=== Around FCS: Top 25 Previews ===
by Brett Kahn, FCS Assistant
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Here are the top 25 games and other
selected match ups for week seven. All times are eastern standard time.
No. 23 Colgate (5-0) at Princeton (1-2), 7 p.m.
In 2003, Colgate defeated Princeton 30-3 to give the Raiders a six-game winning
streak to start the season. That Colgate squad went on to win 15 in a row
before losing to Delaware in the national championship game.
The Raiders will look to start 6-0 for the first time since then when they play
Princeton again in a non-conference matchup, televised nationally on ESPNU.
Princeton, meanwhile, is trying to find itself defensively after allowing 38
points twice in losses to The Citadel and Columbia.
Colgate jumped two spots in the national rankings this week with a big 45-23
win over Cornell. The nation's leading rushing attack features standout running
back Nate Eachus (268 yards rushing, 6.9 average, six TDs in two games), who
returned from a broken rib suffered against Monmouth.
Jordan McCord (530 yards rushing, 5.0 average, four TDs) carried the load in
Eachus' absence. The offensive line deserves much credit and has allowed just
two sacks so far.
The Raiders running game has opened up the passing attack, with quarterback
Greg Sullivan passing for 862 yards and 11 TDs, while wide receiver Pat Simonds
has grabbed 26 passes for a 16.5 average and six TDs. Sullivan also is a key
component in the rushing attack with 440 yards rushing.
Defense has also been a strong point for Colgate, who allow only 92 yards per
game on the ground. Defensive tackle Carlton Walker (14 tackles, three tackles
for loss) leads the defensive line, while an improving secondary is paced by
cornerback Coree Moses (14 tackles, three pass breakups) and safety Vinnie
Nicosia (23 tackles, three pass breakups).
Princeton will try to beat Colgate for the first time since a 27-26 overtime
win in 2006. The Tigers dropped a 27-24 decision to the Raiders last season.
Tommy Wornham (577 yards of total offense, four TDs) is a run-oriented
quarterback and needs to become more comfortable passing (45% completion rate)
in order for the Tigers to compete in the Ivy League.
With Ivy League offensive player of the year Jordan Culbreath (92 yards
rushing) out again at running back due to knee injury, look for freshman Akil
Sharp and junior Meko McCray to split carries.
The Tigers defense has allowed 38 points twice and has struggled stopping pass,
allowing over 200 yards passing in every game so far. Linebacker Scott Britton
(33 tackles), cornerback Glenn Wakam (14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss) and
defensive tackle Joel Karacozoff (eight tackles, two sacks) are key performers
on a unit that hasn't received a lot of help.
Princeton leads the all-time series 26-23-1, but Colgate's rushing attack could
overwhelm the Tigers struggling defense.
COLGATE 38, PRINCETON 14
No. 1 Richmond (4-0, 2-0) at No. 13 James Madison (2-2, 0-1), Noon
Richmond hasn't lost a game since last year's wild game against then-top-ranked
James Madison. The Spiders led that contest 31-23 with a minute to play, but
allowed two touchdowns to JMU, the final one coming on Scotty McGee's 69-yard
punt return on the final play for a 38-31 victory for the Dukes.
The Spiders won nine straight elimination games the rest of the season to earn
their first national championship and have extended their winning streak to 13
in a row.
In its last game, Richmond let VMI climb back into the game before eventually
taking the contest 38-28 behind the efforts of quarterback Eric Ward (949 yards
passing, 67%, eight TDs), who now ranks eighth nationally in passing
efficiency, and running back Justin Forte (152 yards rushing against VMI).
Wide receiver Tre Gray (19 catches, 12.5 average, two TDs) hauled in six balls
for 112 yards and a touchdown to keep the Spiders offense alive against the
Keydets. All-American guard Matt McCracken leads one of the best offensive
lines in FCS.
The defense for Richmond is one of the stingiest in the nation, allowing just
286 yards and 14 points per game. Patrick Weldon (27 tackles) has helped keep
the middle of the field covered, while defensive end Nicholas Battle (13
tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss) has helped the defensive line tally an average
of two sacks per game.
Richmond's secondary has been the weak point of the defense, allowing 211
passing yards on average. Buchanan Award candidate Justin Rogers (eight
tackles, three pass breakups) has yet to copy last year's production, while
freshman strong safety Darryl Hamilton (12 tackles) is still learning.
JMU is coming off a tough road loss to Hofstra last week (24-17), in which the
offense managed a season-low 17 points (averages 30 points), losing to the
Pride for the first time in 10 years. That and a tough overtime loss to
Maryland has the Dukes in almost the same situation as Richmond faced after
losing to JMU last year.
With a bunch of tough games on the horizon, James Madison is in an almost must-
Quarterback Drew Dudzik (404 yards passing, five TDs) passed for a season-low
19 yards against Hofstra, but the team managed just 136 yards rushing against
the Pride, down from their 213-yard average.
Freshman quarterback Justin Thorpe (414 yards of total offense, three TDs)
tried to pick up for Dudzik, rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown and was 3-
of-3 for 37 yards passing, but JMU did little else offensively.
Wide receiver Rockeed McCarter (14 catches, 16.6 average, two TDs) leads the
Dukes receiving corps.
The JMU defense allowed just 287 yards against Hofstra, but gave up three red
zone scores. The unit is still very capable of shutting down opponents with
Arthur Moats (31 tackles, nine tackles for loss) coming on as one of the top
defensive ends in the country.
Linebacker Pat Williams (29 tackles, three tackles for loss) and safety Jon
Williams (29 tackles, two pass breakups) have been among the other
McGee (40.4 kickoff return average) continues to give the JMU offense good
field position, but has yet to break a return for a touchdown this season as
teams have been more cautious with him. McGee has six careers kickoff and punt
returns for scores.
Richmond leads the all-time series 14-12. JMU needs this win more to keep pace
in the CAA, but Richmond is the more balanced team and has had an extra week to
RICHMOND 24, JAMES MADISON 17
No. 3 Northern Iowa (4-1, 2-0) at North Dakota State (1-4, 0-2), 4:07 p.m.
North Dakota State entered the Missouri Valley Football Conference last year as
the preseason title favorite, but the Bison program has fallen on hard times.
NDSU ended up a disappointing 6-5 last season and has dropped four of five this
Northern Iowa, meanwhile, shared the MVFC title last year and has established
itself as one of the top teams in the country again in 2009.
The Panthers come into this contest with third best offense and fifth best
rushing attack in FCS after four straight wins culminating in a 62-7 beat down
of Indiana State.
Running back Derrick Law (301 yards rushing, 6.0 average, three TDs) has been
the main factor on the ground for the Panthers since missing the opener due to
Quarterback Pat Grace (1,241 yards passing, 68% completion percentage) ranks
second nationally in passing efficiency and leads a UNI passing attack that is
14th in the country. Wideouts D.P. Eyman (19 catches, 17.2 average, three TDs)
and D.J. Hord (18 catches, 17.2 average, three TDs) have been Grace's top
UNI's ranks second nationally in total defense and first in scoring defense,
allowing just 211 yards and eight points per game, but the Panthers haven't yet
faced the heart of the MFVC. Buchanan Award nominee James Ruffin (20 tackles,
4.5 sacks) is the team's top pass rusher, while freshmen, cornerbacks Terrell
McBride (19 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss) and James Conley (17 tackles) pace a
young, but effective secondary.
North Dakota State is coming off of consecutive conference loses against
Southern Illinois (24-14) and Illinois State (27-24), but has stayed close in
games with the nation's leading rusher, Pat Paschall (754 yards rushing, 7.5
average, five TDs) pacing the nation's second-ranked rushing offense.
Quarterback Nick Mertens (903 yards passing, six TDs) has been solid, but has
completed just 51% of his passes and has tossed an interception in six of his
last seven games dating back to 2008. Sophomore wideout Warren Holloway (16
catches, 13.4 average) is Mertens' top target, but has yet to haul in more than
five balls in a game.
