|« UAlbany selects Ford's successor||New Hampshire rolls past Lafayette »|
NCAA DIVISION I FCS - WEEKLY ROUNDUP (Dec. 7)
Every Down. Every Day.
HEADLINES IN THE FCS THIS WEEK
- There were 16 FCS wins against FBS schools this year, surpassing the previous record of 13 (set in 2000). Seven of those 16 victories included wins vs. teams from BCS conferences.
- QB Vernon Adams of Eastern Washington, QB Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois and RB Terrance West of Towson have been invited to the announcement of The Sports Network’s 27th Walter Payton Award.
SECOND ROUND DIVISION I FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (Dec. 7)
Furman (8-5) at North Dakota State (11-0) at Fargo, ND, 3:30 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Coastal Carolina (11-2) at Montana (10-2) at Missoula, MT, 2 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
New Hampshire (8-4) at Maine (10-2) at Orono, ME, 2 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Sam Houston State (9-4) at Southeastern Louisiana (10-2) at Hammond, LA, 8 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
South Dakota State (9-4) at Eastern Washington (10-2) at Cheney, WA, 4 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Jacksonville State (10-3) at McNeese State (10-2) at Lake Charles, LA, 7 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Fordham (12-1) at Towson (10-2) at Towson, MD, 1 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Tennessee State (10-3) at Eastern Illinois (11-1) at Charleston, IL, 2 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Toyota SWAC Football Championship: Jackson State (8-3) vs. Southern (8-4), 2 p.m. (ET), Dec. 7
TOP PERFORMERS IN THE FCS
(Conference Honors - Players/Coaches of the Year)
Offense Defense Coach
Big Sky QB Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington DE Brad Daly, Montana State / DE Sullivan Grosz, Cal Poly Beau Baldwin, Eastern Washington
Big South RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina LB Quinn Backus, Coastal Carolina Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern
CAA RB Terrance West, Towson LB Stephon Robertson, James Madison Jack Cosgrove, Maine
Ivy Finalists: QB Quinn Epperly, Princeton / TB John Spooney, Brown / DL Caraun Reid, Princeton / DL Zach Hodges, Harvard (winners announced Dec. 9 in New York)
MEAC QB Greg McGhee, Howard LB Joe Thomas, South Carolina State Brian Jenkins, Bethune-Cookman
MVFC QB Brock Jensen, North Dakota State LB Tyler Starr, South Dakota Craig Bohl, North Dakota State
NEC RB Keshaudas Spence, Sacred Heart DL Troy Moore, Sacred Heart Mark Nofri, Sacred Heart
OVC QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois DL Anthony Bass, Tennessee State Dino Babers, Eastern Illinois
Patriot QB Michael Nebrich, Fordham LB Stephen Hodge, Fordham Joe Moorhead, Fordham
Pioneer QB Mason Mills, San Diego DL Terrence Fede, Marist Jim Parady, Marist
Southern QB Jacob Huesman, Chattanooga DL Davis Tull, Chattanooga Russ Huesman, Chattanooga
Southland Overall: QB Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana / Offensive: QB Cody Stroud, McNeese State / Defensive: LB Cqulin Hubert, Southeastern / Coach: Ron Roberts, Southeastern
SWAC not yet announced at press time
BIG SKY – Northern Arizona’s Zach Bauman closed his illustrious career with the 25th 100-yard rushing game of his career, gaining 101 in the playoff loss to South Dakota State. He scored the only TD and in the process became the school’s all-time leading scorer with 310 points. The three-time First Team All-Big Sky selection finished his career with 5,132 career rushing yards - 3rd-best in Big Sky history. The Walter Payton Award candidate also amassed 6,316 all-purpose yards in his career, which ranks sixth all-time in conference history. No. 3 seed Eastern Washington is 5-1 in home playoff games on the red turf, installed in 2010. The Eagles are 21-3 all-time at “The Inferno.” No. 8 seed Montana hasn’t lost a home playoff game since 2007, and Montana is 27-6 all-time in playoff games at home. Five of those losses, however, have come in the Round of 16.
BIG SOUTH – The Big South has now advanced to the second round of the FCS Playoffs for the third consecutive year to move to 4-5 all-time in the postseason. Three of those wins were against ranked teams, and the Big South is now 5-7 alltime against ranked non-Conference foes – including 2-0 this season. Coastal Carolina, which is the second Big South member with two playoff victories, is the Big South’s first-ever 11-win program. The Chanticleers are also the first team in League history to play 14 games in a season.
CAA FOOTBALL – CAA Football joins the OVC and Southland as the only conferences to have three teams remaining in the 16-team second-round playoff field. Towson hosts Fordham in a battle between two top-10 teams that both defeated FBS opponents this season (Tigers vs. UConn, Rams vs. Temple). Maine will host its first-ever FCS Playoff game when it welcomes a New Hampshire team that has won seven of its last eight games and 10 of 11 against the Black Bears.
