2021 FCS INSIDER -- KEY LINKS
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There are a season-high six matchups this weekend in which two top-25 teams face one another. This week's Stats Perform top-25 poll had a season-high 10 FCS leagues represented. Where to watch those key matchups (AFCA rankings denoted). A total of 22 of 25 ranked FCS teams are in action this Saturday (Oct. 23).

  • No. 16 Harvard at No. 17 Princeton, 12 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
  • No. 21 Jacksonville State at No. 1 Sam Houston, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
  • No. 24 UNI at No. 7 South Dakota State, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
  • No. 6 James Madison at No. 25 Delaware, 2 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Philadelphia / FloFootball)
  • No. 18 Missouri State at No. 3 North Dakota State, 2:30 p.m. CT (ABC ND / ESPN+)
  • No. 19 Rhode Island at No. 5 Villanova, 2:30 p.m. CT (FloFootball)


Through games of Saturday, Oct. 16, there are only six FCS teams who still have a perfect record, including three Ivies. Princeton and Harvard play each other Saturday (Oct. 23), while unbeaten Dartmouth faces Columbia tonight on ESPNU.


  • 7-0 Eastern Washington
  • 6-0 North Dakota State
  • 5-0 Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Sam Houston

FCS ALL IN -- "FCS ALL IN" is a weekly news program dedicated to promoting all FCS 15 conferences. Content will be provided by each participating conference, and the program will be distributed via a YouTube channel (//YouTube.com/c/FCSALLIN) and launched each Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. In addition to providing an overview of FCS games, each episode will include interviews with special guests and national media correspondents.

#FearTheFCS -- In Week 1, the Big Sky became first FCS conference to post three wins over FBS opponents in the same week since CAA Football in 2009. Montana knocked off No. 20 Washington, becoming just the sixth FCS school to post a win over a nationally ranked FBS foe. There have been 10 FCS wins over FBS programs this season, including four wins over teams from "Power 5" programs. In 2016, five FCS teams knocked off Power 5 teams (the last time as many as three-such wins have occurred in one season). The last time the FCS had more than 10 wins in one season against FBS schools was in 2013 (16 that year).

FCS in the NFL – There were more than two full teams worth of FCS players on NFL opening-day rosters. Better than 130 former FCS players made teams' 53-man rosters. Despite low draft numbers this spring (6) and last (6 in 2019), the number of FCS players on NFL rosters has not altered much --- with more than 210 FCS players on NFL Opening Day rosters in each of the previous three seasons (that number includes 53-man rosters and practice squads).

The 2021 season marks the debut of two new FCS conferences. The ASUN has three members this season: Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, and Central Arkansas. The WAC has four post-season eligible teams in the fall: Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston, and SFA. The two leagues have agreed on a one-year scheduling alliance for this fall.

Eastern Washington's Eric Barriere, Chattanooga's Devonnsha Maxwell, Marist's Mekhai Johnson and Southern's Kobe Dillon were selected Monday as the Stats Perform FCS National Players of the Week. Dartmouth earned FCS National Team of the Week.


ASUN -- This weekend's ASUN Conference Football lineup features an FCS Top-25 matchup between No. 21 Jacksonville State and No. 1 Sam Houston. The Gamecocks look to earn their second AQ7 victory of the season and pull ahead in the all-time series against the Texans which is currently tied at five wins apiece. Central Arkansas travels to Beaumont for an AQ7 battle against Lamar. The Bears have won each of the past five meetings between the teams in the State of Texas including a 45-17 victory during the 2019 season.

Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State have a combined 4-2 record in AQ7 matchups this season with each team earning a victory. Current and future ASUN Football programs have accumulated four wins against FCS Top-25 opponents this fall with wins by Austin Peay, EKU, JSU and Kennesaw State.

ASUN Football squads hold a .667 winning percentage on their home fields with a combined record of 8-4. Eastern Kentucky leads the way with a 3-1 mark inside Roy Kidd Stadium. The Jacksonville State Gamecocks are 2-1 on Burgess-Snow Field while Central Arkansas is 1-2 so far this season on "The Stripes".

