football-fcs flag | September 20, 2013

Preview: EIU goes for another FBS win

Delaware State at No. 1 North Dakota State, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Three weeks removed from one of the biggest wins in program history against defending Big 12 champion Kansas State, ESPN College GameDay is in Fargo, N.D., this week as North Dakota State (2-0) returns from an open week to host Delaware State (0-2).

This is the first meeting between North Dakota State and Delaware State. NDSU is 1-0 against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a 35-9 home win against Morgan State in 2010.

North Dakota State did not play last week after beating Division II Ferris State 56-10 on Sept. 7. The Bison opened up a 35-0 lead in the second quarter and rolled for 293 yards of total offense before halftime. Quarterback Brock Jensen went 19 of 23 passing for a career-high 259 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback Andrew Grothmann scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 4-yard pass from Jensen and wide receiver Zach Vraa caught four passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

North Dakota State is Delaware State’s highest ranked opponent since the Hornets played host to No. 1 Southern Illinois in 2004.

DSU is coming of a 49-7 loss to No. 4 Towson last week. For the second consecutive week, Delaware State tallied more passing yards than the opponent but failed to muster much of a running game. DSU netted just 15 yards on the ground.

Hornets quarterback Corey Murphy connected on 26 of 53 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. Murphy has 536 yards passing in the first two games this season.

No. 2 Montana State at Stephen F. Austin, 7 p.m. ET Saturday

Montana State's defense receives a stern test, facing an explosive Stephen F. Austin offense averaging 516.7 yards and 34.3 points per game. The Lumberjacks (1-2) responded to a pair of road losses last weekend, hammering McMurry 50-13. Quarterback Brady Attaway averages 287.7 passing yards a game, with receiver Mike Brooks accounting for 112.3 of those yards each time out.

Montana State (2-1) is one of three FCS teams, with Western Illinois and Bucknell, bereft of turnovers through Week 3.

Montana State and Stephen F. Austin are playing for the second consecutive year, with Montana State winning 43-35 in 2012. The Bobcats lead the overall series 4-1.

Jake Bleskin's 305 passing yards in Montana State’s victory against Colorado Mesa was the second-most by a new Bobcat starter.

No. 3 Towson at North Carolina Central, 2 p.m. ET Saturday

Towson (3-0) took two trips to New England to start the season. After a rare home game, they are back on the road to play their final non-conference contest against North Carolina Central (2-1).

Last week, N.C. Central dominated Charlotte on the road, 40-13. Although the Eagles allowed 533 total yards and 31 first downs, they forced the 49ers into seven turnovers.

N.C. Central has turned the ball over six times in its first three games and forced nine turnovers. The Eagles average 156.3 rushing yards per game and allow 189.7 yards per contest. They average 178 yards passing per game and give up 267.3 yards per game.

Towson quarterback Peter Athens (6-1, 220) has completed 46 of 67 for 633 yards with four TDs and one pick this year. He’s also ran for 37 yards and two touchdowns. Towson running back Terrance West has 359 yards rushing with nine TDs in three games while averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

N.C. Central QB Jordan Reid has thrown for 518 yards (49-of-88) with two touchdowns and one interception. He has 78 yards rushing and one TD. N.C. Central running back Idreis Augustus has rushed for 206 yards on 39 carries (5.3 yards per carry). He had two touchdowns against Charlotte.

No. 4 Eastern Washington



Incarnate Word at No. 5 Sam Houston State, 7 p.m. ET Saturday

Sam Houston State (2-1) plays host to future Southland Conference football opponent Incarnate Word (2-1) in the second contest of a four-game homestand at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium. The Bearkats and UIW are meeting for the second time. Sam Houston won 54-7 last year in Huntsville, Texas, in the 2012 season opener.

The Kats own a 16-game home winning streak at Bowers Stadium, the longest in school history and, currently, in the FCS.

Sam Houston State ranks as the top rushing and scoring offense in FCS competition this season. The Bearkats are averaging 309.7 yards and 52.3 points per game.

Sam Houston State running back Timothy Flanders needs 132 more yards to become the all-time leading rusher in Southland Conference history.

No. 6 South Dakota State at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday

South Dakota State closes the non-conference portion of its schedule Saturday afternoon, traveling to Nebraska for a regional matchup against the Cornhuskers.

