Sept. 9, 2009

By Adam Caparell

It wasn’t just a weekend of close calls for the Davids of the college football world.

It was a weekend where some diminutive underdogs finished off their Goliaths while a few others came oh so close to orchestrating big surprises. 

Three FCS teams upset FBS squads over college football’s first week, while eight others nearly followed suit, and it started right off the bat Thursday night.

Villanova took out cross town foe Temple in the week’s first shocker. Then came victories from Richmond over Duke and William & Mary over Virginia Saturday as the CAA got the better of ACC not once, but twice.

Two other FCS powers, Appalachian State and Northern Iowa, narrowly avoided springing big upsets over well-regarded FBS schools. In Northern Iowa’s case, the only thing that prevented the monumental upset of Iowa was two straight blocked field goals – thanks to some strange game-ending circumstances – by the Hawkeyes. Appalachian State, without star quarterback Armanti Edwards, almost completed a furious comeback against East Carolina, only to fall five points short.

But for the likes of Richmond, Villanova and William & Mary still basking in the glow of their unexpected victories, the biggest test so far of the young season come this Saturday.

The question everyone is asking of the three ranked programs is how they come down from their Week 1 high to take care of business in Week 2.

“After the game was over we celebrated for a briefed moment, but then we started looking to next week’s opponent,” Richmond head coach Mike London said. “You guys don’t like it when we say we take it one game at a time, but you truly, truly have to do that and just go on from there.”

London will have his hands full trying to make sure the BMOC – Big Man On Campus – virus doesn’t spread throughout his team with an important matchup against Delaware looming Saturday afternoon on the road.

“Every game is an important game. I don’t think we’re going to have a letdown or anything like that,” London said. “Delaware is a rival. Richmond and Delaware have been in some battles in the past. That won’t change.”

While the Delaware game is infinitely more important in the grand scheme of things for Richmond as it kicks off CAA play with a South division foe, all anyone wants to talk about is the Spiders win over the Blue Devils.

“The win is significant because it’s a win,” London said. “And obviously it’s against an ACC opponent, that’s an up and coming team, or at least reportedly up and coming.”

But London is practically pleading that the media not make too much of the upset. He’s preaching to his team that no victory should outshine another. 

“It’s a win and it’s hard to win college football games,” London said.

Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, UMass, Southern Illinois, Stephen F. Austin and Weber State were the other six teams that made very serious upset bids only to fall short.

“Some great statements were made out there and we certainly wanted to be one of them,” UMass coach Kevin Morris said. “We had our chances to be part of that statement that was made by some other squads. They did a great job and there were some really exciting football games.”

Armanti’s Back: Edwards will be under center for Appalachian State when they meet No. 16 McNeese State Saturday.

The quarterback who was sidelined with a foot injury sustained over the summer in a lawn mowing accident, is good to go.

"I'm 100 percent," Edwards said Wednesday. "It's not like I'd be going out there if I was at 50 percent."

Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore has expressed his reservations about Edwards conditioning, but the Walter Payton Award winner believes the work he put in before the Aug. 6 injury and over last two weeks since he’s been cleared to practice will sustain him through four quarters.

Week 2’s Best Matchups:

No. 1 Richmond at Delaware – Sat., 3:30 PM ET
What do the Spiders have left in the tank after last weekend’s big upset over Duke?

No. 16 McNeese State at No. 2 Appalachian State – Sat., 3:30 PM ET
Armanti Edwards is back. But what kind of quarterback will the Mountaineers get?

No. 9 New Hampshire at Ball State – Sat., 7 PM ET
Another FCS-FBS matchup that could easily see the FCS emerge victorious