BIG SKY -- EWU continued its best start in its FCS era, as the Eagles flew past Idaho 71-21 at home to continue its 20-game win streak. EWU faces Weber State this week, who was the last team to win (28-20) at the Inferno on Nov. 4, 2017. The 20-game home winning streak is currently the longest active streak in the FCS. Overall, the school record for EWU is 21 set from 1935-40. EWU QB Eric Barriere threw for 600 yards passing and scored eight total TDs this past week. The 600 yards passing was the fourth-most for a single game in Big Sky history, while ranking as the eighth-most ever in the FCS. Barriere's numbers would lead the FBS in three categories, surpassing the leader in touchdowns (26), passing yards (2,824), and total offense (2,902).

Sac State upset No. 5 Montana 28-21 on the road to stay perfect in league play, with the victory being the first-ever for the football program in Missoula. The Hornets were previously 0-12 in Missoula prior to Saturday's win. Sac State is 11-1 overall against Big Sky opponents under head coach Troy Taylor, while the Hornets have built a 7-0 record on the road against FCS foes in the last two seasons (2019, 2021).

NAU downed Southern Utah 59-35 to retain the Grand Canyon Trophy, as freshman RJ Martinez scored seven total TDs. Prior to Martinez playing in the lineup, NAU was 0-2 and averaged 11.5 points per game, since that NAU is 3-1 and have scored 34.5 points per game.

Montana State defeated Weber State on ESPNU last Friday night, as the Bobcats continued their six-game winning streak and climbed to a season-high No. 8 overall in the latest national rankings this week. The Bobcats have a +12 turnover margin, which currently leads the FCS.

UC Davis has picked off 12 passes this season, which leads the FCS. Four players on the Aggie roster have two INTs each, with Teddye Buchanan, Chris Venable, Erron Duncan and Jaylin White each with a pair.

BIG SOUTH -- Just two teams remain undefeated in Big South play -- Monmouth (3-0) and Kennesaw State (2-0). The Hawks have started a Big South season 3-0 for the fifth straight year, while the Owls are seeking their first 3-0 Big South start since 2018 and third overall this Saturday. Monmouth's string of 3-0 league starts is tied for the most in Big South annals, joining former member Liberty, which opened 3-0 in five consecutive seasons from 2007-11.

North Alabama RB Parker Driggers had a 99-yard touchdown run last week against Robert Morris -- the longest rush from scrimmage in Big South history. He broke the old record of 96 yards, which was established by Gardner-Webb's Narii Gaither vs. Presbyterian during the 2021 spring season. Driggers' 99-yard record run is the longest offensive play in the conference record book, and tied an NCAA Collegiate record for all levels of football.

Kennesaw State blanked North Carolina A&T last week, 14-0, marking the sixth-straight season the Owls have recorded a shutout -- extending their Big South record. KSU has posted eight shutouts in that span -- including six Big South games. Meanwhile, during its current 4-game win streak, Kennesaw State has held its opponents (Wofford, Jacksonville State, Hampton, North Carolina A&T) to an average of 7.8 points, 74.5 rushing yards and 248.3 total offensive yards. In the same span, KSU is averaging 27.5 points, 293.8 rushing yards and 390 offensive yards.

CAA FOOTBALL -- For the first time this season. all 12 CAA teams are facing conference foes on Saturday. Highlighting the slate are head-to-head matchups involving the league's four nationally ranked squads as #5 Villanova hosts #18 Rhode Island and #7 James Madison visits #23 Delaware. There are two other contests featuring teams with 2-1 CAA marks as Elon entertains New Hampshire and Towson travels to William & Mary. Rounding out the schedule, UAlbany is home against Maine and Stony Brook welcomes Richmond.

No FCS league has been more competitive than the CAA this season with seven teams bunched within one game of first place heading into Saturday's action. Villanova is the lone unbeaten team at 3-0, JMU and Rhode Island are a half-game back at 3-1, and four teams (Elon, New Hampshire, Towson and William & Mary) are 2-1.

