The list of FCS unbeatens has shrunk to four: Fordham (8-0), Coastal Carolina (7-0), North Dakota State (7-0) and Harvard (5-0).
• Running back Shakir Bell of Indiana State, a Walter Payton Award watch list candidate, is done for the year after suffering a foot injury in last week’s game at Illinois State. He finished his career with 4,214 career yards and 28 TDs. Bell needed 122 more yards and four TDs to set school career records.
• Saturday is the 200th game at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, where Montana owns a 175-24 record since opening in 1986. Montana has drawn 103,624 fans in four home games to rank second in the FCS in attendance.
|KEEP YOUR EYES ON THESE FCS GAMES THIS WEEK|
|• No. 2 Eastern Illinois at No. 21 Tennessee State|
|• No. 4 Eastern Washington at No. 10 Montana|
|• Samford at No. 11 Wofford|
|• South Carolina State at No. 13 Bethune-Cookman|
|• No. 14 Maine at No. 17 Villanova|
|• No. 18 UNI at No. 24 South Dakota State|
Which side of the ball will triumph
The No. 1-ranked FCS offense will play the No. 2-ranked defense in a battle for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Illinois, ranked No. 2 in both national polls, has the No. 1 offense, averaging 595.6 yards and 48.0 points per game while Tennessee State, ranked No. 21 in the latest polls, has the No. 2 defense. EIU (6-1, 3-0 OVC) has only a loss to undefeated FBS foe Northern Illinois, while Tennessee State (7-1, 4-0) has won seven consecutive games since a season-opening loss to nationally ranked Bethune-Cookman.
Hall of Famers
The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced the induction of seven new members this week with five inductees having ties to the Southwestern Athletic Conference and two having ties to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Class of 2014 includes six players and one coach. The SWAC legends include Robert Brazile (Jackson State), John Stallworth (Alabama A&M), Michael Strahan (Texas Southern), Willie Totten (Mississippi Valley State) and Marino Casem (Alcorn State). The MEAC legends include former Morgan State RB Leroy Kelly and North Carolina Central guard Doug Wilkerson.
Numbers in the FCS
• Presbyterian’s Jeremiah McKie is the first player in Big South history with a kickoff return touchdown and punt return touchdown in the same season. He returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown this past Saturday against VMI, and had a 50-yard punt return TD in Week 2 vs. Brevard.
• Coastal Carolina running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is second nationally with 17 rushing touchdowns and has 18 overall this season. His rushing total is tied for second-most in a single season in Big South history, and he is two TDs away from becoming the third Big South player with 20 in a campaign.
• No. 4 Eastern Washington and No. 10 Montana square off in Missoula, Mont., on Saturday, marking the 12th time in 18 years both teams have been ranked heading into the meeting. It’s the first time both have been ranked in the top 10.
• Bethune-Cookman (3-0) and South Carolina State (4-0), the MEAC’s final two unbeaten teams in league play, will face off this week in Daytona Beach, Fla. Bethune-Cookman extended its conference win streak to 16 games after a 48-21 win against Savannah State last week. South Carolina State has won five consecutive games.
• The South Carolina State and Bethune-Cookman matchup will pit two of the FCS’ top defensive teams against one another. South Carolina State currently ranks third while Bethune-Cookman ranks fifth in total defense.
• The No. 18 UNI-No. 24 South Dakota State game marks the third time this season that two ranked Missouri Valley Football teams have played one another. It has happened 102 times previously in the league’s 28-plus year history.
• Duquesne (4-2, 2-0) and Sacred Heart (7-1, 2-1) are the top two teams in the Northeast Conference standings heading into Week 9, and the similarities don’t stop there. Both teams start rookie quarterbacks, and both of those signal callers are on the Jerry Rice Award watch list. Having started all six games for the Dukes, Dillon Buechel leads the NEC in passing yards (1,550) and completion percentage (62.3). Sacred Heart’s RJ Noel, who has been responsible for 138 points (fourth in the FCS) this season, has thrown a league-best 18 touchdown passes to only three interceptions.
• Colgate has eight consecutive Patriot League victories. The 28-24 triumph at Holy Cross last Saturday was just the second of those contests to be decided by single digits, and took a fourth-quarter comeback capped by Gavin McCarney’s TD to Brian Lalli with 59 seconds to play. Colgate has scored at least 28 points in all seven of its league games since 2012, and the Raiders are averaging 43.1 points during the win streak.
• Butler’s defense has been one of the nation’s best at generating takeaways this season, ranking second nationally with 23 takeaways this season. The Bulldogs rank only behind Sacred Heart (28) in the category and have seven more than any other Pioneer Football League team.
• Dayton enters this weekend with an NCAA record streak of 415 games without suffering a shutout. The Flyers last were shut out in 1976.
• Samford visits Wofford on Saturday in a matchup between two teams that are unbeaten in Southern Conference play. The Terriers are 4-0 in the SoCon, while Samford enters at 3-0 in conference games.
• The Southland Conference is home to the top return men in the FCS. Southeastern Louisiana’s Xavier Roberson is the national leader, averaging 37.8 yards per kick return. He is one of five players in the FCS who have scored two touchdowns on kick returns. The Southland has three players in the top 25 of the FCS stats in kickoff returns. Sam Houston State’s Torrance Williams is averaging 21.2 yards per punt return to lead the FCS.
• The top two scoring offenses in the Ivy League will meet Saturday at Harvard Stadium. Princeton leads the Ivy League and ranks third in the FCS with 42.4 points per game, while Harvard ranks second in the Ivy League and 13th nationally with 38.6 points per game. The winner of Saturday’s showdown will either share or stand alone in first place in the Ivy League. Both Princeton and Harvard currently share first place with reigning Ivy League champion Penn, which plays host to Yale on Saturday.
• After his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season and two scores in Towson’s win against Albany, junior Terrance West is the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. He also boasts an FCS-best 19 touchdowns in 2013.
• Maine senior Marcus Wasilewski surpassed the 4,000-yard passing milestone for his career as the Black Bears remained unbeaten in league play with a win against William & Mary. Rhode Island senior Bob Bentsen needs just nine yards through the air to become the fourth player in program history to reach 4,000 passing yards.
• Northern Arizona’s Zach Bauman rushed for a career-high 266 yards and scored three TDs vs. Idaho State. He is No. 5 on the Big Sky’s all-time list with 4,560 yards.
• Montana State QB DeNarius McGhee threw for a season-high 313 yards in last week’s 34-16 win against Weber State. He became the third player in Big Sky history to surpass 10,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.
• South Carolina State’s Tyler McDonald is two catches shy of breaking the school’s all-time record of 135.
• After his 163-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 8, Bryant’s Jordan Harris is 62 yards away from setting the NEC’s all-time receiving record. The Walter Payton Award candidate, who has 699 receiving yards in seven games this season, is the FCS active career leader (3,403).
• Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo is the OVC career leader in total offense (10,741) and has 10,841 passing yards — 19th in FCS history. With 31 TD passes this season, he is three away from tying the OVC single-season record held by Tony Romo, who set that mark in 2002.
• Injured Colgate senior Gavin McCarney — Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and a Walter Payton Award candidate — returned to the lineup Saturday, and recorded 312 yards and three touchdowns. With five more passing yards, he will join Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards (2006-09) and Morehead State’s David Dinkins (1997-00) as the only FCS players with at least 5,000 pass yards and 2,500 rush yards.