Unfortunately, it's NDSU's defense that has kept the team from performing up to
potential. The unit ranks 102nd in the country in total offense and 107th in
pass defense. Linebacker Preston Evans (41 tackles, three tackles for loss),
safety Kyle Belmont (24 tackles, two pass breakups) and defensive tackle
Coulter Boyer (20 tackles, two sacks) have all performed well for this
UNI upended the then 16th-ranked Bison 23-13 last season and holds a 22-19
advantage in the all-time series. The Panthers have played sound football and
are one of the best teams in FCS, and possess an offense that NDSU should have
NORTHERN IOWA 40, NORTH DAKOTA STATE 21
Illinois State (2-3, 1-1) at No. 6 Southern Illinois (3-1, 2-0), 3 p.m.
Illinois State rekindled some hope last week in a 27-24 victory MVFC victory
over North Dakota State. Now the rebuilding Redbirds take a step up in
competition against one of the top programs in FCS, Southern Illinois.
Freshman quarterback Matt Brown (1,047 yards passing, 64% completion rate, five
TDs) leads a ISU passing attack ranked 15th in the country. Wide receiver Eyad
Salem (38 catches, 10.8, average, three TDs) is Brown's top target and caught a
career-high 14 catches for 172 yards last week.
The Redbirds rushing attack has been outgained by almost 700 yards so far.
Senior running back Geno Blow (250 yards rushing) leads the unit, but has yet
to eclipse 100 yards.
ISU's defense has given up 798 yards the past two weeks and has struggled
equally stopping the pass and the run. Safety Kelvyn Hemphill (33 tackles, five
tackles for loss) has tried to make up for the lacking pass rush and is joined
on the unit by defensive end Doni Phelps (20 tackles, two sacks) and
cornerback-returnman E.J. Jones (18 tackles, three interceptions).
Southern Illinois has won three straight since falling to Marshall, including a
30-10 win over Western Illinois.
The Salukis feature a solid rushing attack that ranks eighth nationally, led by
running back Deji Karim (561 yards rushing, 8.4 average, five TDs). Karim is
second in the country in all-purpose yards (207 per game) and is first in
kickoff returns (40.6 average).
Southern Illinois's passing attack has diminished over the past few weeks, but
does feature quarterback Chris Dieker (789 yards passing, seven TDs) and
quarterback-turned-wide receiver Joe Allaria (19 catches, 16.8 average, two
Allowing just 24 points the past two weeks, SIU's defense has stepped up with
the consistent play of Buchanan Award nominee Brandin Jordan (28 tackles, three
tackles for loss), linebacker Kyle Walker (four sacks), All-American cornerback
Korey Lindsey (24 tackles, three interceptions) and defensive end Kyle Russo
Southern Illinois leads this historic rivalry dating back to 1929 36-32-3 and
has won the past two meetings. The more talented and balanced Salukis are
likely to extend that advantage on Saturday.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 31, ILLINOIS STATE 14
No. 7 McNeese State (3-1, 0-0) at Stephen F. Austin (3-1, 0-0), 7 p.m.
McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin have taken different routes to 3-1 starts
this season as they prepare for their Southland Conference opener.
McNeese has challenged itself against a top-flight schedule. After the Cowboys'
big 40-35 win over Appalachian State, McNeese State suffered a heartbreaking
loss to Tulane, 42-32.
The Cowboys rank fourth nationally in total offense with a combination of a
dangerous rushing attack and solid air strike.
MSU's Payton Award nominee Todd Pendland (570 yards rushing, 7.0 average, seven
TDs) has rushed for over 100 yards in eight straight games dating back to last
season. Pendland is also the team's leading receiver (18 catches, 9.5 average,
Quarterback Derrick Fourroux (899 yards passing, 67%, eight TDs) is just as
effective on the ground, rushing for 102 yards on 20 carries against Tulane.
Defense has been McNeese State's biggest problem. The defense hasn't be able to
stop the run or the pass, giving up 362 yards per game. Defensive end Joshua
Ellison (12 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss) has leads a defensive line that has
tallied six sacks in four games.
The Cowboys have improved in the secondary, ranking 34th nationally and feature
cornerback Seth Thomas (12 tackles, two interceptions) and freshman safety
Malcolm Bronson (26 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss).
Stephen F. Austin has earned its three wins against Texas College, Western
Illinois and North Dakota, who have a combined three victories this season. The
Jacks offense does rank first in the country, but 92 points came against Texas
College, an awful NAIA school.
Quarterback Jeremy Moses (1,309 yards passing, 66% completion rate, 16 TDs)
ranks third nationally in total offense. He is joined on the explosive unit by
running back Vincent Pervis (375 yards rushing, 6.8 average) and wide receivers
Aaron Rhea (22 catches, 17.2 average, five TDs) and Duane Brooks (28 catches,
13.0 average, three TDs).
Wide receiver-returnman Contrevious Parks (24.8 average) leads the nation in
punt returns for the Jacks.
SFA's defense is ninth nationally, but hasn't yet faced an FCS team with a
winning record. All-American defensive end Tim Knicky (10 tackles, 5.5 sacks)
paces this unit, along with safety Cory Barlow (20 tackles, three
interceptions) and linebacker Devin Ducote (25 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss).
Linebacker Jabara Williams (211 career tackles) is a Buchanan Award candidate.
McNeese State took last year's meeting 42-31 and holds a 16-10-2 series
advantage. These two squads can definitely put up points, but the Cowboys'
defense has been challenged more in 2009 and is fresher coming off of a bye
MCNEESE STATE 38, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 28
No. 8 William & Mary (4-1, 1-1) at Northeastern (0-5, 0-2), 1 p.m.
William & Mary looks to rebuild its confidence after last week's 28-17 loss to
No. 2 Villanova and gets a break in playing a Northeastern squad still
searching for its first win in this CAA contest.
The Tribe are coming off of a tough loss 28-17 loss to Villanova with the
offense performing well led by quarterback R.J. Archer (1,133 yards passing,
nine TDs) and wide receiver D.J. McAulay (25 catches, 13.1 average, three TDs).
Running backs Jonathan Grimes (392 yards rushing, 4.2 average, two TDs) and
Cortland Mariner (128 yards rushing, 4.9 average) pace a William & Mary rushing
attack that has been consistent.
Defense has been the Tribe's strong suit. William & Mary ranks seventh
nationally in rushing defense and 14th in sacks. Buchanan Award nominee Adrian
Tracy (28 tackles, five tackles for loss) and defensive tackle Sean Lissemore
(26 tackles, seven tackles for loss) have been key performers up front.
The Tribe passing defense has also improved with freshman B.W. Webb (11
tackles, three interceptions) and safety David Caldwell (23 tackles).
Northeastern extended its losing streak over two years to 11 games after
falling to Holy Cross, 42-21.
Quarterback Alex Dulski is doubtful for this game after suffering an injury
during a 56-7 loss against Villanova. Matt Carroll (394 yards passing, 68%,
three TDs) should get the start. John Griffin (284 yards rushing) is the
Huskies' top running back.
The Northeastern defense keeps allowing points and yards, giving up 430 yards
and 41 points per game. All-CAA linebacker Phil Higgins (39 tackles, five
tackles for loss), cornerback Darryl Jones (39 tackles) and All-American safety
Nate Thellin (22 tackles) have performed well for this struggling unit.
William & Mary took down Northeastern last season 38-17 and has won three
straight in this series. The Tribe hold an 11-2 advantage in the series, but
Northeastern has taken the Tribe to overtime in two of the past three meetings.
Northeastern almost always defends its Parsons Field turf well, but the Huskies
are playing one of the nation's top teams in the Tribe.
WILLIAM & MARY 34, NORTHEASTERN 17
North Carolina Central (0-5) at No. 9 Appalachian State (2-2), 3:30 p.m.
