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Stan Becton | | October 10, 2021

FCS surprises: Two top-3 teams lose as 9 ranked teams fall in a crazy week

See the game-winning TD drive that sealed Sam Houston's first FCS championship

We knew Week 6 of FCS football would be wild heading into the weekend, as it featured five games featuring two ranked teams. Yet, Saturday surprised as nine ranked teams lost, including two from the top-3 teams.

Here’s what you need to know from a crazy weekend of games.

There were upsets throughout the CAA

The CAA is in shambles after two big upsets. No. 2 James Madison fell to No. 9 Villanova 28-27 and No. 10 Delaware fell to No. 20 Rhode Island 22-15. Villanova scored the final 12 points of its game in the third quarter to get the win. Rhode Island remains one of seven unbeaten teams in the FCS after taking down the Blue Hens.

James Madison and Delaware were the top two favorites, respectively, in the CAA preseason poll. Now Rhode Island, predicted to finish sixth, leads the conference after six weeks.

RANKINGS: Check out the latest FCS rankings

No. 3 South Dakota State loses another heartbreaker

Entering today, South Dakota State’s last loss came in the final minute of the national championship game. This week, the Jackrabbits fell to No. 7 Southern Illinois 42-41 in overtime. After Southern Illinois struck first in overtime to go up seven points, South Dakota State answered with a touchdown of its own. The Jackrabbits went for two to win the game and failed, giving the Salukis the victory. The game was exciting throughout, including a remarkable fumble recovery for a touchdown.

North Dakota State’s defense flexes its muscle 

In North Dakota State’s second straight game against a ranked opponent, it emerged victoriously. The Bison defeated No. 12 Northern Iowa 34-20, getting five sacks on the Panthers. A third-quarter sack-fumble from DE Will Mostaert set up an easy scoring drive that put North Dakota State 17 points, the largest lead of the game. 

LEADERS: See every FCS statistical leader

Ranked teams fall to unranked opponents

Four ranked teams fell to unranked opponents this week. 

No. 8 UC Davis lost to Idaho State 27-17. Idaho State jumped out to an early 17-0 lead and never looked back. UC Davis threw three interceptions in the loss.

No. 15 North Dakota suffered back-to-back losses, falling to South Dakota. In the 20-13 defeat, North Dakota’s offense struggled, gaining just 50 yards on the ground. South Dakota picked up a key MVFC win and now sits third in the conference standings.

No. 16 Missouri State lost 41-33 to Youngstown State. It was a tie game at 20-20 with 4:38 remaining in the 4th quarter, then came the fireworks. Two RB Jaleel McLaughlin runs of 22 and 60 yards, respectively, gave Youngstown State a 34-20 lead with 2:08 to go. Missouri State answered with a touchdown, but the responding 73-yard touchdown run from QB Demeatric Crenshaw put this game out of reach for good.

No. 19 Chattanooga lost in overtime to VMI 37-34. The Mocs led by one point entering the fourth quarter, but the quarter would see five scores that put VMI in front 34-31 with 41 seconds left. As time expired, Chattanooga K Aaron Sears drilled a 39-yard field goal sending the game into overtime. Unfortunately for the Mocs, that kick proved to be the last made field goal for Chattanooga during the afternoon; Sears missed a 37-yard kick in the extra period. That would be all VMI needed to win the game.

SURPRISE: 6 FCS teams that can make a surprise run to a conference championship

Princeton wins the battle for New Jersey

No. 24 Princeton defeated No. 25 Monmouth 31-28 behind a 17-point fourth quarter. The Tigers trailed 21-6 with 7:28 remaining in the 3rd quarter before three unanswered rushing touchdowns from RB Collin Eaddy gave Princeton the lead in the fourth quarter. However, when Princeton was trying to run out the clock, All-Conference Monmouth S Anthony Budd intercepted a pass from Princeton QB Cole Smith, returning in 22 yards for a game-tying pick-6 with 2:53 left in the fourth quarter. Luckily for Smith, he drove the Tigers back down the field into field goal range, where freshman K Jefferey Sexton made a 35-yard game-winning field goal. 

Jackson State routs Alabama A&M

In arguably the SWAC’s biggest game, Jackson State dominated Alabama A&M 61-15. The Jackson State defense proved why it’s one of the best in the FCS early and often, scoring the first points of the game as FCS sack leader LB James Houston returned his own sack-fumble 67 yards for a score. Adding to the effort, the Tigers sacked Bulldog QB Aqeel Glass ten times en route to the win. 

More: Keep up with scores and updates from the HBCU football season

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