Jack of All Trades: Holy Cross senior Jack Maliska earned second team All-Patriot League honors as a defensive tackle during the 2011 season, and was expected to once again be a force for the defense this year. But due to a number of injuries along the offensive line, Maliska has been needed by the Crusaders on both sides of the ball. During last week’s game against Brown, he started at defensive tackle, taking 30 total snaps and making one tackle. Maliska was also on the field for 36 plays as an offensive guard against the Bears, and helped lead the way for two of Holy Cross’ touchdown drives. In addition, he saw action in six plays on special teams, and was on the field for 72 total snaps throughout the game. This Saturday against Dartmouth, Maliska is expected to start on both sides of the ball. Last year, Maliska totaled 35 tackles for the Crusaders, with 27 solo stops, two sacks and four tackles for loss. During the course of his collegiate career, Maliska now has 49 tackles, two sacks and six tackles for loss.
The Bite is Back: A week after knocking off No. 3 Georgia Southern at home, The Citadel handled No. 8 Appalachian State 52-28 in Boone, N.C., to give the Bulldogs back-to-back victories against top 10 teams for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs are 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Conference for the first time since winning their second and most recent league championship in 1992. Meanwhile, Appalachian State is 22-1 in its last 23 games that immediately followed a same-season loss. Since the third week of the 2003 season, the Mountaineers have only lost consecutive games in the same season once — setbacks at East Carolina (29-24) and against McNeese State (40-35) to open the 2009 campaign.
Ohio Valley Clash: The top two teams from the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll will meet in the conference opener for both schools on Saturday. Preseason favorite No. 23 Eastern Kentucky will host Jacksonville State (tabbed No. 2 in the OVC preseason poll) on Saturday night. In the last 10 years (since JSU joined the league) the two teams are the winningest in the OVC, with EKU having won 55 conference games and JSU having won 54. Last year JSU led EKU 48-24 with 7:25 to play in the game before EKU stormed back to win 52-48 (which ultimately cost JSU the out-right OVC Championship — instead the two teams shared the title with Tennessee Tech).
Back-to-Back-to-Back: Liberty is playing its third consecutive nationally-ranked opponent this weekend when the Flames host No. 13 Lehigh. It is the third time a Big South member is playing back-to-back-to-back top 25 opponents in one season.
Flying High in the Big Sky: Cal Poly became the fourth Big Sky Conference team to notch a victory against an FBS team this season, upsetting Wyoming 24-22 last Saturday in Laramie. There have been nine Football Championship Subdivision teams beat Football Bowl Subdivision teams this season. The Big Sky leads with four, followed by the Missouri Valley with three. The Southland and Ohio Valley also claim FBS upsets.
Like a Fox: Marist will be playing its fourth game in as many weeks when hosts Davidson on Saturday. To this point in the season, not one of Marist’s opponents has played the previous week. The Red Foxes’ first three games (at Bryant, Sept. 1; vs. Bucknell, Sept. 8; at Columbia, Sept. 15) were all against teams playing their season openers. This week’s opponent, Davidson, had a bye on Sept. 15.
QB Derby: Saturday could be a record-setting day for Drake quarterback Mike Piatkowski. The senior needs just 31 yards to become Drake’s all-time leader in career passing yards. He currently has 7,838 career yards and has thrown for 300 or more yards in back-to-back games. The opposing quarterback on Saturday — Morehead State senior Zach Lewis — has thrown for 8,203 career yards, the fourth-most in Pioneer Football League history, and the most among active FCS passers. Piatkowski ranks third. If you combined the career yardages of Saturday’s two quarterbacks, it would equal more than nine miles.
Wishing it was 1967: After posting a 3-0 record in non-conference play, Illinois State will open Missouri Valley Football Conference play against in-state rival Western Illinois (2-1) looking to move to 4-0 for the first time since 1967. That season, the Redbirds won their first six games before finishing with an 8-2 overall record.
Coaching ‘em Up: A rare occasion will occur in the Penn-Villanova game as both head coaches are members of the 200-win club — Al Bagnoli (222 wins) and Andy Talley (220 wins). This will be 45th such meeting in the history of college football and only 16th between FCS coaches. It will be just the third FCS matchup where both coaches have 220 or more career wins. The last time it occurred was in 2007 between Dayton’s Mike Kelly (245) and Albany’s Bob Ford (225).
They Call it the Streak: Lehigh holds the nation’s current longest regular season win streak at 12. The Mountain Hawks, who travel to Liberty on Saturday, have not lost in the regular season since a 48-41 overtime thriller against New Hampshire on Sept. 10, 2011.
Active FCS Regular Season Win Streaks (next opponent):
Blue Hen Picks: Delaware senior safety Tim Breaker has picked off at least one pass in all three games this season. He is the first Blue Hen player to intercept at least one pass in three consecutive games since Sidney Haugabrook in 2001. With another pick this week, he would become the first UD player to accomplish the feat in four games since Tyrone Jones did so during the course of two seasons in 1984 and 1985.
Game of the Week: Northern Iowa at Youngstown State. The eighth-ranked Panthers visit the third-ranked Penguins in a contest between the two highest ranked teams to meet this weekend. The Missouri Valley Football Conference match-up has been dominated by Northern Iowa as they have won 20 of the 26 meetings, including the last 11 meetings dating back to 2001. Last season, the Panthers narrowly escaped with a 21-17 victory against the Penguins.
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