Coach Dino Babers laughed while telling that Eastern Illinois University President William Perry, at last Friday’s reception with boosters, guaranteed the Panthers’ football win. Yeah, that was a little pressure.
Babers seemed more serious when saying that after watching the film of his Panthers’ monumental 40-19 win over Football Bowl Subdivision San Diego State, he saw enough mistakes that he had his team practice on a Monday instead of the usual off day.
And the EIU coach really sounded serious when relating comments from Dale Lennon, the coach of Saturday’s opponent Southern Illinois following the Salukis’ 42-34 loss at Illinois.
Georgia Southern, Samford, and that’s it.
Everybody else in the Southern Conference lost on the opening weekend, and for some of them, it came as quite a surprise.
The recent success of Football Championship Subdivision programs is opening eyes and schedules.
Eight FCS teams knocked off opponents from the Football Bowl Subdivision this past weekend, with all of the victories coming on the road. That list included Northern Iowa’s 28-20 victory against Iowa State in Ames.
But a new challenge is on the horizon for FCS coaches such as UNI’s Mark Farley, who have found that triumphs over the big boys of college football are leading to defeating tales when it comes to creating schedules.
Coaches at those major-college football teams that opened their seasons against not-so-major-college teams issued the obligatory warning about Davids occasionally biting Goliath.
This week, there are more Bowl Subdivision teams playing the so-called little guys. Those coaches have tangible, frightening proof to back up their speeches.
NDSU, EWU and McNeese State all in the top 25
A week in, a coach of the year favorite is a 55-year old bald native of Nebraska, a former Husker who was fired at his alma mater.
But these are high times for Craig Bohl. North Dakota State’s coach is the toast of Division I. That’s all of Division I – 240-plus football-playing schools – which has been sliced, diced, divided and renamed over the years to make you think one set of multimillion dollar programs is better than the likes of NDSU.
Though Kansas State, Oregon State, Connecticut and Iowa State are among the FBS teams that lost to eight FCS teams this week, they can take some solace in the fact they lost to the cream of the crop. Programs like North Dakota State, Eastern Washington, Towson and Northern Iowa share two traits: Each topped an FBS team last weekend, and each was ranked in the FCS preseason top 25.
All of the mistakes. The fumbles, ill-advised passes, bad snaps and lack of any big plays on defense. Apparently, Skip Holtz forgot to pack them when he departed the University of South Florida last December, because they were everywhere the Bulls looked Saturday night.
Booed off the Raymond James Stadium turf after the first 30 minutes of the Willie Taggart Era — and the long-awaited restart of Marcus Shaw — USF dazzled with a touchdown on its first play, then could do little right the rest of the way in a stunning 53-21 loss to tiny McNeese State.
For as dreadful as the Oregon State defense played Saturday, all they needed was to get one stop in the closing minutes to have a chance to avoid another season-opening upset at the hands of a Football Championship Subdivision opponent.
But just when it looked like the Beavers got that stop, Eastern Washington found new life with a pass interference penalty.
The Eagles cashed in and held on for a thrilling 49-46 upset of the No. 25 Beavers before a mostly stunned Reser Stadium crowd of 41,649 in the season opener for both teams.
Samford needed a spark, and its All-American safety stepped up in a big way.
Jaquiski Tartt’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:44 left in the third quarter tied the game with Georgia State and a weight seemed lifted off the favored Bulldogs’ shoulders.
The Bulldogs dominated from there on out and rolled to a 31-21 win over the Panthers at the Georgia Dome.
Talk about crashing a party.
North Dakota State, a football team the big boys of college football should avoid like the plague, helped christen a $90 million renovation to Snyder Family Stadium — including a statue of famed Kansas State coach Bill Snyder himself — by taking a sledgehammer to the place.
Sooner or later it was bound to happen. Football Championship Subdivision member Towson was eventually going to pick off a Football Bowl Subdivision member. Unfortunately that time came Thursday night at The Rent in East Hartford at the expense of the UConn (0-1) football team as the punch-less Huskies got steamrolled 33-18 before a crowd of just over 30,000.
Walking down the Grizzly Sports Hall of Champions, and looking at the absence of the 2011 Big Sky Conference football championship trophy, and the impressive hardware from that year’s appearance in the semifinal round of the NCAA playoff, is sobering… and hard to swallow for this former University of Montana Athletic Director.
The South Dakota State football program is becoming more proficient at qualifying for the postseason, getting in twice in the last four years after a 30-year wait.
And that familiarity produced playoff success, the Jackrabbits last fall earning a home game and winning it – in dominant fashion – for the first time.
Hoping to keep the home winning streak intact - UCA Bears Open Football Season 2013 tonight in Conway
The UCA Bears open the 2013 football season tonight in Conway against the University of the Incarnate Word. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. One interesting note about tonight’s game is former Texas Longhorn super star running back, Ricky Williams, will be on the sideline for the game as a new running backs coach for the Incarnate Word squad from San Antonio.
The students are back on the Bluff for a new fall semester, and it is time to renew the tradition and create a new chapter of Northeast Conference football – 115 feet above downtown Pittsburgh – at Duquesne University.
Ninth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt talked to sportsnetwork.com about competing in the NEC: “There’s no doubt across the board that every team is getting better and better each year, playing quality out-of-conference opponents. You look across the board, and it’s a battle every week.