IVY LEAGUE – Princeton QB Quinn Epperly and DL Caraun Reid, Harvard DL Zach Hodges and Brown TB John Spooney were named the finalists for the 2013 Asa S. Bushnell Cup, which honors the Ivy League Football Players of the Year. Epperly and Spooney are finalists for Offensive Player of the Year, while Hodges and Reid are finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. The League’s Bushnell Cup recipients will be unveiled at a special reception and press conference at the famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City on Monday, Dec. 9. All four finalists were named first-team All-Ivy last week. Reid garnered his third-straight, first-team nod, while Hodges was voted to the first team for a second-straight year and Epperly and Spooney earned spots on the first time for the first time.
MEAC – North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen led the MEAC in rushing, averaging 104.4 yards per game on 195 attempts with eight touchdowns. He earned the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week accolades three times and Rookie of the Week honors twice this season. A native of Bunn, North Carolina, Cohen became the first freshman in North Carolina A&T State history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. For the first time since 2010, two MEAC schools represented the conference in the FCS playoffs as Bethune-Cookman and South Carolina State played in this year’s 24-team tournament. In the past 17 seasons, the MEAC has had two teams selected 5 times, including three years in a row from 1997-99.
MISSOURI VALLEY – QB Brock Jensen of North Dakota State (4th place) and RB Zach Zenner of South Dakota State (6th place) represented the MVFC in the Top 10 of the Walter Payton Award voting. Jensen is the winningest QB in FCS history (44 wins), and Zenner is 56 yards shy of topping 2,000 rushing yards for a second-straight season. The MVFC has a 15-6 record this decade in the playoffs (2010-present), better than any other league. NDSU has won 20-straight (the FCS record is 24), and South Dakota State carries a five-game win streak into this weekend, including three wins in a row on the road.
NEC – Only five in the FCS have reached the 1,600-yard rushing mark, and two of those men are all-NEC first team selections. Sacred Heart’s ® Keshaudas Spence finished his junior season with 1,669. Saint Francis’ Kyle Harbridge needed only 11 regular season games to top the 1,600yard mark. Harbridge, the eighth-leading rusher in NEC history (4,126), ran for 1,619 yards and sits fourth on the FCS season leader board. Accounting for the top turnaround in NCAA FCS this season (an 8-win), Sacred Heart (10-3) posted only the seventh double-digit win campaign in league history. The Pioneers, NEC champs for the first time since 2001, have three of the NEC’s seven. Sacred Heart went 10-1 in 2000 and 11-0 in 2001. The only head coach Robert Morris has ever known – Joe Walton – coached his last game on Nov. 23 at Saint Francis. Walton, a former tight end for the New York Giants and head coach of the New York Jets, led the program for its first 20 years. Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and three-time Super Bowl champion, John Banaszak takes over.
OHIO VALLEY – The OVC snapped a 19-game losing streak (dating back to 2000) in the playoffs as Tennessee State topped Butler 31-0 and later in the day Jacksonville State bested Samford 55-14. The shutout by TSU was only the second-ever for an OVC team in the playoffs and the road victory for the Tigers snapped a 29-game road losing streak in the playoffs for OVC teams dating back to 1986. The 55 points scored by Jacksonville State were the most by an OVC team in its playoff history. EIU-Tennessee State will mark only the third time in OVC history that two OVC teams met in the playoffs. In the two previous (Eastern Kentucky-Middle Tennessee, 1984 & 1991) the team that won the regular season meeting also won the rematch; EIU topped TSU 34-16 this season.
PATRIOT – Fordham won a playoff game for the first time since 2002. Fordham’s only quarterfinal trip came in 2002 after a first-round win at Northeastern (29-24) when the bracket was still at 16 teams in 2002. Patriot League teams have advanced to the quarterfinals six times. Fordham hopes to become the first Patriot League team to make the quarterfinals since Lehigh did it in 2011, and the matchup on Saturday has great parallels with the Mountain Hawks that season. Lehigh brought a dynamic offense into Towson for a second-round matchup and came away with a 40-38 victory. Fordham goes to Towson with the same type of profile, as QB Michael Nebrich leads a team averaging 38.3 points per game. Dick Biddle announced his retirement from Colgate after 18 seasons and as the winningest coach in league history. He compiled a 137-73 (.652) record and won three out of every four conference games he coached, finishing 81-27 (.750) . Associate Head Coach Dan Hunt is succeeding Biddle as the 29th head coach in school history.
PIONEER – Jacksonville State (10-3), one of the top defensive FCS teams, limited Butler to a season-low 257 yards, including a season-low 122 passing yards. It was the first time this season that the Bulldogs, 36.1 points per game, failed to reach the end zone. Marist DL Terrence Fede was the lone unanimous (i.e., received all 11 possible first-team votes) selection to the All-PFL teams – the second consecutive year he has earned unanimous First-Team All-PFL honors. In addition, Marist offensive lineman Phede Celestin becomes the 42nd student-athlete to earn First-Team All-PFL honors three times during their career.
