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- FCS ALL-IN AIRS FRIDAY ON ESPN+ AT 7 PM ET -- Click To Learn More
- The 2023 FCS championship game will be played on Sunday, Jan. 8, and will air on ABC starting at 2 p.m. ET. -- Read
The last time the game was held on a Sunday was at the end of the 2021 spring season which saw Sam Houston defeat South Dakota St. 23-21.
- CRAIG HALEY OF STATS PERFORM PREVIEWS THIS WEEK’S MATCHUPS -- Read
- FedEx Ground FCS National Players of the Week -- Click Here
- Top 25 FCS vs. Top 25 FCS This Week
- #22 Richmond at #23 Elon, 2 pm ET (TV: My48; FloFootball)
- FCS ROUNDUP (Conference Headlines) – Read below
- FBS WINS OVER FBS PROGRAMS – THE FCS HAD 12 SUCH VICTORIES IN 2021 (8 so far this year) -- #FearTheFCS
DATE FCS TEAM SCORE FBS TEAM Sept. 2 William & Mary 41-24 Charlotte Sept. 3 Delaware 14-7 Navy Sept. 10 Eastern Kentucky 59-57 (7 OT) Bowling Green Sept. 10 Holy Cross 37-31 Buffalo Sept. 10 UIW 55-41 Nevada Sept. 10 Weber State 35-7 Utah State Sept. 17 Southern Illinois 31-24 Northwestern Sept. 24 Sacramento State 41-10 Colorado State
FCS INSIDER – AROUND THE FCS
- Five ASUN Conference Football squads hit the field on Saturday highlighted by a pair of head-to-head league clashes including the debut conference game for Kennesaw State when they visit Jacksonville State. Current conference leader No. 16/22 Austin Peay makes its first ASUN road appearance at Central Arkansas while No. 25 Eastern Kentucky looks to bounce back from a loss last week to the Govs when they host non-conference foe Southern Utah.
- Austin Peay climbed up the polls this week to No. 16 (AFCA Coaches) and No. 22 (Stats Perform) after their win against EKU and will put their four-game win streak on the line with a road test at Central Arkansas, a team they have never beaten. No. 25 Eastern Kentucky welcomes a tough Southern Utah team in only the second home game of the year for the Colonels. Both UCA (3-0) and KSU (3-0) are undefeated in their all-time series versus APSU and JSU, respectively
- Both Kennesaw State and Jacksonville State are coming off victories last week as the Owls and Gamecocks will meet for the first time as conference rivals. KSU has claimed the previous three matchups in the series and this will be just the second time for the pair to square off in Jacksonville. The two teams feature Top 25 ranked rushing attacks led by a pair of talented quarterbacks in Zion Webb (JSU) and Jonathan Murphy (KSU).
- Six Different Big Sky Teams Own FBS Wins in Last Two Years -- The Big Sky has had great success over the FBS in the past two seasons, as the league has posted six wins coming from six different teams. Sacramento State’s 41-10 victory over Colorado State is the latest FBS win, as the Hornets trounced the Mountain West foe this past Saturday.
- Big Sky Owns 14-5 Non-Conf. Record Against FCS Foes -- The Big Sky has built a 14-5 non-conference record against FCS foes this season, with perfect marks against the Pioneer Football League (4-0), WAC (3-0) and Ohio Valley (1-0).
- Three Quarterbacks Rank in Conference Top 3 for Rush TDs -- Quarterbacks Sean Chambers (Montana State), Asher O’Hara (Sacramento State) and Lucas Johnson (Montana) rank in the Top 3 for the conference for rushing touchdowns. The trio also ranks highly for the category nationally, with the nine rushing touchdowns for Chambers tied for first in the FCS. O’Hara’s six rushing scores are tied for fifth in the country, while Johnson’s four rushing TDs are tied for 19th in the nation.
- The Big South Conference season begins in earnest this Saturday with first-year member Bryant at preseason favorite North Carolina A&T. Campbell, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb and Robert Morris will open Big South play against each other next Saturday. Bryant will play its inaugural Big South game this weekend, and is 14-8 all-time in conference openers, including 7-6 during its NEC run from 2009-21. North Carolina A&T is 1-0 in its opening Big South game, as the Aggies defeated Robert Morris last year in their first-ever Big South contest.