Appalachian State takes a break from Southern Conference play to work some
kinks out against a NCCU squad it has never met.
Appalachian State pulled out a 30-27 overtime win over The Citadel last week,
with Payton Award winning quarterback Armanti Edwards racking up 407 yards of
total offense and three TDs against the Bulldogs. Wide receivers Matt Cline (18
catches, 9.7 average) and CoCo Hillary (16 catches, 12.1 average) are Edwards'
Running back Devon Moore (364 yards rushing, 4.4 average, two TDs) helps a
Mountaineer rushing attack that ranks 17th nationally.
The ASU defense ranks 63rd nationally,but has been better against the pass than
the run, with Buchanan Award finalist Mark LeGree (20 tackles, two pass
breakups) and All-American cornerback Cortez Gilbert (27 tackles, two pass
breakups) pacing the secondary.
Other Mountaineer defensive performers include All-American linebackers D.J.
Smith (49 tackles, four tackles for loss) and Jacque Roman (335 career
FCS independent North Carolina Central is coming off its second overtime loss
in three games, this time against North Carolina A&T (23-17). The Eagles have
struggled offensively averaging just 15 points per game.
Running back Tim Shankle (332 yards rushing) leads the NCCU rushing attack,
while Michael Johnson (684 yards passing, five TDs, seven interceptions) and
Keon Williams (173 yards passing) split time at quarterback. Senior Will Scott
(21 catches, 15.9 average, three TDs) is the best receiving threat.
The NCCU defense has allowed 173 yards per game on the ground but has only
given up 156 yards passing per contest. Key performers on the unit are
linebacker Calvin Hillie (33 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss), defensive tackle
Teryl White (32 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss) and cornerback David Ingram (22
tackles, five pass breakups)
NCCU steps into another realm of talent against ASU and must play at Kidd
Brewer Stadium, where the Mountaineers have dropped only three games in the
past three years.
APPALACHIAN STATE 49, NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL 13
The Citadel (2-2, 0-1) at No. 10 Elon (4-1, 2-0), 1:30 p.m.
It is another meeting between coach Kevin Higgins of The Citadel and his
protege and one-time Lehigh replacement Pete Lembo, but this encounter will
have more than friendly associations at stake with two teams that have Southern
Conference title aspirations and are potential playoff participants playing.
Elon has won two big games to open SoCon play against both Georgia Southern
(28-14) and Furman (19-12).
The Phoenix rank fifth nationally in total offense and fourth in passing
offense behind the arm of quarterback Scott Riddle (1,579 yards passing, 65%,
11 TDs) and pass catching skills of Payton Award nominee and national Player of
the week Terrell Hudgins (59 catches, 12.7 average, six TDs) at wide receiver.
Running back Jamal Shuman (358 yards rushing, 5.0 average, two TDs) was banged
up in practice before the Furman game, should resume starting duties after
being limited to five carries against the Paladins. Backup A.J. Harris was a
key element of Elon's game-winning drive against Furman.
Elon has been just as impressive on defense, ranking fourth nationally in both
total defense and rushing defense. Andre Campbell (17 tackles, eight tackles
for loss) has been one of the best pass rushers in the country up front and is
joined at defensive end by Brandon Ward (15 tackles, six tackles for loss).
Cornerbacks Cameron McGlenn (18 tackles, three interceptions), Karlos Sullivan
(12 tackles, two pass breakups) and Nolan Ward (24 tackles) have all impacted a
Elon secondary that ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency defense.
The Citadel fought hard before falling in overtime to Appalachian State, 30-27,
and also has a loss at North Carolina. But the Bulldogs have the ability to be
one of the SoCon's top teams.
Payton Award nominee Andre Roberts is duel threat as a receiver (31 catches,
10.2 average, four TDs) and punt returner (22 average). Bart Blanchard (691
yards passing, nine TDs) was solid against the Mountaineers and leads The
Citadel offense at quarterback.
Wildcat runner Miguel Starks (203 yards rushing, 5.2 average) and freshman
running back Van Dyke Jones (161 yards rushing, 7.0 average, two TDs) lead a
Citadel rushing attack that tallied 214 yards against ASU.
Citadel's defense needs some improvement, having allowed 51 points 872 yards
the past two games. Safety Joseph Boateng (16 tackles, two TDs) and cornerback
Cortez Allen (17 tackles, two pass breakups) have held opposing quarterbacks in
check, while linebacker Jordon Gilmore (37 tackles) and defensive tackle
Terrence Reese (18 tackles, three tackles for loss) aid the rest of this
The Citadel holds a 6-1 advantage in the series and have beaten the Phoenix in
three of the past four tries (42-31 in 2007, 44-7 in 2006 and 21-0 in 2005, a
27-23 loss in 2008). This game could go either way, since both teams are
playing well, but the Bulldogs have the edge on the ground.
THE CITADEL 35, ELON 28
No. 11 Central Arkansas (3-1, 0-0) at Northwestern State (0-4, 0-0), 8 p.m.
Last year, a late-season loss to Central Arkansas proved costly to Northwestern
State, ruining the Demons' chances at the Southland Conference title and
ultimately costing coach Scott Stoker his job.
Now NSU is winless under new coach Bradley Dale Pevato as it tries to rebuild
Central Arkansas, meanwhile, has established itself as a FCS powerhouse in a
short time and is looking to finish on top of the Southland Conference
standings again, even though NCAA rules won't let the Bears be recognized as
The Bears won their past two games against Division II opponents in Glenville
State (24-10) and Missouri S&T (45-10) after splitting games against FBS foes
Hawaii and Western Kentucky.
Quarterback Robby Park (901 yards passing, seven TDs) has maintained is poise
and consistency, completing 73% of his passes and tossing just two
interceptions. Darrius McNeal (12 catches, 17.1 average), James Lovett (11
catches, 15.9 average, two TDs) and Preston Echols (17 catches, 9.7 average)
have chipped in nicely at wide receiver.
Both running backs Brent Grimes (290 yards rushing, 5.5 average, six TDs) and
Leonard Ceaser (220 yards rushing, 5.5 average, three TDs) are a formidable duo
for the Bears.
UCA's defense has been consistent, but hasn't been tested against an FCS team.
Buchanan Award nominee Larry Hart (7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles) is the
backbone of this unit at defensive end, and gets help from linebacker Jacob
Bane (23 tackles, six tackles for loss) and safety Pieri Feazell (17 tackles,
two forced fumbles).
Northwestern State's confidence wasn't heightened by falling to Baylor, 68-13
last weekend. The Demons have started the season 0-4 for the first time since
1985, when they finished 3-8.
The Demon rushing attack is better than the passing attack with running back
William Griffin (293 yards rushing, 4.7 average, two TDs) carrying the load.
Quarterbacks John Hundley (270 yards passing) and Tyler Wolfe (396 yards
passing, three TDs) should split time as both took snaps with the first-team
offense in practice this week.
NSU's defense has been decent against FCS teams, giving up just 295 yards per
game. Linebacker Blake Delcambre (27 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss), safety
Wesley Eckles (17 tackles, three interceptions) and defensive tackle Ledell
Love (12 tackles, three tackles for loss) have been key performers on a unit
still striving for consistency.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 34, NORTHWESTERN STATE 17
No. 12 Massachusetts (3-1, 1-0) at Delaware (3-2, 1-2), 6 p.m.
What is usually a marquee matchup in the CAA has lost some luster with
Delaware's struggles in the past two years, but this is a game the Blue Hens
need if they are to have any shot at the playoffs.
That will be a tall order, with UMass returning to form after an off-season in
UMass is riding a three-game win streak after 44-17 win over Stony Brook. The
offense has put up over 30 points in each of those three wins, led by Payton
Award candidate Tony Nelson (342 yards rushing, 5.0 average, two TDs). The
running back will be back in the starting lineup after being held out of last
week's game with an upper body injury.
