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NCAA DIVISION I FCS WEEKLY ROUNDUP (Dec. 14)
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.
+ Five leagues (CAA Football, Big Sky, MVFC, Southland and SoCon) have dominated the playoffs (149 of 163 total wins from those five leagues – 91.4 percent) the past 10 seasons. This year, though, is different as seven of the 16 wins so far have been from leagues other than those five, with the OVC accounting for four victories, the Big South for two - both by Coastal Carolina – and the Patriot, one.
QUARTERFINALS – DIVISION I FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (Dec. 13/14)
Dec. 13 – Towson (11-2) at Eastern Illinois (12-1) at Charleston, IL, 8 p.m. (ET) (ESPN2)
Dec. 14 – Jacksonville State (11-3) at Eastern Washington (11-2) at Cheney, WA, 4 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Dec. 14 – New Hampshire (9-4) at Southeastern Louisiana (11-2) at Hammond, LA, 7 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Dec. 14 – Coastal Carolina (12-2) at North Dakota State (12-0) at Fargo, ND, 12 noon (ET) (ESPN)
BIG SKY – Eastern Washington will play in the quarterfinals for the third time in the past four years. The Eagles host Jacksonville State on Saturday at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. Eastern Washington is 23-3 on the red turf, which was installed prior to the 2010 season. The Eagles are 6-1 in playoff games on the red turf. Eastern Washington freshman WR Cooper Kupp has 81 catches for 1,468 yard and 20 TDs. The 81 catches are tied for the most by a freshman in FCS history. His yards and touchdowns are the most by a freshman in FCS history. Kupp scored two touchdowns in last week’s win over South Dakota State, breaking Randy Moss’ freshman FCS record for touchdown catches. Kupp has tied the Big Sky single-season for touchdown catches. Eastern Washington has scored a Big Sky single-season record 72 touchdowns this season. The Eagles are 11 points shy of tying the Big Sky single-season record for points in a season. EWU has 626. The Eagles have already set the single-season Big Sky record for total yards with 6,877, and passing touchdowns with 54.
BIG SOUTH – Coastal Carolina is the first Big South member to advance to the FCS quarterfinals. The Chanticleers have now won three playoff games in their history, which is a League record, and the Big South is now 5-5 all-time. Coastal will be playing its fifth nationally-ranked opponent of the season Saturday, and the Chants are 3-1 this year against ranked foes. Saturday’s match-up at North Dakota State will also be the sixth time a Big South member will face the nation’s No. 1 team (1-4 record). Coastal Carolina QB Alex Ross is 29-of-39 passing (74.4 percent) for 458 yards with seven TD passes and no interceptions through two playoff games, including a 232.24 efficiency rating. Meanwhile, WR Matt Hazel will play his sixth career playoff game this Saturday. His career postseason totals include 25 receptions for 332 yards and five TDs … RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, who needs two TDs to become the first Big South player with 30 in a season, is two points away from becoming the sixth non-kicker in League history with 200 career points.
CAA FOOTBALL – Towson won its first-ever FCS Playoff game last week and now advances to the quarterfinals for the first time. The Tigers have also reached 11 wins for the first time in the history of their program. New Hampshire has advanced to the quarterfinals seven times during its FCS-best active streak of 10 straight postseason appearances. The Wildcats have also now won two playoff games in the same postseason trip for the first time during this stretch. Maine coach and Eddie Robinson Award finalist Jack Cosgrove has been named AFCA FCS Region I CoCoach of the Year after leading Maine to its first CAA Football title and the No. 5 overall seed in the playoffs.
IVY LEAGUE – Princeton junior QB Quinn Epperly and Harvard junior DL Zach Hodges were named the 2013 recipients of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League Football Players of the Year on Dec. 9 at a special reception and press conference as part of the festivities surrounding the 56th National Football Foundation (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner in New York. Epperly took home the League’s Offensive Player of the Year award and Hodges was tabbed with Defensive Player of the Year. Epperly was the eighth Princeton player and Hodges was the eighth Harvard Player to be bestowed with the Bushnell Cup. The two were selected as Bushnell Cup finalists, along with Princeton senior defensive lineman Caraun Reid and Brown senior tailback John Spooney, by a vote of the League’s eight head coaches.