- Big South preseason favorite North Carolina A&T will look to continue a long-standing conference tradition by attempting to become the 18th consecutive preseason favorite to win its Big South opener. The current streak is the longest in league history, as the preseason Big South favorite has started 1-0 in the conference standings 20 times overall since the league’s opening season of 2002. The lone preseason favorite to lose its Big South opener was Gardner-Webb in 2004.
- Charleston Southern QB Isaiah Bess connected on a 97-yard touchdown pass play to Vinson Davis last Saturday against Furman, the longest pass completion in Big South history. The old mark was 95 yards, which was set by Hampton against Howard just over a year ago on Sept. 18, 2021. The 97-yard record-setting pass is the second-longest play from scrimmage in the conference record book, as the top mark is a 99-yard TD run (also set during the 2021 season).
- CLASH OF TOP 25 TEAMS HIGHLIGHTS WEEK 5 SLATE: There are four conference games on the Week 5 slate, highlighted by the only matchup nationally between two Top 25 teams as #17 Richmond visits #23 Elon. Sixth-ranked Delaware, which is one of only six FCS teams off to a 4-0 start, hosts Towson, #14 Villanova travels to Maine and Stony Brook entertains #18 William & Mary. In non-league play, Monmouth takes a two-game win streak to Lehigh, Rhode Island meets Brown for the Governor's Cup, and New Hampshire heads to FBS member Western Michigan.
- QUALITY QUARTERBACKS: CAA Football has featured some of the best quarterback play in FCS this season. The league has six of the top 16 QB's in FCS in pass efficiency (VU's Connor Watkins, EU's Matthew McKay, W&M's Darius Wilson, UA's Reese Poffenbarger, UD's Nolan Henderson and UR's Reece Udinski) and five of the top 19 in passing yards (Udinski, Henderson, Poffenbarger, McKay and MU's Tony Muskett). Udinski also leads the nation in completion percentage (78.6%) and Henderson is 4th in TD passes (14).
- GETTING IT DONE ON THE GROUND: Six of the top 20 rushers in FCS play in the CAA. MU's Jaden Shirden leads the nation at 166.0 ypg, UA's Todd Sibley is 9th (110.2 ypg), EU's Jalen Hampton is 11th (109.3 ypg), UNH's Dylan Laube is 14th (105.8 ypg), W&M's Bronson Yoder is 16th (104.0 ypg) and VU's Jalen Jackson is 19th (97.7 ypg). Last week alone five backs topped the 100-yard mark, including 211 yards from Shirden.
- The Ivy League football weekend slate kicks off with the first of its six-game linear package ESPN. Penn and Dartmouth will square off on ESPNU on Friday at 7 p.m. Princeton and Columbia, both 2-0, will face each other in the other league contest on Saturday. There will be four non-conference matchups, highlighted by Harvard’s clash with in-state rival No. 10 Holy Cross.
- The league has enjoyed non-conference success over the past several years. Since 2010, Ivies collectively own a mark of 168-108 (.609) against non-league opponents. This year, Ivies are 10-2 against non-league opponents. Last season, all eight schools had a combined record of 17-7. Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton each went 3-0 in their non-conference slate. The Tigers have claimed 15 straight non-league games.
- The top four teams in the nation in rushing defense are all Ivies: Penn (1st, 22.0 ypg), Columbia (2nd, 27.5), Princeton (3rd, 36.5), Harvard (4th, 41.5). Additionally, Cornell and Dartmouth rank fourth and sixth respectively in the category.
- Even with Hurricane Ian posing a significant threat to Florida and several other southeastern states, Week 5 of the 2022 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) football season will feature a full slate of six games – including a Thursday night affair.
- This in-state showdown between the defending MEAC champion South Carolina State Bulldogs and the South Carolina Gamecocks has been moved to Thursday night due to Hurricane Ian. South Carolina leads the all-time series 2-0, even though these two teams have not met since 2009 – when the Gamecocks won 38-14. The first-ever meeting came in 2007, when South Carolina won 38-3.
- The North Carolina Central Eagles just keep winning after this past Saturday’s 59-14 defeat of Virginia University of Lynchburg, a game in which NCCU recorded its highest single-game point total since 2016 and eight different Eagles found the end zone. NCCU will hit the road again on Saturday, heading to Buies Creek for an in-state showdown against Campbell out of the Big South. The game has been moved up from 6 p.m. to 12 noon due to the potential effects of Hurricane Ian.