Close games have become the norm in CAA Football this season as 12 of 21 conference contests (57.1%) have been determined by seven points or less.

IVY LEAGUE -- A No. 25 Dartmouth (5-0, 2-0 Ivy) and Columbia (4-1, 1-1 Ivy) kick off an exciting weekend of Ivy League football before a national audience Friday evening on ESPNU. Saturday's three-game slate is highlighted by a battle of the unbeatens when No. 17 Princeton (5-0, 2-0 Ivy) plays host to No. 16 Harvard (5-0, 2-0 Ivy).

Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton are three of the remaining six unbeaten teams in the FCS. The three Ivies have been winning by a large average margin of victory: Dartmouth (19.2), Harvard (26.6), Princeton (25.8). This marks the first time since 1968 that three Ivies have started the season with a 5-0 record.

After topping No. 23 New Hampshire, Dartmouth earned a ranking in the Stats Perform poll, coming in at No. 25. The Big Green is the third Ivy team to earn a ranking this season. Princeton and Harvard have climbed up the FCS Coaches Poll after entering it two weeks ago. The Crimson and the Tigers each moved up three spots to No. 16 and No. 17, respectively.

Five of the Ancient Eight teams rank in the top 15 in the nation in scoring defense: Harvard (10.4, second), Dartmouth (13.2, fourth), Princeton (15.4, seventh), Yale (16.4, 13th) and Penn (16.8, 15th).

MEAC -- Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play gets into full swing this Saturday, with all six teams squaring off in three games that will set the tone for the remainder of the 2021 season as the calendar flips from October to November in the next two weeks.Of the three games, two of them – Norfolk State at Howard and South Carolina State at Delaware State – will be broadcast live on ESPN3, and the Norfolk State-Howard game will be rebroadcast on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday will also mark Homecoming for Delaware State, Howard and Morgan State.

Norfolk State and Howard are riding win streaks heading into this week's contest; the Spartans have won four in a row after Saturday's 42-14 win over Virginia University of Lynchburg, while the Bison have won two straight after a 27-0 win over Morgan State on Oct. 8. This will be the MEAC opener for the Spartans, who were picked to finish second in the MEAC's preseason poll.

MISSOURI VALLEY -- North Dakota State currently leads the FCS in scoring defense (7.2 ppg) and total defense (226.5 ypg) through its first six contests. Both numbers would be league all-time single-season marks. NDSU established the league's scoring defense record in 2013 (11.3 ppg); and NDSU set the standard for fewest yards allowed in 2012 (235.1 ypg).

Counting Southern Illinois this season, a league team has started Conference play with a 4-0 MVFC record 39 times in league history. Of the previous 38 occurrences, 32 teams made the playoffs, and 29 teams won/shared the league title. The MVFC has had two teams start 4-0 in the same season eight times, most recently in 2014 when NDSU (5-0) and Illinois State (4-0) got off to quick starts.

In addition to the AFCA and Stats Perform Top 25 polls, the MVFC's 11 schools are well-represented in all the metrics. In the Massey FCS ratings, South Dakota State is the top-rated FCS program, followed closely by three other MVFC schools (all in the Top 5). North Dakota State is No. 2; Southern Illinois is No. 4; and South Dakota ranks No. 5 in that metric. Joined by UNI (7) and Missouri State (9), the league has six teams in the Top 9; the Big Sky (Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State) holds three top-10 spots.

NORTHEAST -- Starting in place of injured consensus All-American Julius Chestnut since Week 2, SACRED HEART backup running back Malik Grant has rushed for the most yards (853) in Division I FCS this season.

DUQUESNE QB Darius Perrantes, who has been starting since all-NEC passer Joe Mischler suffered a Week 1 injury, has accounted for four touchdowns in each of the Dukes' first two NEC victories.