Quarterback Kyle Havens (974 yards passing, five TDs) has played well in his
first season as the starter, but has tossed at least one interception in each
game. All-American Victor Cruz (15 catches, 18.8 average, three TDs) is the
Minutemen's top wide receiver.
The UMass defense has taken the pressure of off the offense, allowing just 13
points and 277 yards per contest. Buchanan Award nominee Jeromy Miles (26
tackles) anchors a secondary that ranks ninth nationally in pass efficiency
defense, while linebacker Tyler Holmes (32 tackles, two interceptions) and
defensive end Michael Hanson (18 tackles, four tackles for loss) aid the rest
of the solid unit.
Senior kicker Armando Cuko (9-of-11 FG, 13-of-13 XP) has been another key
performer for UMass, making at least three field goals in three straight games.
Delaware rebounded after a 30-20 loss to William & Mary, with a 27-17 win over
Maine for its first win in conference play. But with games against Richmond,
Villanova and James Madison on the horizon, there is no room for error.
Quarterback Pat Devlin (1,252 yards passing, 65% , 11 total TDs) has been,
arguably, the best quarterback in the CAA with his accuracy and fine decision-
making abilities. Wide receiver Mark Mackey (24 catches, 11.3 average) is
Devlin's top target.
Delaware's rushing attack hasn't been consistent so far, with a number of guys
getting carries. David Hayes (261 yards rushing, 4.3 average, two TDs) and
freshman Leon Jackson (171 yards rushing, three TDs) have shouldered most of
The Blue Hen rushing defense has been the best part of that unit, allowing just
99 yards on the ground per game. Defensive tackle Brandon Gilbeaux (23 tackles,
2.5 sacks) and defensive end John Higginson (20 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss)
lead the impressive pass rush.
Buchanan Award nominee Charles Graves (32 tackles, two interceptions), safety
Anthony Bratton (26 tackles, two tackles for loss) and cornerback Anthony
Walters (27 tackles, seven pass breakups) lead a Delaware secondary that has
kept opposing receivers in check.
Delaware holds a 23-6 all-time series advantage, but UMass took last year's
matchup 17-7. UMass has been the better team lately, but the Blue Hens are
starting to click and play very well at home.
DELAWARE 20, MASSACHUSETTS 17
No. 21 Weber State (2-3, 2-1) at No. 14 Eastern Washington (4-1, 3-0), 3:35
Weber State was considered a national championship contender before the season,
but the Wildcats find themselves on the ropes as they prepare to meet a ranked
Eastern Washington squad on the road in a key Big Sky matchup.
Weber State lost 26-21 in a tough game at Montana State last week, with Payton
Award nominee Cameron Higgins (1,584 yards passing, 66% completion rate, 14
TDs) accounting for 337 yards out of the team's 469 yards of total offense.
All-American wide receiver Tim Toone (35 catches, 12.8 average, four TDs) has
been the top target for Higgins. Toone also leads the team in punt returns
Weber State lost a huge weapon when All-American tight end Cody Nakamura went
out for the season with torn knee ligaments.
Payton Award nominee Trevyn Smith (525 yards rushing, 4.6 average, four TDs) is
a force on a Weber State offense that ranks eighth nationally. He went over 100
yards for the first time ever against the tough Montana State defense last
week, pounding out 148 yards.
The Wildcat defense has improved, giving up just 25 points per contest, but has
allowed 391 yards per game.
Defensive end Kevin Linehan (25 tackles, six tackles for loss) has kept up the
pass rush on the defensive line, Buchanan Award nominee Josh Morris (17
tackles, two pass breakups), a lock-down cornerback, All-American safety Beau
Hadley (24 tackles, three forced fumbles) and safety Jordan Brown (44 tackles,
two interceptions) have been the catalysts.
Eastern Washington is still awaiting news on its appeal of its NCAA postseason
ban, but the Eagles have established themselves as one of the Big Sky's top
teams, even if they are on probation and are ineligible for the conference
Payton Award candidate Matt Nichols (1,175 yards passing, 67% completion rate,
nine TDs) paces an EWU offense that ranks 17th in the country. Wide receivers
Aaron Boyce (27 catches, 16.0 average, four TDs), Tony Davis (28 catches, 8.4
average) and tight end Nathan Overbay (19 catches, 9.8 average, four TDs) give
Nichols a solid corps of pass catchers.
Running back Taiwan Jones (577 yards rushing, 9.2 average, nine TDs) has been a
big surprise this season for the Eagles, adding a run component to this already
EWU's defense allows just 21 points per game and has not been known for
shutting down opponents recently. Linebacker J.C. Sherritt (60 tackles, 7.5
tackles for loss) leads the team and ranks seventh nationally in tackles.
Defensive tackle Renard Williams (6.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks), safety
Kevin Hatch (33 tackles, four pass breakups, three interceptions) and defensive
end Jacob Kragt (3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks) are other standouts on this
improving Eagle defense.
Eastern Washington took this matchup last season, 33-26, taking the series
advantage 14-13, but the Wildcats have the better offense and more on the line.
WEBER STATE 35, EASTERN WASHINGTON 27
Tennessee State (2-3, 1-1) at No. 16 Eastern Kentucky (3-1, 3-0), 6 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky will try to move a step closer to a third consecutive Ohio
Valley Conference title, while Tennessee State will attempt to stay in the
EKU has won its first three games in conference play, including a 36-31 win
over then 23rd-ranked Eastern Illinois and now faces a Tennessee State squad
that has looking to build off its first league win.
The Colonels offense has gotten better the past two weeks, led by running back
C.J. Walker (246 yards rushing, three TDs), versatile freshman quarterback T.J.
Pryor (737 yards passing, two TDs) and wide receiver Garnett Phelps (16
catches, 17.7 average).
Eastern Kentucky possess the third best rush defense in the country, with
defensive tackles Emory Attig (18 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss) and Andrew
Soucy (14 tackles, six tackles for loss) providing strong line play.
Linebacker Jordan Dalrymple (28 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and cornerback Jeremy
Caldwell (21 tackles, four interceptions) pace the rest of a unit that has
fared well. The Colonels are third nationally in rushing defense (52 yards per
game), but have shown some vulnerability against the pass (244 yards per game
to rank 100th).
Tennessee State won its first league game against Southeast Missouri State, but
it was a close 23-17 decision.
Quarterback Calvin McNairl (242 yards passing, two TDs, 391 yards rushing, 6.6
average, four TDs) had done everything on offense for the Tigers, however he's
better on the ground. Running back Preston Brown (251 yards rushing, two TDs)
and wide receiver Joseph Hills (16 catches, 11.9 average, two TDs) are other
standouts for a unit still trying to find consistency, averaging just 269 total
Defense is TSU's strong suit. The Tigers have allowed just 20 points per game.
Cornerback Eugene Clifford (32 tackles, two pass breakups), linebacker John
Jones, Jr. (28 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss) and defensive tackle Kellen
Woodard (25 tackles, five tackles for loss) have helped the defense keep the
team in games.
Tennessee State has struggled against it tougher opponents this season and is
likely to do so again in this contest against a balanced EKU squad.
EASTERN KENTUCKY 28, TENNESSEE STATE 17
No. 17 South Carolina State (3-1, 1-0) at Norfolk State (2-2, 1-1), 1 p.m.
South Carolina State looks to get back on track after a loss to South Carolina,
but the Bulldogs face a challenge against a darkhorse Norfolk State team on the
road in this Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup.
South Carolina State played well against a tough South Carolina team (38-14
loss), proving the capability of the reigning MEAC champions.
Payton Award candidate Will Ford (308 yards, 4.7 average, two TDs) paces a SCSU
offense, but has rushed for 100 yards just once this season.