- In the Metrics -- Nine MVFC teams rank in the Top 25 of the Sagarin football ratings, which includes five of the Top 9. The same nine MVFC schools rank in the Top 33 of the Massey FCS computer rankings. Notably, eight MVFC programs rank in the Top 19 of Massey’s Strength of Schedule ratings. The MVFC is the top-rated FCS league in the Sagarin, followed by the Big Sky, ASUN, and Southern.
- Open Season -- North Dakota beat UNI on Sept. 10, 2022. It’s the earliest start for an MVFC game since Sept. 11, 2010 (#13 UNI hosted and beat #21 NDSU, 16-9). Illinois State, Indiana State, and Youngstown State open this week. The Missouri Valley Football Conference is celebrating its 38th anniversary this fall. NDSU has an active winning streak in MVFC season-opening games of 12 wins, including the 2022 opener at South Dakota. Notably, Southern Illinois and Missouri State played the league’s first conference game 9/7/85.
- Ranked vs. Ranked -- Two league games on Sept. 24 featured two ranked MVFC programs. Missouri State (4) hosted South Dakota State (2), while North Dakota (19) played at Southern Illinois (24) on Saturday, marking the 212th and 213th time two ranked MVFC teams played one another. Following those games, the home team is 123-89 and the higher-ranked team is 132-81 in the previous meetings. (Ranking listed is the higher in either the Stats Perform or AFCA poll; the numbers also include one neutral site game.)
- With Northeast Conference (NEC) action taking a hiatus in Week 4, three of the five teams that took the gridiron on Saturday came away with non-conference victories. Saint Francis U and Merrimack scored road wins, defeating Norfolk State and Delaware State, respectively, while Sacred Heart stormed back from an 18-point deficit to defeat two-time Ivy League champion Dartmouth in overtime in its home opener.
- Two-time defending NEC champion Sacred Heart snapped what was the longest non-conference winning streak in the FCS on Saturday when it came from behind to defeat Dartmouth in overtime by a 38-31 final. Senior running back Malik Grant scored each of the Pioneers’ final three touchdowns, crossing the goal line with 2:07 left in the final quarter to help tie the game before running it in from two yards out for the eventual game-winning score in the extra session.
- For the second time in as many weeks, the NEC landed a StatsPerform Fed Ex Ground FCS National Player of the Week. One week after Saint Francis U freshman running back Makai Jackson was tabbed the organization’s Rookie of the Week (Sept. 19), LIU sophomore kicker Michael Coney was pegged the Special Teams Player of the Week (Sept. 26). Coney tied a NEC record with five field goals (5) Saturday against Bryant and converted on three fourth-quarter attempts from 30, 41 and 28 yards to help the Sharks take their first lead of the game.
- All eight NEC teams will be in action during Week 5, which features a trio of conference games. Duquesne is set to visit Stonehill in the Skyhawks’ first-ever NEC contest and first game against a Division I opponent this season in a matchup that will be broadcast on ESPN3 at noon. Other league games include Central Connecticut at Saint Francis U (12 pm) and LIU at Merrimack (1 pm). In non-conference action, Sacred Heart plays host to Norfolk State (1 pm), while Wagner heads to FBS opponent Syracuse (5 pm).
- UT Martin's Zak Wallace had a 97-yard touchdown in the Skyhawk’s win over Lindenwood on September 26. The run is tied for the longest by a Division I (FBS or FCS) player this season. Wallace finished the game with 204 rushing yards, making him one of two OVC players with a 200-yard rushing game this season (TSU's Devon Starling is the other). The only FCS conferences to have two different players with 200-yard rushing games this season are the CAA and SWAC.
- Eastern Illinois opened OVC play with a 35-21 win over Murray State, the first win for head coach Chris Wilkerson at his alma mater. In the game the Panthers Elijawah Tolbert had a pair of interceptions and now has three picks on the season, which ranks him fifth nationally (0.8/game). Tolbert is one of three OVC players with multiple interceptions in a game this season (UT Martin’s Shaun Lewis and Murray State’s Quinaz Turner are the others).
- Southeast Missouri debuted at No. 24 in the Stats Perform Poll this week. After a season-opening loss at FBS foe Iowa State, the Redhawks have wins over nationally-ranked Southern Illinois (MVFC), Nicholls (Southland) and Central Arkansas (ASUN) in consecutive weeks. This marks the first time the team has been ranked since coming in at No. 16 on March 1, 2021.