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 – North Dakota State improved to 11-1 all-time in the playoffs with its 38-7 victory against Furman last week. The Bison’s only loss was in overtime in 2010 at Eastern Washington. NDSU coach Craig Bohl has taken over the head coaching reigns at Wyoming, but he will continue to coach NDSU through its playoff run. On Tuesday, Bohl was named AFCA District 4 Coach of the Year. CB Marcus Williams of North Dakota State returned an interception for a TD against Furman, marking the second INT return for a TD for him this year, and the seventh in his career - an NCAA FCS record.
NEC – Saint Francis redshirt senior running back Kyle Harbridge (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) has been named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America Division I football team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Harbridge was named to the Second Team. In 2013, Harbridge capped arguably the most prolific career by any Saint Francis football player by setting school records in rushing yards with 1,619 and touchdowns with 16. He finished third in the NCAA in rushing yards and 11th in rushing touchdowns. Har- bridge also finished second in the nation with 188.2 all-purpose yards per game.
OHIO VALLEY – For just the second-time in its history the OVC has put two teams (Eastern Illinois and Jacksonville State) in the quarterfinals in the same year. The only other time it happened was in 1991 when Eastern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee both advanced (and EKU beat MTSU head-to-head). This year marks the first time an OVC team has been in the quarterfinals since 2000 (when the field included just 16 teams). Not only did Tennessee State snap the OVC’s overall 19-game losing streak in the FCS Playoffs on Nov. 30, but they were the first OVC team to win on the road since Eastern Kentucky beat Eastern Illinois on the road in the 1986 playoffs. It snapped a 29-game losing streak in road playoff games for the OVC. Overall it was just the fifth road win for the OVC in the playoffs. This past week JSU added to that road success by winning at McNeese State, marking the sixth OVC victory on the road in the playoffs. The Gamecocks play at Eastern Washington this weekend. Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo needs just five touchdown passes and 347 passing yards to hold the FCS single-season records in each of those categories. The Panthers host Towson on Friday night.
PATRIOT – Fordham’s season came to an end in the second round of the FCS playoffs at Towson on Saturday, but not before the Rams set a host of Patriot League single-season records. Fordham’s 5,052 passing yards were 600 more than the previous League high, and its 7,214 yards of total offense broke the previous mark by more than 1,000 yards. Junior QB Michael Nebrich finished with single-season records in passing yardage, total offense, passing touchdowns, touchdowns responsible for, completion percentage and passing efficiency rating, while junior wide receiver Sam Ajala set the League record with 1,646 receiving yards. Fordham Head Coach Joe Moorhead was honored for the Rams’ 12-2 season in multiple ways on Tuesday. He shared the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honor with Maine’s Jack Cosgrove, and was also named one of five finalists within the FCS for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Moorhead also signed a contract extension through the 2021 season.
PIONEER FOOTBALL LEAGUE – Valparaiso has named Dave Cecchini, formerly the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Lehigh, as its 17th head football coach. San Diego seniors Robbie Beathard and Blake Oliaro have been named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America® Division I football first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The two Toreros are the only representatives from the Pioneer Football League on either team, and the only players on the first team from the state of California.
SOUTHERN – Furman fell to top-seeded North Dakota State, 38-7 in the second round of the FCS Playoffs last week. The Paladins finished the season with an 8-6 record and earned a share of the Southern Conference championship with a 6-2 mark in league play. It was Furman’s 13th Southern Conference title, the most of any school. The Southern Conference will add Mercer and VMI into the league next fall. Mercer completed its first season of football in the Pioneer league in 2013, while VMI was a Southern Conference member from 1924-2003. Chattanooga’s Davis Tull (DL) and Wofford’s James Zotto (D were named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America Football Team.