Quarterback Malcolm Long (663 yards passing, four TDs) and wide receiver Tre
Young (21 catches, 14.2 average, two TDs) are the other key standouts on an
offense that has allowed just three sacks, due to the play of the offensive
The Bulldogs maintain a top-20 defense, giving up 275 yards and 20 points per
game. Linebacker David Erby (37 tackles) and safety Phillip Adams (13 tackles,
two tackles for loss). Defensive end Pat Washington is doubtful with an
Norfolk State blew out a struggling Bethune-Cookman squad 40-14, and possesses
on of the best defenses in the country, led by Buchanan Award candidate Terrell
Whitehead (25 tackles, two interceptions) at safety.
Linebacker Anthony Taylor (25 tackles, five tackles for loss), defensive tackle
Deon Norris (nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss) and cornerback Dante
Barnes (10 tackles, two interceptions) have stepped up for a unit that ranks
The Spartan offense doesn't have to put up massive amounts of points with the
defense keeping them in games. Running back DeAngelo Branche (272 yards
rushing, 4.5 average, five TDs) is one of the top tailbacks in the MEAC, but
has rushed for 100 yards just once this season.
Quarterback Dennis Brown (698 yards passing, six TDs) has been a standout for
the NSU offense, but has tossed an interception in six straight games dating
back to last season. Chris Bell (19 catches, 18.1 average, four TDs) is the top
SCSU took this contest 24-23 in a thriller last season and holds a 10-1
advantage in the series, with the Spartans' lone win coming in 2007 (20-13).
Look for an upset, with Norfolk State's defense being the deciding factor in
NORFOLK STATE 24, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 21
No. 18 Jacksonville State (3-2, 1-0) at Murray State (1-3, 0-1), 4 p.m.
Jacksonville State is ineligible for the NCAA playoffs and the OVC title, due
to NCAA sanctions for poor APR results, but the Gamecocks have been taking out
their frustrations on opponents in recent weeks.
The Gamecocks have won three straight by a combined score of 157-30, including
a 52-7 win over Tennessee-Martin last week.
Payton Award nominee Ryan Perrilloux (961 yards passing, 12 TDs, zero
interceptions) is still the nation's most efficient passer after completing 14-
of-16 passes for 205 yards and four TDs against Tennessee-Martin. Senior James
Wilkerson (18 catches, 21.1 average, four TDs) leads the Gamecocks receiving
Running back Calvin Middleton (317 yards rushing, 5.3 average, two TDs) rushed
for a career-high 121 yards against the Skyhawks and adds to this already
Jacksonville State's defense has come alive in the past three games.
Linebackers Alexander Henderson (36 tackles) and Kevin Dix (24 tackles, 4.5
sacks), cornerback T.J. Heath (16 tackles, four pass breakups, three
interceptions) and defensive end Dimetrio Tyson (14 tackles, three tackles for
loss) are key performers on this much improved unit.
Heath had three interceptions and ran two of them back for touchdowns to give
JSU a quick 14-0 lead last week against UT-Martin.
Murray State has lost three straight, including 23-13 loss to Eastern Kentucky
two weeks ago.
The Racers offense has struggled in 2009, putting up just 213 yards and 48
yards rushing per game.
Quarterback Jeff Ehrhardt (501 yards passing, three TDs, four interceptions)
and wide receiver Derrick Townsel (23 catches, 11.1 average) have been the
brightest spots. Townsel ranks fourth nationally in punt returns (22.2
MSU's defense allows 33 points per game, but allowed 23 points against a good
Eastern Kentucky offense. Buchanan Award candidate Austen Lane (24 tackles, 6.5
tackles for loss), cornerback Harry McCall (13 tackles, two interceptions) and
defensive end Jamal Crook (24 tackles, six tackles for loss) are keys if the
Racers defense is to improve.
JACKSONVILLE STATE 35, MURRAY STATE 17
No. 19 Holy Cross (4-0) at Brown (1-2), 12:30 p.m.
One of the oldest non-conference rivalries continues this weekend with both
teams looking to tune things up before returning to conference play. These two
teams met first in 1898.
Holy Cross dominated Northeastern last week 42-21 and now faces its first of
two consecutive Ivy League teams.
The Crusaders offense is ranked seventh nationally with Payton Award nominee
Dominic Randolph (1,286 yards passing, 14 total TDs) at quarterback. He is
second in the country in total offense. Wide receiver Luke Chmielinski (21
catches, 13.6 average, two TDs) is Randolph's No. 1 target.
Holy Cross features a combination rushing attack with running backs Matt
Bellomo (162 yards rushing, 4.4 average, three TDs) and freshman Eddie Houghton
(149 yards rushing, 6.5 average) carrying most of the load.
On defense, the Crusaders have held opponents to 17 points and 95 yards rushing
per game. Cornerback Anthony DiMichele (38 tackles, four pass breakups),
linebacker Anthony Campbell (4.5 tackles for loss) and defensive end Nicholas
MacDonald (2.5 sacks) lead this stingy defense.
Brown earned a nice 28-20 win over Rhode Island last week for the Bears first
win of the season.
Quarterback Kyle Newhall (662 yards passing, seven TDs) has been the focal
point of Brown's offense, but has tossed three interceptions in two of three
games. Wide receiver Buddy Farnham (23 catches, 11.1 average, three TDs) and
Bobby Sewall (18 catches, 211 all-purpose yard) give the Bears the best
receiving tandem in the Ivy League. Farnham ranks 11th nationally in all-
purpose yards (169 yards per game).
Running back Zachary Tronti (193 yards rushing) leads a depleted Bears rushing
attack that ranks 76th nationally.
Brown's defense has been stable, allowing 21 points and 359 yards per game,
numbers that should both go down when league play begins. Cornerback David
Clement (11 tackles, two pass breakups) and defensive ends Peter Hughes (two
tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries) and James Develin (17 tackles, 4.5
tackles for loss) leads a unit that has not yet allowed
over 24 points.
These two historic programs have played 56 times, with Holy Cross leading the
series 31-20-3, winning the past four times. The Crusaders have been on an
early-season roll on offense and should add to that lead.
HOLY CROSS 44, BROWN 20
No. 20 South Dakota State (3-1, 2-0) at Missouri State (3-2, 1-1), 3 p.m.
These two teams meet for just the second time ever in a Missouri Valley
Football Conference matchup that could help figure out if these squads are
contenders, or pretenders in the league title chase.
SDSU fell 21-14 to a solid Cal Poly squad, breaking the Jackrabbits four-game
win streak dating back to last season. It was a costly loss for South Dakota
State, who lost their quarterback and gave up two touchdowns to the Cal Poly
Quarterback Ryan Crawford (734 yards passing, 67% completion rate, seven TDs)
is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury suffered against the Mustangs.
Look for freshman Thomas O?Brien to make his first career start.
Running back Kyle Minett (425 yards rushing, 5.4 average, seven TDs) has been
the backbone for the Jackrabbits 10th ranked scoring offense.
Wide receivers Mike Steffen (17 catches, 19.8 average, three TDs) and Glen Fox
(23 catches, 11.4 average) are big contributors on an offense that has scored
at least 38 points three times.
SDSU's defense has been outstanding, ranking second in scoring defense and
seventh in total defense. Buchanan Award nominee Danny Batten (25 tackles, six
tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries) has led the defensive line to rank
sixth nationally in sacks.
Other performers on this big time Jackrabbit unit are safety Conrad Kjerstad
(28 tackles, three pass breakups), defensive end Steven Bazata (11 tackles, two
sacks) and linebacker Chris Johnson (22 tackles, 1.5 sacks).
Missouri State stayed alive in the tough MFVC, beating Youngstown State 17-7
last weekend on the road.
The Bears offense hasn't been consistent with quarterback Cody Kirby (795 yards
passing, five TDs, seven interceptions) tossing an interception for the eighth
straight game. All-American tight end Clay Harbor (22 catches, 11.4 average,
two TDs) and running back Jonathan Davis (191 yards rushing, 4.0 average, three
TDs) have kept the offense competitive.
