Top 10 Preview
No. 3 Montana State, No. 4 Sam Houston battle FBS foes
North Dakota State plays its home opener against Ferris State after an opening-week victory at Kansas State. Ferris State will be playing its first game of the season.
NDSU has won 14 consecutive home openers, beginning in 1999 with a 55-35 victory against Ferris State, the only previous meeting between the two schools.
The Ferris State game was scheduled in June as a replacement for Montana State, the No. 3-ranked team in the FCS this week, which bought out of its contract in February. This is North Dakota State's fifth game against a non-Division I opponent since beginning Division I play in 2004.
North Dakota State was named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America. NDSU is just the second FCS team to be recognized.
Left tackle Billy Turner was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week after he graded out at 96 percent with 10 knockdowns in the win against Kansas State.
Strong safety Colten Heagle was named the MVFC Defensive Player of the Week with seven solo tackles including two stops for loss.
Ferris State returns 17 starters from a team that went 7-4 last year and boasts All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honorees Jason Vander Laan (quarterback), Jake Lampman (wide receiver), Carlin Landingham (offensive lineman), Adam Bennett (offensive lineman) and Corey Stone (defensive lineman).
Following a win at FBS Oregon State, Eastern Washington plays its home opener against Division II Western Oregon. The game will mark the season opener for Western Oregon.
The two schools have played four times since 2000, with Eastern Washington winning all four.
The Eagles have won 12 games since 2010 when trailing or tied in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams earned a variety of honors after finishing with a school-record 518 yards of total offense in the victory against Oregon State, scoring the winning points with a 2-yard run with 18 seconds to play.
Western Oregon enters 2013 returning 14 starters from last year's squad that finished 6-5. The Wolves return seven All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference players as wide receiver Tyrell Williams and offensive linemen Marcus Cuellar and Alex Jones look to lead the Western Oregon offensive attack. A pair of quarterbacks should see time at the position in 2013 as Ryan Bergman and Trey Shimabukuro return for the Wolves.
Defensively, Western Oregon is led by returning GNAC Defensive Lineman of the Year Gustave Benthin, who led the league in tackles for losses with 12 for 47 yards.
Montana State faces a Texas-sized task against explosive SMU, which dropped a 41-23 decision to Texas Tech last Friday in which it trailed just 20-16 entering the fourth quarter. The Mustangs outgained Tech 490-461 and didn’t turn the ball over. SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for 388 yards.
Montana State won its sixth consecutive home opener last week with a 42-24 victory against Monmouth, but has dropped five of its past six road openers.
Shawn Johnson’s 90-yard run was Montana State’s second-longest in history. DeNarius McGhee won his 31st game as the Bobcats’ starting quarterback. Cody Kirk rushed for two TDs to raise his career total to 31, school record.
Craig Ashworth became the first Bobcat defensive lineman to score a touchdown since current Chicago Bear Zach Minter in 2010.
When the Bearkats take the field against Texas A&M, the game will mark only the third time that a Sam Houston football team has gone up against a top-10 FBS opponent. The Aggies, who were No. 8 when they beat the Bearkats 47-28 last year, stand at No. 7 after their 52-31 victory against Rice.
Sam Houston is playing an FBS opponent for the 29th time since the Bearkats moved up to the FCS level in 1986. All 29 games have been road contests with Sam Houston winning three. The victories were againstLouisiana-Lafayette in 1999, Louisiana-Monroe in 2001 and New Mexico in 2012.
Led by quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Aggies field one of the nation’s top offenses. Manziel is the only player in FBS history to generate 5,000 plus total yards while rushing for more than 1,000 yards in one season.
Since A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin’s arrival, Texas A&M has posted 40 400-plus total offense yardage outputs in 53 total games.
Central Arkansas has one victory over an FBS team, 28-7 against Western Kentucky in 2009, and a couple of close calls with Hawaii, Arkansas State and Lousiana Tech. The Bears also led Ole Miss at halftime last year before falling.
Central Arkansas is coming off a 58-7 victory against Incarnate Word in its season opener. The Bears rolled up 537 yards of total offense and scored on their first five possessions. Freshman receiver Jatavious Wilson scored three times on two touchdown receptions and a 93-yard kickoff return.
