week, fell 37-13 to Rhode Island in the 27th annual “Governor’s Cup” game that (until this year) featured the only two Division I football teams playing in Rhode Island. (The other Rhode Island FCS school is Bryant, who won their first FCS game last week with a 24-14 win over Wagner and was off this week.) The Rams won this rivalry game behind the strength of quarterback Derek Cassidy’s 5 touchdown passes and 298 yards passing.
No. 6 Richmond pounded VMI 56-16 behind the strength of two touchdowns by runningback Josh Vaughn (123 yards rushing) and a 42 yard fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker Josh Vaughn.
In the game of the year in the Big South, Liberty runningback Rashad Jennings torched Coastal Carolina’s stingy defense for 234 total yards and 3 touchdowns as the Flames outdulelled the Chanticleers 43-38. In an emotional and high-stakes game in Conway, South Carolina, Liberty quarterback Brock Smith went 15-for-24 passing with 3 touchdown passes on the evening.
Despite yet another return touchdown by Rattler return man LeRoy Vann, South Carolina State proved to be too much for the Rattlers as the Bulldogs outlasted FAMU 28-21. Quarterback Will Ford’s 44-yard scoring run with 2:14 left in the third quarter gave South Carolina State a 28-21 lead following a successful two-point conversion and the Bulldog defense held off Florida A&M the rest of the way.
It wasn’t officially called the “Aggie-Eagle Classic,” but the 80th meeting between North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T was yet another close game between these two bitter rivals. THe Eagle offense stormed out to a commanding lead and the defense held at the end of the game for 28-27 victory over the Aggies. The game was held at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina to accomodate the overflow crowd of 20,180 fans.
Prairie View A&M’s six-game win streak came to a screeching halt as Grambling State handed them a 40-16 defeat at the State Farm Classic. Tigers QB Greg Dillon accounted for 211 yards and threw four touchdowns as Grambling State scored 26 unanswered points to overcome an early 9-0 deficit. The Tigers defense allowed 224 yards to the Panthers and forced five turnovers against an offense that had averaged 45 points per game prior to Saturday.
Southern’s Bryant Lee is in mid-season form. The Jaguars QB threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns Jumorris Stewart in a 35-28 win at Jackson State. Stewart pulled in eight catches for 179 yards for Southern, which won its third straight. JSU QB Trae Rutland threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 101 yards and a score in the losing effort.
Gerald Stockdale passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Kevin Atkins in Alabama A&M’s 34-24 loss to Tuskegee in the 25th Annual Circle City Classic in Indianapolis. Stockdale completed 15 of his 25 passes to help draw the Bulldogs within 27-24 before John Pacley’s 52-yard touchdown run put the game away for the Golden Tigers. Nate Baxter had six catches for 103 yards and a score for Alabama A&M.
Texas Southern QB Bobby Reid rewrote several school passing records in the Tigers’ 63-39 loss at Texas State. The senior completed 38 of his 64 passes for 481 yards and four touchdowns and found time to rush for 54 yards on 18 carries. Reid’s completions and yardage shattered school marks, while his 533 total yards also established a new TSU standard. Receivers William Osbourne (11-164) and B.J. Haith (8-101) each crossed the century mark as the Tigers amassed a school-record 633 yards.
Tony Hobson accounted for one of the few highlights for Alcorn State in its 45-10 loss to FBS New Mexico State. Hobson threw for 67 yards and scored the Braves’ lone touchdown on a 1-yard run late in the game.
FCS Winners Over FCS:
Albany 33, Duquesne 23
Appalachian State 47, The Citadel 21
Bethune-Cookman 31, Morgan State 27
Bucknell, 21 Marist 17
Butler 21, Drake 15
Cal Poly 49, South Dakota 22
Central Conn. State 35, Wagner 10
Charleston Southern 13, Gardner-Webb 10
Cornell 25, Lehigh 24
Dayton 42, Campbell 0
Eastern Kentucky 33, Tennessee Tech 12
Elon 31, Furman 10
Georgia Southern 52, Chattanooga 28
Grambling State 40, Prairie View 16
Hampton 17, Delaware State 14
Harvard 27, Lafayette 13
Illinois State 57, Indiana State 6
Jacksonville State 38, SE Missouri State 17
James Madison 56, Hofstra 0
Liberty 43, Coastal Carolina 38
Massachusetts 17, Delaware 7
McNeese State 46, South Dakota State 44 (3 OT)
Monmouth 42, St. Francis 15
Montana State 33, Idaho State 21
Morehead State 26, Davidson 13
Murray State 32, Austin Peay 12
NC Central 28, NC A&T 27
North Dakota State 35, Southern Illinois 27
Northeastern 35, Towson 17
Northern Arizona 42, Sacramento State 10
Northern Iowa 34, Nicholls State 14
Penn 23, Dartmouth 10
Portland State 47, Eastern Washington 36
Princeton 27, Columbia 24
Rhode Island 37, Brown 13
Richmond 56, VMI 16
SC State 28, Florida A&M 21
Sacred Heart 31, Robert Morris 28
Samford 21, Western Carolina 6
San Diego 42, Valparaiso 14
Southern 35, Jackson State 28
Southern Utah 14, Youngstown State 7
Stephen F Austin 48, SE Louisiana 45
Tennessee State 30, Tennessee-Martin 27 (OT)
Texas State 63, Texas Southern 39
UC Davis 34, Northern Colorado 30
Villanova 38, William & Mary 28
Weber State 45, Montana 28
Western Illinois 33, Missouri State 21
Winston-Salem State 34, Howard 10
Yale 31, Holy Cross 28 (2 OT)
FCS Winners Over Lower Divisions:
Iona 35, Stonehill 34 (OT)
Presbyterian 22, No Greenville 15
Savannah State 17, Clark Atlanta 14
FCS Losers to FBS:
New Mexico State 45, Alcorn State 10
FCS Losers to Lower Divisions:
Tuskegee 34, Alabama A&M 24
Georgetown 0 Colgate 0