MSU's defense has been more consistent of late, allowing just 31 points in the
Bears three wins. Linebackers Antoine Wilkinson (41 tackles, two forced
fumbles) and Terian Washington (25 tackles, five tackles for loss, four pass
breakups), safety Derek Miller (28 tackles, three interceptions) and defensive
end Michael Daniels (14 tackles, two sacks) have helped the defense step up.
South Dakota State won last year's inaugural meeting 43-13, and has shown the
more dominant defense this year.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 27, MISSOURI STATE 17
No. 22 Florida A&M (4-0) at Miami (FL.) (3-1), 7 p.m.
In 1979, Florida A&M shocked Miami just a year after winning the first NCAA I-
Miami owns a 6-1 series advantage over Florida A&M, and has won six in a row
since the Rattlers won the initial encounter in Tallahassee.
The Rattlers are a perfect 4-0 on the season following wins over Delaware
State, Winston-Salem State, Howard and Tennessee State. FAMU, who is off to its
best start since 1997, was idle last weekend, giving coach Joe Taylor's team
some extra time to batten down the hatches as it attempts to weather the storm
that awaits this week.
Miami is playing one of the more adventurous schedules in the nation this
season, and the first four games have been against teams (Florida State,
Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma) that have been or are currently
ranked in the Top-25.
The Hurricanes are 3-1 overall, 2-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, and
outlasted visiting Oklahoma last weekend, 21-20. Miami will play two more non-
conference games following this affair, teeing it up against UCF on October
17th and winding up the regular season against South Florida.
Quarterback Curtis Pulley leads the Florida A&M offense into battle this week
against a formidable Miami defense, and the Walter Payton Award candidate is
capable of beating teams with both his arm and his legs.
A former Kentucky Wildcat, Pulley has hit the mark on 64-of-96 pass attempts
for 846 yards and seven TDs with only one INT, while also rushing for 291 yards
and a score. He currently ranks ninth in the nation in total offense with
284.25 ypg, and is fifth in QB rating at 162.67.
Phillip Sylvester has had time to recover from some preseason injuries and
should be ready to take charge at tailback again after rushing for 717 yards
last season. Eddie Rocker (185 rushing yards) is another option. Isaac West and
Kevin Elliott both have 18 catches to their credit and have combined for 596
yards and five TDs.
The Rattlers are lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 33.5 ppg, while
permitting just 11 ppg, tying the team for second nationally in scoring
FAMU is led on defense by LB Bryan Parker and his 31 tackles. As a team, the
Rattlers are giving up just 246 total ypg, which has them tied for ninth in the
nation coming into action this week.
The Rattlers have one of the top punt returners at any level, as LeRoy Vann
holds the school record for career punt return TDs with seven. Four of those
have come this season. With 392 yards already this year, he is just 86 yards
shy of setting a new school standard for punt return yards in a season.
Jacory Harris threw three TD passes in leading Miami past Oklahoma last
Saturday. Harris, a 61.6 percent passer on the year who averages 252 ypg and
has thrown eight TD passes against five INTs, completed passes to 11 different
players in the win, but was picked off twice and sacked four times. He wound up
19-of-28 for 202 yards.
The Hurricanes were successful on 8-of-13 third down conversion attempts, and
survived 12 penalties for a loss of 115 yards.
While Harris has been effective, none of the receivers have established
themselves as stars to this point, and while three have logged double-digit
catches, LaRon Byrd leads the pack with just 11. Travis Benjamin paces the club
with 218 receiving yards and he has a pair of TD catches to his credit.
The Miami run game boasts a solid one-two punch in the form of James and Graig
Cooper, the two combining for 493 yards and four TDs. The team as a whole has
scored only five rushing TDs and averages just 3.5 ypc through the first four
Despite the winning record, the Hurricanes are giving up more points than they
score on average (25.5 ppg to 24.8 ppg). Colin McCarthy is the team's leader in
tackles (32) after four games. Turnovers haven't been easy to come by for the
'Canes thus far, coming up with just four, only one of which has been an INT.
Pulley is a talent, and the FAMU defense has been impressive thus far. The leap
in competition level is substantial here though, making the Rattlers serious
MIAMI 38, FLORIDA A&M 13
Northern Arizona (2-2, 1-1) at No. 24 Montana State (3-1, 2-0), 3:35 p.m.
With both of these Big Sky teams coming off of big conference wins, Montana
State and Northern Arizona will try to stay in the league title chase in a
contest that matches a solid Bobcat defense against a high-powered Lumberjack
Montana State broke into The Sports Network Top-25 with a 26-21 win over Weber
State last Saturday.
The Bobcats has consistently put up points in the mid-twenties during their
three-game win streak. Quarterback Mark Iddins (719 yards passing, four TDs)
has tallied less yards through the air in each of the past three games because
of the effectiveness of the rushing attack led by running backs Aaron Mason
(340 yards passing, 6.2 average, two TDs) and C.J. Palmer (191 yards rushing,
4.1 average, two TDs).
Elvis Akpla (12 catches, 14.9 average) and Everett Gilbert (10 catches, 15.7
average, two TDs) are both freshman, but have been capable receivers for
MSU's defense gave up 469 yards of total offense against Weber State, but
limited the Wildcats in the red zone. Buchanan Award candidate Dane Fletcher
(21 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss), safety Michael Rider (25 tackles, three
interceptions), defensive end John Laidet (19 tackles, three tackles for loss)
and linebacker Clay Bignell (15 tackles, three interceptions) have helped
motivate this improving defense.
Northern Arizona earned a 35-27 win over Northern Colorado last weekend and has
been successful on offense with running back Alex Henderson (431 yards rushing,
5.1 average, four TDs), quarterback Michael Herrick (1,187 yards passing, 69%
completion rate, 11 TDs) and wide receivers Ed Berry (23 catches, 16.3 average,
three TDs) and Conrad Meadows (23 catches, 10.7 average).
The Lumberjacks have allowed 35 points per game on defense and haven't given up
less than 27 in any game. Safety Matt Estrada (37 tackles), defensive end Isaac
Bond (seven tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) and defensive tackle Brandon Vance (24
tackles, three sacks) are key performers on a unit that needs to improve.
NAU leads the all-time series 22-19, but Montana State took down the
Lumberjacks last season, 29-22 and are riding high after knocking off
nationally-ranked Weber State.
MONTANA STATE 34, NORTHERN ARIZONA 24
No. 25 Eastern Illinois (4-1, 2-1) at Penn State (4-1), Noon
The AP-14th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions step out of conference for the
final time this season, as they welcome the Panthers of Eastern Illinois to
Eastern Illinois is coming off its first loss of the season -- a 36-31 setback
to visiting Eastern Kentucky.
EIU is coached by Bob Spoo, who owns a 136-110-1 record in 22 years at the
school. The Panthers are 4-21 all-time against teams that make up the Football
Bowl Subdivision, and their last win over a FBS foe came against Eastern
Michigan in 2004.
Penn State bounced back from its first loss of the season (21-10 vs. Iowa) by
running past Illinois in Champaign last Saturday, 35-17. The win evened the
Lions' Big Ten Conference mark at 1-1 and moved their overall record to 4-1.
PSU is 59-12 against non-conference foes since joining the Big Ten in 1993, and
EIU is the Lions' first opponent from the OVC as the two teams square off for
the first time ever.
The Eastern Illinois offense utilizes a balanced attack that generates 152
yards per game on the ground and 219.4 yards through the air.
QB Jake Christensen is actually making his second appearance at Beaver Stadium
after beginning his collegiate career at Iowa. Christensen, who threw for 146
yards and a TD in his only previous start against Penn State, is completing
65.4% of his passes and has thrown for 1,090 yards, 11 TDs and only three
interceptions this season.
A total of four different pass catchers have logged double-digit receptions to
this point in the campaign, with Michigan transfer Jimmy Potempa leading the
way with his 20 grabs for 122 yards and a TD.