SOUTHLAND – The Southland Conference has placed a team in the quarterfinals for three consecutive seasons and for the fourth time in the last five seasons. It is the 28th time overall a Southland team has reached the quarterfinals. The league had two of the eight quarterfinal teams in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992 and 1995. Southland teams have played in the semifinals 15 times and the league had two semifinalists in 1995 when both McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin were among the final four. With the win over Sam Houston State, the Lions have won their last 10 games. It is the longest streak in school history since a 13-game streak in 1954 and 1955. Southeastern won all nine games in 1954 and the first four games of the 1955 season. The 11 wins for the Lions is a school record. QB Brian Bennett, a transfer from Oregon and the 2013 Southland Conference Player of the Year, leads the Lions’ offense with 1,017 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns to go along with 2,896 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. Sophomores Rasheed Harrell, who has totaled 629 yards and eight touchdowns, and Xavier Roberson, who has 538 rushing yards and six touchdowns, headline the rushing attack, while three receivers are Bennett’s top targets. Sophomore Jeff Smiley has 53 catches for 705 yards and six touchdowns. Senior Tony McCrea has 38 receptions for 678 yards and two scores, while senior Marquis Fruge’ has reeled in 35 passes for 595 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, Cqulin Hubert was the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He totaled 77 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss. The defense is allowing a league-low 22.9 points per game. Juniors Isiah Corbett (15.5 TFL, nine sacks) and Jacob Newman (14.0 TFL, seven sacks) are the top pass rushers and Harlan Miller leads a talented secondary with four interceptions.
SWAC – Southern captured its third championship game title in the 2013 Toyota SWAC Football Championship with a 34-27 double overtime win over Jackson State. The championship game, which moved from Birmingham , Ala. To Houston, Texas, marked the first double-overtime contest in the championship game era while ranking third all-time in attendance (38,985) and total score (71). Grambling State announced the hiring of Broderick Fobbs as its next football head coach. Alabama A&M head coach Anthony Jones and Mis- sissippi Valley State head coach Karl Morgan were informed by their respective administration that their contracts will not be renewed.
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 QB Quinn Epperly, Princeton DL Zach Hodges, Harvard
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 QB Dray Joseph, Southern / RB Arnold Walker, Alcorn St. LB Jer-ryan Harris, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
NATIONAL AWARDS TIMELINE / ANNOUNCEMENTS
• 2013 Capital One Academic All-America® Division I Football Team – Dec. 5
FIRST TEAM (FCS Honorees) – WR Tanner Bleskin, Montana State; WR Jason Schneider, South Dakota State; RB Zach Zenner, South Dakota State;
DB Robbie Beathard, San Diego; DB Jordan Hanberry, Nicholls State; DB Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State; LB Austin Hasquet, Northern Arizona
DL Brett Biestek, Fordham; DL Blake Oliaro, San Diego; DL Davis Tull, Chattanooga; DL Michael Yules, Brown
SECOND TEAM (FCS Honorees) – WR Grant Gellatly, Cornell; WR Mark Ross, Lafayette; RB Kyle Harbridge, St. Francis (Pa.)
OL Corey Boemer, Southern Illinois; OL Brad Bormann, Lafayette; OL Jimmy Holtschlag, Western Illinois; OL Ben Stansfield, Austin Peay
K Colton Cook, Southern Utah; DB James Zotto, Wofford; LB Michael Runger, Dartmouth; DL James Cowser, Southern Utah; DL Iosua Siliva, Austin Peay
• AFCA Regional Coach of the Year - Dec. 10
Region 1: Joe Moorhead, Fordham University & Jack Cosgrove, University of Maine (tie)
Region 2: Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern University
Region 3: Dino Babers, Eastern Illinois University
Region 4: Craig Bohl, North Dakota State University
Region 5: Ron Roberts, Southeastern Louisiana University
• Sports Network (Payton/Buchanan/Rice/Robinson) – Dec. 16
• FCS ADA – Dec. 17
• Sports Network (All-America Teams) – after Dec. 18
• Walter Camp – Dec. 18/19
• Associated Press – Dec. 18/19
• FCS ADA All-Academic – Jan. 3
• FCS ADA (Offense/Defense Players of the Year) – Jan. 4
• Phil Steele (Josh Buchanan) – after Jan. 4
• College Sporting News, Fabulous 50 – Jan. 5
• College Football Performance (CFPA/Brad Smith) – Jan. 8