In a rematch of the NEC Spring Championship Game, DUQUESNE visits SACRED HEART for the conference's featured Game of the Week on ESPN3 at 12:00 pm ET Saturday. SHU defeated the Dukes, who went 4-0 during the regular season, in overtime, 34-27, to secure the league's automatic NCAA FCS playoffs bid.

Two Week 8 games will stream live on the NEC On The Run app. LIU visits CENTRAL CONNECTICUT and WAGNER hosts BRYANT at 12:00 pm ET.

BRYANT QB Zevi Eckhaus has won the NEC Rookie of the Week award four times in a row. Eckhaus has thrown for multiple TD passes each of the past four weeks, leading the Bulldogs to a 3-1 record over the span with the lone loss coming by one score on the road.

OHIO VALLEY -- UT Martin improved to 5-1 on the season with a win at Eastern Illinois. It is the team's longest winning streak since its OVC Championship season of 2006. The Skyhawks moved up to No. 13 in the FCS Coaches Poll, which is the team's highest ranking since 2006. The Skyhawks play its next three games at home beginning with SEMO this week.

Southeast Missouri running back Geno Hess scored twice last week to increase his season total to 11 rushing touchdowns, which is the most in the FCS (he led the FCS with 12 scores last season). Hess also ranks fourth nationally in total rushing yards (762) and eighth in rushing yards/game (108.9). Hess went over 2,000 rushing yards (2,067) in his career, becoming only the 10th player in SEMO football history to accomplish that feat.

With its overtime win over Tennessee Tech last week, Tennessee State won back-to-back games for the first time since the beginning of the 2018 season. The Tigers are now 3-3 under first-year head coach Eddie George.

PATRIOT -- Fordham senior quarterback Tim DeMorat moved to 15th on the Patriot League's career passing yards list with 7,323 yards through his time in the Bronx. DeMorat is one yard behind Lafayette's Frank Baur for 14th-place. The Merritt Island, Fla. native, is in the midst of a career season, leading the League and placing among the FCS leaders in passing yards per game (281.0) and touchdown passes (21). He has topped 300 yards passing four times this season, including his last three games. The senior signal-caller has three or more touchdown passes in four games, including a program-record six in the Rams' win over Bucknell on Oct. 16.

Fordham Sr. WR Fotis Kokosioulis caught three TD passes in the Rams' 66-21 victory over Bucknell and has reached the end zone five times in the last two games. He is tied for an FCS-leading nine touchdown catches through seven games, scoring in six of Fordham's seven games this season. Junior teammate Dequece Carter is tied for eighth in the FCS with seven touchdown receptions. Former Lehigh standout and current Bucknell Head Coach Dave Cecchini holds the Patriot League's single-season touchdown record with 15.

Four Patriot League defensive players rank among the FCS leaders in tackles, led by Holy Cross junior linebacker Jacob Dobbs, who has recorded double-digit tackles in five of the Crusaders' six games and is second in the nation. Lafayette junior linebacker Marco Olivas and Georgetown senior linebacker Justin Fonteneaux are tied with 11.0 tackles per game. Fordham freshman linebacker James Conway has stepped up in the absence of Ryan Greenhagen to average 10.7 tackles through seven games.

PFL -- San Diego's Dale Lindsey became the fourth head coach to record 50 career PFL victories with the Torero's win at Butler, Oct. 9. He joins Dayton's Rich Chamberlin (72), Dayton's Mike Kelley (55), and Jacksonville's Kerwin Bell (51) as coaches with 50-plus wins. That group still could grow by two this season with Marist's Jim Parady (49) a win away and Butler's Jeff Voris (48) two wins away from joining the exclusive group.

With Davidson's 70-point performance in a league victory against Presbyterian, six of the FCS's 60-plus scoring performances have been put forth by PFL teams. Presbyterian holds down the No. 1 and No. 7 spots on the list with its 84 points against St. Andrews and 68 points against Fort Lauderdale. Butler sits at No. 2 with its 77-point outing against Taylor (Ind.). Davidson settled in at fifth with its 70-point outing against Presbyterian. Dayton is now No. 12 while Morehead State's 62-point effort against Point (Ga.) is No. 17.