Mon Williams, a transfer from Florida, spearheads an EIU run game with 441
yards thus far and all six of the team's rushing TDs. Chevon Walker, another
former Gator, has added 176 yards on the ground.
Defensively, the Panthers have been solid, allowing just 15.2 point per game.
Their effort against the run has been particularly impressive with foes
averaging a mere 94 yards per game and only 2.7 yards per carry.
The pass defense yields 171 yards per game and only four of the opposition's 10
TDs have come through the air. The Panthers have proven to be an opportunistic
bunch as well, coming up with 12 turnovers in addition to logging 38 TFLs,
including 14 sacks.
Cory Leman has been the most active EIU defender, making 47 stops in five
games, which is 23 more than his closest teammate. CJ James has a pair of INTs
and Perry Burge has three sacks for the Panthers.
Eastern Kentucky earned 25 first downs last weekend, gaining 416 yards of total
offense in the process. The Colonels turned the ball over four times, but held
a near 10-minute advantage in time of possession, converted 10-of-16 third down
attempts and reached the red zone six times (three scores). Leman led the EIU
defense with nine tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Panthers
recorded five sacks as part of 13 TFLs on the day.
Like their counterpart in this matchup, the Nittany Lions typically establish
their offensive will by attacking in near equal parts with both the run (169.4
yards) and the pass (233 yards).
Senior QB Daryll Clark is a 61 percent passer who has thrown for 1,133 yards,
nine TDs and six interceptions this season. He is also dangerous when he
decides to tuck the ball away and run with it, gaining 100 yards.
The leading receiver for PSU is Derek Moye with his 19 grabs for 309 yards and
two scores, while three others also have double-digit catches. Evan Royster has
shown the ability to be the team's workhorse, rushing for 410 yards and four
The Penn State defense, which has yet to give up a TD in the first half this
season, permitted 393 total yards (130 rushing, 263 passing), came up with two
turnovers and collected three sacks in the win over the Fighting Illini. Josh
Hull led the PSU defensive charge with 11 tackles, while the team as a whole
made seven stops behind the line of scrimmage. It was Hull's fourth straight
double-digit tackling effort of the season.
The Nittany Lions are giving up just 11.6 points per game this year, behind
only 86 yards on the ground and 179 yards through the air.
Hull is far and away the most productive defensive player for coach Paterno's
team, logging 52 total tackles, while fellow linebacker Sean Lee has 32 stops
to his credit. The two have combined for 12 TFLs and three sacks.
Eastern Illinois will be playing in front of its largest crowd ever, and while
there are likely to be some nerves, the Panthers will surely play hard. That
said, Penn State is clearly the superior team here and it shouldn't take long
for the Lions to establish their dominance.
PENN STATE 49, EASTERN ILLINOIS 14
GAMES OF THE WEEK
No. 2 Villanova (5-0, 2-0) at No. 5 New Hampshire (4-0, 1-0), Noon
Villanova will look to take down its second straight top-five CAA team when it
meets New Hampshire in a battle of undefeated squads.
Villanova looked impressive against a good William & Mary team in a 28-17 win,
with a balanced attack led by quarterback Chris Whitney (959 yards of total
offense, 67% completion rate, eight total TDs).
Wide receiver/returnman Matt Szczur (581 all-purpose yards, three TDs), running
back Aaron Ball (262 yards rushing, 5.8 average, two TDs) and wideout Brandyn
Harvey (22 catches, 14.8 average, three TDs) pace his elusive, high- powered
VU's defense has been the focal point of late, holding opponents to 27 points
the past three games (nine per game). All-American defensive end Tim Kukucka
(22 tackles, three sacks) leads the pass rush, while Buchanan Award nominee
Osayi Osunde (31 tackles) and Terence Thomas (34 tackles, three sacks) pace the
The Villanova seconday has been the most consistent group on defense with
safeties John Dempsey (25 tackles, six tackles for loss) and Ross Ventrone (21
tackles, two interceptions) anchoring the unit.
UNH earned its first CAA win of season, beating Towson 57-7 last week. The
Wildcats continue to impress on offense with backup quarterback Kevin Decker
(11-of-19, 140 yards passing, two TDs against Towson) starting for the injured
R.J. Toman (turf toe). But Toman has been named the starter for the game with
New Hampshire's rushing attack has also been consistent with Sean Jellison (250
yards rushing, three TDs), Dontra Peters (132 yards rushing, 5.1 average) and
Chad Kackert (102 yards rushing, 5.4 average, three TDs) all pitching in.
The UNH Wildcats possess the nation's best defense and turnover margin,
allowing just 210 yards per game with a plus-13 turnover margin.
Linebacker Devon Jackson (26 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss), defensive end
Kevin Peters (15 tackles, three tackles for loss) and cornerback Dino Vasso (14
tackles, three interceptions, two TDs) are key performers on this unit.
Villanova holds a 10-8 all-time series lead against New Hampshire and took last
season's meeting 24-13. VU's offense could give UNH fits in this one,
challenging the New Hampshire defense in ways it hasn't seen thus far.
VILLANOVA 27, NEW HAMPSHIRE 17
No. 15 Cal Poly (2-2, 0-0) at No. 4 Montana (4-0, 2-0), 3:05 p.m.
Two traditional FCS powerhouses meet again, with both Cal Poly and Montana
still trying to establish their identities in 2009.
Montana struggled offensively in a 17-10 win over UC Davis, before returning to
form, putting up 90 points in wins over Portland State and Northern Arizona.
Quarterback Andrew Selle (757 yards passing, 65% completion rate, seven TDs)
has been one of the most efficient passers in FCS, tossing just one
interception coming against Western State.
All-American wide receiver Marc Mariani (16 catches, 18.3 average, three TDs)
adds to a Grizzlies passing attack that ranks ninth nationally. Mariani also
leads the punt return unit (20.2 return average), that ranks sixth in the
Payton Award nominee Chase Reynolds (291 yards rushing, five TDs) carries the
Montana rushing attack, but has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry so far.
Montana's defense has allowed more points each game, culminating in 34 points
by Northern Arizona. But the unit does rank second in the country in rush
defense, giving up just 50 yards per game.
Linebacker Shawn Lebsock (28 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss), defensive end Ryan
Fetherston (three tackles for loss) and cornerback Trumaine Johnson (16
tackles, four pass breakups) pace this improving Montana defense.
Cal Poly racked up a nice 21-14 win over South Dakota State, but hasn't yet
found its momentum on offense. Running back Jon Hall is out for at least one
more week after arthroscopic surgery.
But fullback Jordan Yocum (226 yards rushing, 4.6 average) and slotback Jono
Grayson (176 yards rushing, 7.3 average) have picked up the option-based
attack, which ranks seventh nationally.
The Mustangs passing attack has not yet taken stage with quarterback Tony Smith
(496 yards passing, three TDs, four interceptions) completing just 46% of his
Cal Poly's defense has buckled down, allowing just 33 points the past two
weeks, but has allowed over 300 total yards in each of the past three games.
The Mustangs scored two touchdowns on defense last week to make the difference
in the win over South Dakota State.
Linebacker Carlton Gillespie (18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss) and cornerback-
returnman Asa Jackson (17 tackles, two pass breakups) pacing the unit. Jackson
is also a solid punt returner, averaging 14 yards per return.
Montana holds an overwhelming 12-1 advantage all-time against Cal Poly, with
the lone win coming in the 2005 playoffs, but the games in this series have
been mostly tight in recent years.
The Grizzlies have had an extra week to prepare for this one and have been a
little more efficient on offense, which should make the difference in another
MONTANA 31, CAL POLY 24
OTHER GAMES OF NOTE
Harvard (2-1, 1-0) at Cornell (2-1, 1-0), 12:30 p.m.
The 74th installment of this Ivy League rivalry occurs this weekend between two
teams with championship hopes.
Harvard took down Brown, 24-21, in a matchup of 2008 co-league champions and
followed that up by taking down a struggling Lehigh squad, 28-14.