- Bucknell Sr. S Brent Jackson, Fordham Gr. LB Ryan Greenhagen, Georgetown Gr. OL Mac Hollensteiner and Holy Cross Gr. RB Peter Oliver were named semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy by the National Football Foundation (NFF), awarded to college football’s premier scholar-athlete. Jackson, a senior finance major, earned academic All-League honors in 2021. Greenhagen received his bachelor’s degree in business administration in May and is working on his master’s degree. Hollensteiner earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in government in May and is working on his master’s in Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. Oliver, the defending Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and Spanish. He was a Campbell Trophy semifinalist in 2021.
- HOLY CROSS AND FORDHAM REMAIN IN AFCA FCS COACHES POLL; CRUSADERS NO. 10 IN STATS PERFORM POLL
Three-time defending champion Holy Cross climbed two spots in the FCS Coaches Poll to rank No. 11 while moving up to No. 10 in the Stats Perform FCS Poll after a 35-10 win over Colgate to open its League schedule. Chesney and the Crusaders were picked 18th in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll and 16th in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25. Fordham fell to FBS opponent Ohio University 59-52 and slipped two spots to No. 20 in the FCS Coaches Poll. The Rams are receiving votes in the FCS Coaches Poll for the fourth-straight week. This is the third-straight week with two ranked teams in the Patriot League during the regular season. Prior to this season, the last time two League teams were ranked at the same time was Sept. 4, 2017, when Lehigh was No. 19 and Colgate checked in at No. 25 in the FCS Coaches Poll.
- FORDHAM’S FOTIS KOKOSIOULIS NAMED FEDEX GROUND FCS NATIONAL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Fordham Sr. WR Fotis Kokosioulis was named the FedEx Ground FCS National Offensive Player of the Week by Stats Perform on Monday after his record-setting performance in the Rams’ 59-52 loss at Ohio University. Kokosioulis broke a 31-year-old Patriot League record with 320 receiving yards, surpassing the 319-yard performance by Lehigh’s Jason Cristino against Lafayette in 1991. The senior wideout also tied the Patriot League single-game record with four touchdown receptions, a record he shares with 10 players, most recently Lehigh’s Troy Pelletier in 2017.
- STETSON’S ENSLEY, VALPARAISO’s KAPLAN EARN FEDEX WEEKLY HONORS -- Stetson’s Ja’Veon Ensley was named the FedEx Ground FCS National Defensive Player of the Week and Valparaiso’s Mason Kaplan earned FedEx Ground FCS National Freshman of the Week honors, presented by Stats Perform, Sept. 26, following Week 4 action. Ensley had a breakout day, punctuated by a pick-six, in Stetson’s 38-26 PFL victory against Morehead State. He led Stetson with eight tackles (four solo), 1.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, a pass breakup, and a blocked punt. Kaplan was responsible for three touchdowns in Valparaiso’s 28-21 PFL victory against San Diego. He completed 4-of-6 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns and ran 12 times for 44 yards and a touchdown.
- FIVE PFL ATHLETES NAMED CAMPBELL TROPHY SEMIFINALISTS -- The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced Wednesday the 156 semifinalists for the 2022 William V. Campbell Trophy®, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award. The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 26, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2022 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. Five PFL student-athletes were among the 37 FCS semifinalists: Davidson’s Bradyn Oakley, Dayton’s Jake Chisholm, Marist’s Mike Arrington, St. Thomas’ Seth Bickett, Stetson’s Ethan Hull.
- PFL’S 30TH CAMPAIGN -- The 2022 season marks the 30th year for the Pioneer Football League – the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The league will feature 11 teams – tied for most in league history – each playing an eight-game schedule to determine the league champion and recipient of the automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA FCS Championship.
- A full slate of Southern Conference games is on the schedule Saturday for the first time this season, highlighted by Mercer visiting Wofford in the Ingles SoCon Game of the Week on select Nexstar affiliates. Additionally, Chattanooga at ETSU is being highlighted as one of the games of the week on Friday’s FCS ALL IN show and has been moved up to a 3 p.m. start due to expected inclement weather due to Hurricane Ian.
- Five of the SoCon’s nine squads are either ranked or receiving votes in the latest national polls. Chattanooga is ranked No. 10 in the AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 and No. 12 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25. Mercer is No. 13 in both polls, while Samford is ranked No. 19 in the coaches’ poll and No. 16 in the Stats Perform poll. Furman and ETSU are receiving votes in both rankings.
