The Spreadsheet: Here you go. (Excel 2003, 281kb)

Saturday’s FCS Games of the Week:
I really had a hard time deciding between these three, so let’s just go all out on some HBCU action, shall we?

In Baltimore, Sacred Heart scored a touchdown on their first possession, but once Morgan State answered early in the second quarter with a field goal nobody ever led by more than four points and every score but one resulted in a lead change.  Midway through the second, Joe Rankin ran back a 72-yard pick six to put Morgan up 10-7; fifteen minutes later the Pioneers found the end zone on a one-yard Sean Bell run to make it 14-10.  The Bears responded after a pair of punts with a 70-yard Travis Davidson TD run to go up 17-14; Sacred Heart came back five minutes into the final quarter with a 24-yard TD pass from Tim Little to Rickey Moore. With 3:36 to go, Morgan State again claimed the lead with a one-yard Davidson run, but the Pioneers tied it at 24 on a Chris Rogers field goal with 49 seconds left.  Justin Sexton then picked off Seth Higgins on Morgan State’s first play after the kickoff and rambled back across midfield, but with one second left Rogers tried a 45-yarder which was short, and they went to overtime.

Neither team could get off the deck in overtime.  In the first round, Morgan State missed a field goal attempt, but saved themselves when Kenneth Ridley picked off Little at the three.  The teams traded field goals in the second overtime, neither being able to get into the end zone.  In the third round, Gordan Hill forced a Robert Council fumble at the one to keep Morgan State from scoring, but when Rogers attempted to win the game for the Pioneers his kick was blocked.  In the fourth overtime, Rogers missed wide left, and after Morgan State’s counter-drive stalled at the Sacred Heart three, Ervin Gonzalez finally ended the game with a 20-yard field goal, giving Morgan State a 27-24 win.

In Shreveport, Grambling seemed in control when they entered the fourth quarter with a 21-9 lead over Alcorn State.  Six minutes later, Alcorn cut that lead to five when QB Darius Smith scored from the three; with just 1:33 to go, Arnold Walker bulled in from the four to put Alcorn up 22-21.  They went for two and failed, but Grambling wasn’t able to get back into field goal range and Alcorn State handed new coach Jay Hopson his first victory.

Down in Houston, Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M had themselves a shootout.  After Prairie View tied the score at 41 with just 1:16 to go, Robert Hersh hit a 47-yarder on the game’s final play to give Texas Southern the win.  Prairie View had led 20-7 after the first quarter, but TSU clawed their way back into things.  It was TSU’s first win over Prairie View in five years, and the second year in a row the game was decided on a last-second field goal.

The Only True FCS-on-FCS Upset of the Weekend:
Furman’s usually a playoff threat, while Samford usually isn’t.  So when Cameron Yaw drilled a 37-yarder with only 37 seconds to go to give Samford a 24-21 home win over the Paladins, things immediately got interesting in the middle tier of the SoCon standings.

Georgia Southern’s vaunted option is already clicking on all cylinders, as they ran for 557 yards and destroyed the Jacksonville Dolphins 58-0.  Ezayi Youyoute had 164 yards on 11 carries with three touchdowns including a 79-yard romp; Dominique Swope also scored three times, gaining 104 yards on 13 carries.  Jerick McKinnon added 71 yards and a score.  Youyoute nearly outgained the entire Jacksonville offense; the Dolphins only amassed 178 yards on the day.

Rise Up:
Youngstown State dominated every facet of the game Saturday in handing FBS Pittsburgh a 31-17 beating.  The Penguins never trailed, and did what FCS programs almost never do against their bigger opponents: pulled away late.  Youngstown turned a 14-10 halftime lead into a two-touchdown win.  This was the first-ever win by Youngstown State over an FBS opponent; it was Pitt’s first loss to an FCS foe.

On the other side of the coin, a team all too familiar with losing to FCS squads was kind enough to hand Tennessee-Martin a season-opening win; the Skyhawks knocked off Memphis 20-17 on a game-winning 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.  That field goal followed a tying touchdown by Memphis with only 52 seconds to play; the Tiger defense held on UT-Martin’s follow-up drive, but when the Skyhawks punted Keiwone Malone fumbled and UTM recovered at the Memphis 27.

Such a Memphis way to lose, really.

That brings the opening-weekend scalp count to four; not a huge haul, but the strong showing of “almosts” gives some hope for the future.  Those almosts include Liberty’s 20-17 loss at Wake Forest, Indiana State’s 24-17 loss at Indiana, and the most funniest stupidest one of all.  William & Mary capitalized on three Maryland turnovers in the first quarter, although they only managed two field goals for their effort.  Still, the Tribe held a 6-0 lead for almost forty minutes, and kept Maryland off the scoreboard altogether until Justus Pickett managed to get into the end zone on a 6-yard TD run with 9:52 to go.  Brad Craddock’s extra point finally gave Maryland the lead, and William & Mary was unable to recover the advantage.

It’s Best That We Just Not Discuss It (But We Will):
Three FCS teams suffered the misfortune of losing to lower-level competition, and a fourth barely escaped.  Valparaiso fell 36-34 to D-II Saint Joseph’s (IN), and Campbell was defeated 31-20 by almost-D-II Shorter.  Both of those are excusable, though, since the winners actually have scholarship players while Valpo and Campbell are members of the non-scholarship PFL.  Not excusable: Howard’s skin-of-the-teeth escape from D-II Morehouse, a 30-29 win in a back-and-forth contest.  Twice in the final 2:17, Howard had to score to regain the lead thanks to a 72-yard TD pass on Morehouse’s only offensive play between the two drives.