The Jackrabbits enter the game with a 3-0 record following a 34-26 come-from-behind victory against Southeastern Louisiana. SDSU will be in search of its first 4-0 start since 2000, when the Jackrabbits played at the Division II level.

Nebraska is 2-1 following a 41-21 home loss last week to UCLA. The loss knocked the Cornhuskers out of the FBS rankings.

SDSU is plus-11 in turnover margin this season, forcing three lost fumbles and intercepting nine passes. The Jackrabbits have yet to turn the ball over on offense this season -- their lone turnover came on an onside kick last week against Southeastern Louisiana. The Jackrabbits’ nine interceptions have come from eight different players.

Zach Zenner again leads the FCS in rushing (540 yards, 180.0 yards per game), and is tied for the lead in scoring with 54 points. Zenner led all of college football in 2012 with 2,044 rushing yards (157.2 ypg).

Saturday’s game marks the third meeting between South Dakota State and Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have won the two previous meetings -- both of which have been played in Lincoln, Neb.

No. 7 Northern Iowa at Northern Colorado, 3:35 p.m. ET Saturday

Northern Iowa will hit the road this week as they prepare to take on Northern Colorado.  The game is the first on the Panthers’ schedule that is out of the state of Iowa.

Northern Colorado holds the lead in the two-game series between the Panthers and the Bears with the last meeting coming in 1926. Of the 47 ties in UNI history, one of them came at the hands of the Bears in 1925.

The Panthers have the chance to go 3-0 this season. UNI hasn’t started a season 3-0 since 2007. David Johnson is just two touchdowns shy of cracking the top-five at UNI in career touchdowns. He currently has 35 and with two more would tie for fifth place with Adam Benge, who rushed for 36 touchdowns from 1998-2002. Johnson has scored in 11 consecutive games.

UNI has already passed their number of sacks from the 2012 season with the 12 they have accumulated against Iowa State and Drake. The Panthers notched six against Iowa State and six against Drake. UNI finished the 2012 season with 11 sacks.

Northern Colorado (1-2) leads the Big Sky Conference with five interceptions through three games.

The Bears are also the least penalized team in the league, averaging just 28.3 penalty yards per game.

Gardner-Webb at No. 8 Wofford, 7 p.m. ET Saturday

Wofford will play host to Gardner-Webb on Saturday night. It marks the second home game in a stretch of four in a row for the Terriers.

The Terriers hold a 16-6 lead in the series, including the past six games. Last year Wofford won

Last weekend the Terriers picked up a 30-20 win against Georgia Southern, a team that is in transition to FBS. Donovan Johnson ran for 150 yards. With the win Wofford is 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Conference.

Gardner-Webb had four field goals in a 12-10 home win against ranked Richmond.

After the first three weeks of play, the Wofford rushing offense is 12th in the nation. Gardner-Webb is 19th in rushing defense. Gardner-Webb held Richmond to just one yard rushing in the first half, and just 10 yards on 20 carries for the game.

No. 9 New Hampshire


No.  10 Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois, 7 p.m. ET Saturday

Eastern Illinois is looking to start a season 4-0 for the first time since 2009 and only the seventh time in school history when it plays at Northern Illinois. EIU is also looking to become only the third FCS program to win two games against FBS schools in the same season. The Panthers beat San Diego State in the season opener.

EIU racked up a school record 739 yards of total offense during the 57-24 victory against Illinois State. EIU led 44-10 at halftime as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for six of his school record seven touchdowns in the opening half.

Garoppolo became the EIU career leader in pass completions during the game as he passed current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on the list. Garoppolo now has 763 career completions. Garoppolo also passed Payton on the EIU career touchdown passes list moving into second place with 79. Garoppolo trails current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on both the EIU and Ohio Valley Conference career lists. Romo had 85 touchdown passes in his career.

Northern Illinois is 2-0 following road wins at Iowa and Idaho. This will be the Huskies’ home opener celebrating last year's Orange Bowl team. Quarterback Jordan Lynch is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy this season.

This will be the 36th meeting between Eastern Illinois and Northern Illinois in a series that dates to 1902. NIU leads the all-time series 24-10-1. Eastern Illinois won the last meeting between the two schools in 1998 as the Panthers picked up one of the program’s five wins against FBS schools with a 24-10 victory.




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