Top FCS games to watch in Week 4
North Dakota State stole most of the talk across the FCS last week, and for good reason, with its game-winning field goal that topped No. 13 Iowa in Iowa City for one of the greatest FCS-over-FBS upsets in college football history.
But there were plenty of other interesting storylines like Stony Brook’s 42-14 dismantling of No. 2 Richmond and a plethora of top plays to watch on loop.
So what’s to come in Week 4? The Bison and some other top FCS teams will be out of action this weekend, there’s no shortage of high-impact matchups.
Here’s the best of the bunch to look out for:
Chattanooga vs. Samford – Saturday at 2 p.m.
Chattanooga comes into Saturday with a 3-0 record and a No. 3 spot in the Coaches poll, but Samford (2-0) will be its first real challenge of the young season.
The Mocs scraped by against Furman last week 21-14, and, while the offense failed to produce at the same pace as it did in their previous two victories, Chattanooga’s defense held Furman to just 281 yards of total offense. Those 14 points allowed last Saturday were the only points allowed by the Mocs this season.
The Mocs will have to put together a similar defensive effort against a Samford team that scored 77 and 35 points in its two wins. Quarterback Devlin Hodges has led Samford’s offensive charge with eight touchdowns through two games.
There’s been a lot of early movement within the FCS top five through the first three weeks. Chattanooga has a chance this Saturday to solidify its place among the top three.
Harvard vs. Brown – Saturday at 2 p.m.
Ivy League football returned last weekend but Week 4 presents the first conference matchup of the season.
Coming off a 9-1 season last year and its third-straight Ivy League title, the Crimson entered 2016 as favorites once again. They got off to a resounding start last week with a 51-21 win over Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, Brown (1-0) received one first place vote in this year’s Ivy League preseason poll and finds itself in a crowded second tier of the conference that’s looking to dethrone Harvard.
Both teams relied on a balanced offensive effort in Week 1 as Harvard threw for 290 yards and rushed for 244 and Brown threw for 224 yards (on an efficient 16-of-29 with no turnovers) and ran for 131.
In a conference game like this, the turnover battle may be key. Crimson quarterback Joseph Viviano III was picked off three times last week, and the Brown defense will be hungry to take advantage of any errant throws.
Montana vs. Cal Poly – Saturday at 3 p.m.
No. 6 Montana had a bye week to celebrate its upset over Northern Iowa two weeks ago, but the Grizzlies return to action in Week 4 against a Cal Poly team right on the fringe of reaching the top 25.
Montana relied on their defense against UNI in a 20-14 win where they did not reach the end zone after halftime. Montana only accounted for 206 offensive yards and one touchdown, as the other came on an 81-yard punt return.
MORE: Latest FCS Coaches poll
The Grizzlies will need to find more consistency on offense against a Mustang team that put up 38 points in each of its past two games. Cal Poly is averaging nearly 400 rushing yards per game and have four different rushers who’ve reached the end zone already through three games.
The Mustangs received 37 votes in the most recent coaches poll, placing them two spots away from reaching the top 25. If Montana’s offense struggles in keeping pace with Cal Poly’s attack, the Mustangs will creep closer toward one of those coveted spots.
Richmond vs. Colgate – Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
If it wasn’t for North Dakota State’s win over Iowa, Richmond’s uninspiring loss would’ve been the biggest takeaway last week.
In a season that started with a win over the ACC’s Virginia and a rise to No. 2, the Spiders fell flat against Stony Brook last Saturday. Richmond only mustered two first half touchdowns and its defense couldn’t stop the Sea Wolves’ 221-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance.
Richmond will have to bounce back quickly in this week’s lone top 25 matchup against No. 21 Colgate, who enjoyed a 55-13 thrashing of Yale last week. Colgate quarterback Jake Melville threw for 315 yards and five touchdowns, and six players combined for 243 rushing yards.
Richmond’s defense stepped up in its first two successful weeks and will have to do so again in Week 4.
Can the Spiders rebound with a statement win, or will they drop to .500 after a promising start?