And then there was Mississippi Valley State, who had the misfortune to lose 20-19 to Concordia (AL), a team which isn’t even a member of either the NCAA or NAIA.  Is there anything more you even need to know there?

The New Top 25:
#1 Sam Houston State idle
– The Bearkats surveyed the landscape in preparation for their opener at home Saturday against D-II (moving up to FCS next year) Incarnate Word.  Should pose no difficulty.
at #2 North Dakota State 52, Robert Morris (PA) 0
– The defending champions pick up right where they left off.  This week, it’s a trip to Colorado State; the Rams are decent, but don’t rule out the Bison.
at #3 Georgia Southern 58, Jacksonville 0
– Woof.  Jacksonville’s one of the BEST teams in the PFL, so… yeah.  Georgia Southern visits The Citadel Saturday, and the Bulldogs best get ready for a whuppin’.
at #4 Montana State 33, Chadron State [D-II] 6
– All went as planned.  Bobcats travel to Drake for an easy one this week.
at #5 James Madison 55, Saint Francis (PA) 7
– After an easy romp, the Dukes will prepare for another; Alcorn State visits on Saturday.
#6 Youngstown State 31, at Pittsburgh [FBS] 17
– I’d give them a vote in the FCS poll on principle.  This week, the Penguins host Valparaiso, and will move to 2-0.
at #7 Old Dominion 57, Duquesne 23
– The Monarchs can still score, but can they stop top-level FCS offenses?  They trailed 20-10 at halftime, then won the second half 47-3.  They visit Hampton this week, and we still won’t have an answer.
at Wisconsin [FBS] 26, #8 Northern Iowa 21
– It was as close as you can get to a moral victory.  The Panthers host D-II Central State Saturday, where they’ll work out their frustrations.
#9 Eastern Washington 20, at Idaho [FBS] 3 (THU)
– The Eagles will try to make it two black line upsets in a row, traveling to Washington State Saturday.
#10 Wofford 34, at Gardner-Webb 7
– Easy-peasy when Eric Breitenstein runs for 219 yards.  The Terriers get D-II Lincoln (PA) this week, and look to have a clear road to October at this point.
at East Carolina [FBS] 35, #11 Appalachian State 13
– The Mountaineers should have looked a little better here, so they need an eye kept on them.  This week, they’ll host Montana, and we’ll see what’s what.
at #12 Montana 35, South Dakota 24
– The beleaguered Grizzlies held on against a game pack of Coyotes.  This week, they probably won’t; they have to visit Appalachian State.
at Kent State [FBS] 41, #13 Towson 21 (THU)
– Towson has the week off before hosting William & Mary on 9/15.
#14 New Hampshire 38, at Holy Cross 17
– A workmanlike debut.  Next up is a trip to FBS Minnesota, and a win isn’t even out of the question here.
at #15 Delaware 41, West Chester [D-II] 21
– The rivalry game ended as it tends to, with the Blue Hens comfortably on top.  They’ll host Delaware State Saturday, and should walk out 2-0.
at #16 Lehigh 27, Monmouth (NJ) 17
– The relatively low margin of victory here may be a concern.  This week, the Mountain Hawks visit Central Connecticut State, who are coming off…
at #17 Stony Brook 49, Central Connecticut State 17
– The Seawolves romped; they’ll do so again Saturday as they host Pace, a D-II team that’s not very competitive even in D-II.
at #18 Illinois State 56, Dayton 14
– The Redbirds rolled over what’s usually a passably decent Flyers squad.  Let’s see how they do on the road at Eastern Michigan Saturday, shall we?
at #19 Stephen F. Austin 49, Southwestern Oklahoma State [D-II] 14
– No surprises here.  The ‘Jacks visit FBS Southern Methodist this week, and shouldn’t pull an upset.
#20 Maine idle
– The Black Bears visit FCS Boston College Saturday, and are a good candidate for an upset.
at Purdue [FBS] 48, #21 Eastern Kentucky 6
– The only instance all week where a ranked FCS team got taken behind the woodshed by an FBS opponent.  The Colonels will try and recover at home against Morehead State this week.
#22 McNeese State 27, at Middle Tennessee State [FBS] 21
– Nice road upset for the Cowboys, who host D-II McMurry on Saturday.
at Indiana [FBS] 24, #23 Indiana State 17
– They may have hoped for a better result against an atrocious Hoosier squad, but the Sycamores can’t be ashamed.  Saturday, they host D-II Quincy, and should roll.
at Arkansas [FBS] 49, #24 Jacksonville State 24
– It wasn’t a bad performance by the Gamecocks, considering the opponent.  They’ll host Tennessee-Chattanooga this week.
at Mississippi [FBS] 49, #25 Central Arkansas 27
– The Bears gave Ole Miss all they could handle until depth answered the bell and allowed the Rebs to pull away.  UCA travels to Murray State this week, and should handle the task.
XX Harvard idle
– The Crimson don’t get started until they host San Diego on 9/15, and fell out of the poll through no fault of their own as a result of McNeese’s entrance.

There weren’t many games this week that we haven’t already covered other than FCS teams getting blown out by FBS opponents, but here are the few notable results.
at Delaware State 17, Virginia Military 10
at Tennessee State 17, Florida A&M 14

Lesser Blowouts:
at The Citadel 49, Charleston Southern 14

Defense Is an Optional Package:
at North Carolina Central 54, Fayetteville State [D-II] 31
at Eastern Illinois 49, Southern Illinois 28

No Offense, But… No Offense:
at Alabama A&M 7, Tuskegee [D-II] 6