- Mercer, enjoying its highest national ranking ever, is clicking on offense. Quarterback Fred Payton ranks sixth in the FCS in pass efficiency (171.2) and seventh in passing touchdowns (11), while Devron Harper and Ty James are tied for third with five receiving TDs apiece. When the offense does stall, Mercer can turn to Trey Turk, who ranks third in the FCS with 46.0 yards per punt.
- Wofford came up just shy in its bid for its first win of the season last week, scoring the game’s final 13 points but running out of time to complete the comeback in a 24-22 setback at Kennesaw State. Terrier quarterback Jimmy Weirick threw for a program-record 358 yards, eclipsing a mark that had stood since 1969, and completed a program-record 25 passes, breaking a record that was set in 1951.
- The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) proudly announced today that five scholar-athletes from the Southland Conference are among the 156 semifinalists for the 2022 William V. Campbell Trophy®, college football's premier scholar-athlete award. Representing the Southland on the semifinalist list are HCU's Brennan Young, Lamar's Luke Wallis, Nicholls' Glen Thurmond, Northwestern State's Kaleb Fletcher, and Texas A&M-Commerce's Michael Noble.
- The Southland Conference is represented by UIW and Southeastern in the top 25 of both the Stats Perform FCS Poll and the American Football Coaches Association Poll after the fourth week of action in the 2022 season.
- Southeastern defeated UIW 41-35 in last weekend’s season opener, scoring a walkoff touchdown on the last play of the game by Southland Offensive Player of the Week CJ Turner.
- UIW fell to 11th in the Stats Perform poll and 12th in the AFCA poll after the loss. The Cardinals are now 3-1 on the season overall and 0-1 in Southland play, and will host McNeese for a 6 p.m. kickoff on ESPN3 Saturday.
- The Southwestern Athletic Conference named Jackson State’s Shedeur Sanders, Alcorn State’s Jarveon Howard, Florida A&M’s Isaiah Major, and Bethune-Cookman’s Darnell Deas its SWAC Football Players of the Week for their exceptional performances during games played this past week of competition.
- Jackson State moved up two spots to No. 9 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 – their first top-10 ranking in the national media poll in 25 years, and the first by a SWAC program since Grambling State was No. 8 at the end of the 2002 season.
- Jackson State currently leads the NCAA (FCS) in third down conversion percentage (.193) for defense while ranking second in scoring offensively (47.5 ppg).
- SOUTHERN UTAH WINS WAC DEBUT AGAINST RIVAL UTAH TECH -- Southern Utah raced into the win column in its first start as a member of the WAC, defeating rival Utah Tech 31-17 in the opening conference game of the 2022 season on Sept. 24 in Cedar City, The Thunderbirds gained 449 yards of total offense against the Trailblazers after opening up a 24-10 lead at halftime. Quarterback Justin Miller paced Southern Utah with 352 yards through the air and two touchdowns, throwing both scoring tosses in the opening half. Isaiah Wooden led all players with five receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown in the victory for the Thunderbirds. Kobe Tracy threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns for Utah Tech, and Quali Conley gained 112 yards rushing on just 14 carries for the Trailblazers.
- KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM WARD LEAD SUU TO VICTORY -- Safety Rodrick Ward made his presence felt in the Southern Utah secondary late in the win against Utah Tech to earn conference defensive player of the week honors, registering two key takeaways for the Thunderbird defense to preserve the conference and rivalry victory. On the opening Utah Tech possession of the fourth quarter, Ward gathered in an interception and returned the ball deep into Trailblazer territory 90 seconds into the frame. With Southern Utah ahead 31-17 with just under five minutes to play, Ward picked the ball once more and rumbled 41 yards to stall another Utah Tech rally attempt.
- TARLETON WINS SECOND STRAIGHT WITH OFFENSIVE BARRAGE AT NORTH ALABAMA Tarleton rolled offensively in a 43-28 performance at North Alabama on Sept. 24, racking up 586 yards of total offense and 30 first downs. WAC Offensive Player of the Week Beau Allen completed 18-of-29 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns, tossing two each half in the win for Tarleton. Allen also gained 32 key rushing yards for the Texans to supplement the 161 yards on the ground from Derrel Kelley III. Jaden Smith shined for Tarleton with five catches for 173 yards which included touchdowns that covered 30 and 86 yards in the victory.