Furthering the league's offensive mindset in 2021, four of the league's 11 members are ranked in the FCS' Top 50 in scoring offense. Presbyterian ranks No. 4 (43.3 ppg) followed by Davidson (11th, 37.0), Morehead State (13th, 36.8), Dayton (44th, 27.7).

SOUTHERN -- The final two Southern Conference unbeatens picked up their first league losses last weekend, leaving the SoCon race wide open with five teams sitting on one loss at the midway point of the season.

Mercer, which suffered its first SoCon loss in the form of a 45-7 setback to VMI last weekend, hosts Wofford on Saturday for the Ingles Southern Conference Game of the Week on select Nexstar affiliates.

Also on Saturday's docket, Chattanooga visits Samford, The Citadel welcomes Western Carolina and Furman hosts No. 14 ETSU.

ETSU, which dropped a 21-16 decision to Chattanooga last weekend, dropped four spots to No. 14 in both the AFCA FCS Coaches' Top 25 and the Stats Perform FCS Top 25. VMI, idle this week, moved back into the national rankings at No. 23 in the coaches' poll and No. 21 in the Stats Perform poll after knocking off Mercer. Mercer and Chattanooga are receiving votes in both polls, while Furman is receiving votes in the coaches' poll.

SOUTHLAND -- Southeastern quarterback Cole Kelley has completed at least 73.2 percent of his passes in each of his last nine games, averaging 425.9 yards of total offense and totaling 44 touchdowns in that span. The Lions are 7-2 in those games with an average of 49.6 points per contest.

UIW is 3-0 to start Southland Conference play for the second-straight season while Southeastern's 3-0 start is the first since 2014 for the Lions.

The winningest program in league history, McNeese is one win away from 200 all-time victories in Southland play. The next-highest is Sam Houston, who won 136 games from 1987-2020.

Nicholls quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. has five-straight outings with at least 100 yards passing and 90 yards rushing, averaging 366 yards of total offense per game in that span with 10 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns. Averaging 7.1 yards per tote, he has led the team in rushing in each of those contests.

SWAC -- SWAC Offensive Player of the Week Kobe Dillon broke the Southern University single game rushing record on Saturday with 14 carries for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Dillon's longest run of the day came during
the opening drive of the third quarter when he burst up the middle for a 75 -yard touchdown.

SWAC Defensive Player of the Week Chase Foster led the Jaguars defense with three interceptions for 36 yards and four tackles. His performance also broke Southern's single game interception record.

The Jackson State Tigers enter Week Eight with a #20 ranking in the AFCA FCS Coaches' Top 25 Poll and a #24 ranking in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 Poll. The Tigers currently have a 5-1 overall record and a 3-0 record in league play.

The 2021 season marks the first season with Alcorn State competing in the SWAC's West Division.

WAC -- Following a bye week, both Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin will get back on the gridiron this weekend. The top-ranked Bearkats will play host to Jacksonville State in a crucial AQ7 matchup while the 'Jacks head to Utah to take on Dixie State in a WAC game. Lamar also has an AQ7 battle as the Cardinals host Central Arkansas while Tarleton plays host to Midwestern State in a Lone Star Conference throwback.

As a team, Sam Houston leads the WAC in scoring offense (40.2), scoring defense (18.4), total offense (465.2), rushing offense (222.2), rushing defense (70.2), passing touchdowns (15), field goal percentage (100.0), opponent first downs (15.6) and least sacks allowed (6).

Stephen F. Austin is tops in total defense (280.0), pass defense efficiency (100.6), passing offense (283.7), passing defense (165.0), field goals made (12), punting average (40.3), punt return average (18.8), punt return TDs (3), kickoff return average (42.8), interceptions (9), first downs passing (72), opponents third-down conversion (28.92), fourth-down conversions (47.37), opponents fourth-down conversion (23.08), sacks by (19) and time of possession (31:28).