SOUTHERN – Furman’s 30-20 win at South Carolina State gave the Southern Conference its 100th playoff victory. The SoCon has the most wins (100) and highest winning percentage (.617) in the postseason among all FCS conferences. Jairus Hollman returned an INT 34 yards for a touchdown against South Carolina State. The Paladins have now scored a defensive touchdown in four of their last seven games. The Paladins visit top-seeded North Dakota State. SoCon teams are 45-22 all-time in the second round of FCS playoffs and 12-7 vs. MVFC opponents in the postseason.
SOUTHLAND – The Southland has three teams still alive. Sam Houston State won last week to extend its home win streak to a Division I-best 22 games. The Bearkats improved to 7-0 against the Big Sky the last three seasons with the victory. Sam Houston State-Northeastern Louisiana this week is one of three intra-conference matchups in the second round. The others are in the OVC – Tennessee State/Eastern Illinois – and in the CAA – New Hampshire/Maine. Southeastern beat Sam Houston State 34-21 to snap a three-game losing streak against the Bearkats. The Southland is assured a team in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive year since the winner of the Sam Houston-Southeastern game advances to face the winner between New Hampshire and Maine. The Southland’s other playoff entrant, McNeese State, has a home game against former Southland Football League rival Jacksonville State. McNeese, which is making its 15th overall playoff appearance and first since 2009, has never lost to Jacksonville State in seven previous meetings.
SWAC – Jackson State and Southern will meet for the second time in the SWAC Football Championship game on Dec. 7 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Both teams played in the first ever SWAC Football Championship game on Dec. 11, 1999. SU defeated JSU 31-30 in Birming- ham, Ala. at Legion Field. To date, it has drawn the largest crowd with 47, 621 attending. The 2013 SWAC Hall of Fame class of seven (inducted Dec. 5) consists of Reggie Barlow, an All-American wide receiver for Alabama State who is currently head football coach at his alma mater.
WEEKLY GPI TOP-25 RANKINGS
Rank, School (Rating)
1. N Dakota St (1.14)
2. E Illinois (1.86)
3. E Washington (3.86)
4. SE Louisiana (4.14)
5. Towson (6.00)
6. Montana (7.00)
7T. S Dakota St (8.14)
7T. McNeese St (8.14)
9. Maine (10.00)
10. Northern Arizona (13.29)
11. Coastal Carolina (13.43)
12T. Northern Iowa (15.86)
12T. Youngstown St (15.86)
14. S Illinois (17.00)
15. Harvard (17.29)
16. Fordham (18.29)
17. Bethune-Cookman (19.00)
18. Tennessee St (19.29)
19. New Hampshire (19.57)
20. Villanova (19.86)
21. Sam Houston St (20.29)
22. Jacksonville St (20.71)
23. Princeton (23.14)
24. William & Mary (23.57)
25. Old Dominion (24.14)
WEEKLY COACHES TOP-25 RANKINGS
Team (First Place) Rec Pts.
1 North Dakota State (25) 11-0 625
2 Eastern Illinois 11-1 600
3 Eastern Washington 10-2 575
4 Towson 10-2 535
5 Montana 10-2 517
6 McNeese State 10-2 490
7 Southeastern Louisiana 10-2 465
8 Maine 10-2 428
9 Northern Arizona 9-2 407
10 Fordham 11-1 400
11 Coastal Carolina 10-2 398
12 Bethune-Cookman 10-2 356
13 South Dakota State 8-4 322
14 Sam Houston State 8-4 244
15 New Hampshire 7-4 209
16 Samford 8-4 177
17 Tennessee State 9-3 163
18 Montana State 7-5 151
19 Youngstown State 8-4 128
20 Charleston Southern 10-3 110
21 Jacksonville State 9-3 109
22 Harvard 9-1 105
23 Chattanooga 8-4 90
24 Lehigh 8-3 83
25 Southern Utah 8-4 81
WEEKLY SPORTS NETWORK TOP-25 RANKINGS
Team (First Place) Rec Pts.
1 North Dakota State (143) 11-0 3,575
2 Eastern Illinois 11-1 3,416
3 Eastern Washington 10-2 3,278
4 Montana 10-2 2,997
5 Towson 10-2 2,780
6 McNeese State 10-2 2,711
7 Southeastern 10-2 2,698
8 Northern Arizona 9-2 2,526
9 Fordham 11-1 2,372
10 Maine 10-2 2,356
11 Coastal Carolina 10-2 2,012
12 Bethune-Cookman 10-2 1,959
13 South Dakota State 8-4 1,788
14 Sam Houston State 8-4 1,666
15 New Hampshire 7-4 1,451
16 Montana State 7-5 1,220
17 Youngstown State 8-4 1,053
18 Samford 8-4 988
19 Tennessee State 9-3 784
20 Jacksonville State 9-3 565
21 Chattanooga 8-4 517
22 Southern Utah 8-4 487
23 Charleston Southern 10-3 452
24 Lehigh 8-3 370
25 South Carolina State 9-3 312