10 takeaways from FCS Week 2
- ACC to decide on football in late July
- Big Ten to only play conference games
- Virginia: 2 tested positive for COVID-19
- Ivy League suspends all fall sports
- Pandemic tabled Harbaugh, Michigan talks
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - It's getting late early for some FCS teams and others feel like they're just getting started on something big.
We're liking the twists and turns already.
Opening statements have been made, it's time for teams to settle into the season because conference play is coming soon and the margin for error will only get smaller.
Here are 10 takeaways from Week 2 of the FCS season:
- With back-to-back come-from-behind road wins at Western Kentucky and Austin Peay, No. 20 (and rising) Central Arkansas fronts the list of early season surprise teams. Also better than advertised to date are Villanova and Youngstown State, the two Week Zero winners which are both 2-0, and last week's poll busters, South Carolina State (2-0) and Southeastern Louisiana (1-0).
- FCS teams are struggling to sneak up on FBS opponents this season, posting a surprisingly poor 2-66 record past the halfway mark of meetings. But for a Southern Illinois program that went 2-9 last season, its 45-20 blowout of UMass was one of the season's better stories. The Salukis ran off 35 straight points in their first FBS win since 2007. Undersized quarterback Stone Labanowitz came up big with four touchdown passes and redshirt freshman running back Javon Williams Jr. had 171 yards from scrimmage and three TDs. The FBS win gives the Missouri Valley Football Conference at least one in every season during the 2010s - the only conference to claim that.
- What do Arizona Christian, Central Washington, East Stroudsburg, Indiana Wesleyan, Lane, Lindenwood, Louisiana College, Kentucky State, Mars Hill, Midwestern State, Mississippi College, Oklahoma Panhandle State, Shaw, Shorter, Simon Fraser, Tarleton State, Texas Wesleyan, Truman State, Tuskegee, Virginia-Lynchburg, Virginia Union, Virginia State and Walsh have in common? They offer nothing to the playoff resumes of FCS programs. You would think the FCS could do better than fill almost 30 percent of the Week 2 schedule with sub-Division I opponents. OK, maybe not because FCS teams lost to six of the 23 teams.
- Jacksonville State rebounded nicely from its season-opening blowout loss to Southeastern Louisiana by defeating nonconference rival Chattanooga 41-20. The No. 18 Gamecocks, down 12 spots from the preseason, got a big performance from junior quarterback Zerrick Cooper, who passed for 344 yards and accounted for four touchdowns. Up next for the Gamecocks is a monster home game against No. 4 Eastern Washington. The Eagles totaled a school-record 769 offensive yards in a 59-31 win over Lindenwood. Senior wide receiver Dre' Sonte Dorton broke Cooper Kupp's school with 289 receiving yards, catching 15 passes and three TDs after entering the game with 17 receptions in his career.
- New Hampshire's first game without 21st-year coach Sean McDonnell, who is on a medical leave of absence, was a mistake-filled, 13-10 loss at Holy Cross. Crusaders safety Joe Lang recovered a fumble in the UNH end zone with 1:56 left to provide the game-winning touchdown. It was a particularly bad loss for the Wildcats, who being led by offensive coordinator Ricky Santos on an interim basis. They surely won't claim the CAA's automatic playoff bid, so playing only 11 games hurts against at-large candidates that have 12-game schedules. The 'Cats, who struggled at quarterback and committed three turnovers in the loss, had a streak of 14 consecutive playoff appearances end last season. Up next is FIU.
- North Dakota State and "machine" are synonymous. The No. 1 Bison, who have captured two straight FCS titles and a record seven of the last eight, rolled past rival North Dakota 38-7 - keeping an opponent to 10 or fewer points for the 13th time in a 23-game winning streak that is the fifth-longest in FCS history. Quarterback Trey Lance was the offensive star again and the defense continued to unveil new standouts, including strong safety Michael Tutsie with seven tackles and two interceptions.
- The STATS FCS Game of the Week was headed that way until No. 13 Montana State scored touchdowns on each of its four third-quarter possessions and pulled away to a 38-17 win over No. 12 Southeast Missouri, which was coming off an 18-point win over Southern Illinois. Bobcats two-way player Troy Andersen opened the scoring with a 38-yard touchdown run and later scored from 2 yards out, while the defense harassed SEMO quarterback Daniel Santacaterina with five sacks and one interception.
- Fifth-ranked UC Davis ended the longest home winning streak in the FCS at 21, but it was by a matter of inches as the Aggies held off San Diego, 38-35. Cornerback Devon King dislodged the ball from USD running back Emilio Martinez as he tried to extend it over the UC Davis goal line and it rolled out of bounds for a touchback with 2 seconds remaining. Whew!
- Dayton had never beaten a higher-ranked team before its 42-35 win at No. 14 Indiana State, which should tumble out of the national rankings. Sophomore quarterback Jack Cook accounted for four touchdowns -- two rushing and two passing -- and Sean Prophit broke a 35-35 tie with a 13-yard run with 1:57 left in the game. Zach Rumpke sealed the win with an interception at the Dayton 20 with 18 seconds to play.
- It doesn't appear the new STATS FCS Top 25 on Monday will have significant change as results went as expected. It will be interesting to see how the Ivy League is perceived after it kicks off in two weeks. Preseason favorite Yale, defending champ Princeton and Dartmouth (17-3 the last two seasons) are all candidates for the rankings, but there isn't room for all of them.
Updated September 13, 2019