The Crimson offense has seen an increase in points each week and has tallied
over 300 yards of total offense in each game. Quarterback Collier Winters (570
yards passing, six TDs) threw his first interception of the season against
Lehigh and completed just 15-of-34 passes. Wide receiver Chris Lorditch (15
catches, 11.8 average) is the team's top pass catcher.
Although Harvard's rushing attack has out gained opponents, a combination of
running backs Cheng Ho (140 yards rushing, 6.4 average), Winters (106 yards
rushing) and Geno Gordon (105 yards rushing) have gotten the job done.
The Ivy League is known for stingy defenses and Harvard is no exception,
allowing 20 points and 100 yards rushing per game. Defensive end Josue Ortiz
(three tackles for loss), safety Collin Zych (20 tackles, three pass breakups,
two interceptions against Lehigh) and defensive tackle Carl Ehrlich (seven
tackles, three tackles for loss) have all contributed to this solid unit.
Cornell fell to nationally-ranked Colgate, 45-23 last week, and hasn't really
done damage offensively. Quarterback Ben Ganter (426 yards passing, three TDs)
has thrown an interception in each of the past two games and has completed just
54% of his passes. Wide receiver Bryan Walters (10 catches, 22.2 average, two
TDs) is a true downfield threat and leads the Cornell receiving corps.
The Big Red rushing attack is one of the worst in the country, averaging just
84 yards per game. Randy Barbour (77 yards rushing) is the team's leading
Defense has also been Cornell's strong suit, ranking second nationally in pass
efficiency, but needs to improve stopping the run. Safety Dempsey Quinn (24
tackles) anchors the solid secondary, with key performances on the rest of the
unit coming from linebackers Chris Costello (35 tackles, four tackles for loss)
and Brandon Lainhart (30 tackles).
Harvard leads the all-time series 39-32-2 and has won the past three meetings.
This game should come down to defense, with Crimson's unit earning the edge.
HARVARD 17, CORNELL 10
Maine (2-3, 1-1) at Hofstra (3-2, 1-1), 1:30 p.m.
These two CAA North Division teams are heading in different directions as they
venture into the meat of the league schedule.
Hofstra is coming off its biggest win of the season over James Madison, 24-17,
one week after a narrow loss to Western Michigan (24-10).
Quarterback Cory Christopher (887 yards passing, five TDs) and wide receiver
Aaron Weaver (25 catches, 12.4 average) pace a Hofstra offense that looked
solid against the Dukes, but is still averaging just 18 points. Steve Probst
has split time with Christopher in the past two games.
The Pride rushing attack has been a group effort with Kwabena Asante (153 yards
rushing, 4.8 average) leading the way.
Hofstra's defense allows 24 points and 131 yards rushing per game. Safety Luke
Bonus (40 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss), linebacker Basim Hudeen (39 tackles,
3.5 tackles for loss) and cornerback Leslie Jackman (26 tackles, three pass
breakups) stepped up against a very good JMU offense.
Maine, which began the year in the preseason Top-25, dropped a home game to
Delaware, 27-17 and has lost its last three games after less than impressive
wins in its first two games.
Iona transfer Quarterback Warren Smith (775 yards passing, 65% completion rate,
six TDs) made his second career start against the Blue Hens and passed for 258
yards and two touchdowns, but was also picked off twice.
Running back Derek Session (411 yards rushing, 4.8 average, three TDs) and wide
receiver Landis Williams (28 catches, 11.9 average, six TDs) are big threats on
Maine's defense hasn't been awful, but has allowed 224 yards passing per game.
Linebacker Donte Dennis (57 tackles, seven tackles for loss) and defensive end
Jordan Stevens (25 tackles, 4.5 sacks) are big performers on a unit that needs
to improve in CAA play.
MAINE 21, HOFSTRA 17
Alabama A&M (4-1, 1-0) at Grambling (2-3, 0-1), 4 p.m.
Alabama A&M has become a dark horse in the SWAC and will try and prove it is
for real when the Bulldogs take on preseason league favorite, Grambling.
The Bulldogs have won their last two games, against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (28-7)
and Tuskegee (35-15) and look to sit atop the east division with a win over
Alabama A&M's rushing attack has been one of the better ones in FCS with
Ulysses Banks (580 yards rushing, 5.2 average, four TDs) carrying the load. He
hasn't rushed for less than 86 yards in a game thus far.
Quarterback Kevin Atkins (892 yards passing, seven TDs) and wide receiver
Thomas Harris (24 catches, 16.1 average, four TDs) are also big performers on
the Bulldogs offense.
Alabama A&M pass rush is tops in the country, averaging close to five sacks per
game, and also ranks ninth in tackles for loss.
All-SWAC defensive end Jeremy Maddox (24 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, eight
sacks) leads the defense and is joined on the improving unit by Afu Okosun (28
tackles, four quarterback hurries) and cornerback Korey Morrison (six pass
breakups, two interceptions.
Grambling lost a tough conference opener to Prairie View A&M, 35-32 last week
(first lost to the Panthers in 22 years), but still possesses a solid scoring
offense, averaging 32 points against FCS teams.
Running back Frank Warren (449 yards rushing, 5.8 average, two TDs),
quarterback Greg Dillon (856 yards passing, four TDs, six interceptions) and
wide receiver Kiare Thompson (13 catches, 14.5 average) have been standouts on
this solid Grambling offense.
Defense is the Tigers weak point, with the unit allowing 32 points per game.
Buchanan Award candidate Christian Anthony (40 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss,
three interceptions, two TDs) has been the anchor on this unit and might be the
front runner currently for the award.
Linebacker Cliff Exama (32 tackles, two tackles for loss) and cornerback Nigel
Copeland (24 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions) are other
standouts on this unit.
Grambling has a losing record against a challenging schedule thus far, but
should be able to right its ship with a win over a less-experienced Bulldog
GRAMBLING 31, ALABAMA A&M 24
Columbia (2-1) at Lafayette (3-1), 6 p.m.
Two teams that have been building momentum meet in an intriguing Ivy League-
Patriot League matchup.
Lafayette took down Yale, 31-14 last week and is gaining consistency on offense
with quarterback Rob Curley (924 yards passing, 66%, eight TDs) leading the
unit. Running back Maurice White (271 yards rushing, 4.9 average, two TDs) and
wide receiver Mark Layton (27 catches, 13.3 average, six TDs) add to a unit
that scores in the mid-twenties.
The Leopards defense has been very impressive, keeping opponents to 13 points
per contest. Preseason defensive player of the year, linebacker Mark Leggiero
(41 tackles) is the clear leader of the unit, with linebacker Michael
Schmidlein (45 tackles) and cornerback Eric McGovern (18 tackles, three pass
breakups) anchoring the rest of the defense.
Columbia stunned Princeton, 38-0 and has played surprisingly well offensively,
averaging 30 points per game. Running back Ray Rangel (327 yards rushing, 6.1
average, two TDs) leads the rushing attack.
Quarterback M.A. Olawale (517 yards passing, five TDs) and wide receiver Austin
Knowlin (18 catches, 10.0 average, two TDs) have also been productive for what
has been the best offense in the league so far. Knowlin (105 all-purpose yards
per game) is also an All-American returnman.
The Lions are holding opponents to 16 points per game, but are giving up 228
yards rushing. Safeties Adam Mehrer (37 tackles) and Andy Shalbrack (26
tackles, two pass breakups) pace a secondary that has also allowed over 220
yards per contest.
Lafayette has won the past seven meetings between these two squads and holds a
27-11-2 all-time advantage in a series that began in 1889. With Curley healthy
after a concussion, the Leopards should be able to put up some points on a
struggling Columbia defense.
LAFAYETTE 28, COLUMBIA 21
Editor's Note: FCS Executive Director David Coulson and Associate College
Football Editor Ralph Lauro contributed to this article.
10/08 15:30:05 ET