Colorado, a year after finishing 1-11, looks to be much improved this season with the return of a top receiver and running back and a new coaching staff. The Buffaloes beat in-state rival Colorada State 41-27 last week. Colorado had 509 yards of offense, with 400 passing yards.
The altitude in Boulder is 5,430 feet above sea level, considerably higher than the 312 feet at which the Bears are accustomed.
With its 33-18 victory at Connecticut last week, Towson has won five consecutive games, tied for the second-longest streak in the FCS to North Dakota State’s 10 consecutive wins.
The Tigers will be facing Holy Cross for the eighth time but first since 2003 when Towson won 30-13. The Tigers hold a 4-3 series lead and the home team has won five of the seven games.
Towson was led by running backs Terrance West and Sterlin Phifer in the win at UConn. Both West and Phifer scored two touchdowns.
Defensively, linebacker Telvion Clark led the Tigers with a career-high 13 tackles, including one of five sacks the team had.
Holy Cross is coming off a 17-16 loss to Bryant in its opener. Steven Elder completed 23 of 41 attempts for 309 yards and a touchdown.
South Dakota State and North Dakota will be meeting for the 85th time – UND leads the series 46-33-5 – but just for the second time as Division I opponents. The Jackrabbits won that game, 21-0, in 2010.
Both teams are coming off home victories in the opening week of action. The Jackrabbits handled Butler 55-14, while North Dakota drubbed Valparaiso 69-10.
For SDSU, Austin Sumner finished 22 of 32 passing for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Zach Zenner rushed for 117 yards yards and two TDs.
North Dakota has both a kickoff return and punt return for a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman quarterbacks Ryan Bartels and Joe Mollberg combined to lead UND to a school record for points in the Division I era.
New Hampshire is 11-3 in season-opening games under 15th-year head coach Sean McDonnell. The Wildcats have posted wins in eight of their past 10 opening games and four of their past five.
New Hampshire's lone opening-game defeat in the past five years came at the hands of another Mid-American Conference team, Toledo.
When UNH and Central Michigan met for the first time in 2003, McDonnell was in his fifth year as head coach. The Wildcats' 40-33 loss to the Chippewas dropped his career record to 19-26 (.422). Since that game, the Wildcats have rattled off a record of 85-40 (.680).
UNH owns the nation's longest current streaks for weeks ranked in The Sports Network Top 25 (128) and Division I playoff berths (nine). From 2004-09, the Wildcats collected an unprecedented five consecutive wins over FBS opponents. UNH is 5-5 all time against FBS teams.
Andy Vailas won the preseason competition with Sean Goldrich for the starting quarterback role, but McDonnell said Goldrich will see action.
The Chippewas open at home against an FCS opponent for the fourth consecutive season and are 3-0 under head coach Dan Enos against FCS opponents.
Starting quarterback Cody Kater (collarbone) and running back Zurlon Tipton (ankle) were lost indefinitely after suffering injuries in the first quarter of the season-opening loss at Michigan. Alex Niznak will get the nod at quarterback and Saylor Lavallii will get the majority of carries in the run game.
Cal Poly will play Fresno State for the 44th time, but just the second time in the past 28 years.
Cal Poly opened its fifth season under head coach Tim Walsh with a 38-16 victory over San Diego last Saturday. Slotback Kristaan Ivory rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns, quarterback Vince Moraga completed 15 of 21 passes for 226 yards in his first start as a Mustang and wide receiver Willie Tucker caught a career-high seven passes for 113 yards.
The Mustang defense was led by linebacker Xavier Ramos with a career-high 13 tackles and a fumble recovery and defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz with two of Cal Poly's four sacks.
Fresno State threw 73 passes, but needed overtime to defeat Rutgers 52-51. Derek Carr completed 52 of his 73 attempts for 456 yards and five touchdowns, including the game-winner to Greg Watson in OT. Davante Adams and Josh Harper each had 14 catches while Isaiah Burse had 13 for the Bulldogs, who rushed for just 81 yards.