There's only one ranked vs. ranked FCS game in Week 3, and it features a top-15 battle within the CAA when No. 10 Delaware visits No. 14 Rhode Island on Saturday afternoon. Find out everything you need to know below.
Week 3 FCS game of the week
Quarterback Nolan Henderson leads Delaware's offense. After missing time last year with an injury, Henderson is back healthy and has the Blue Hen offense rolling entering its first CAA matchup, especially with leading wide receiver Thyrick Pitts making plays. When not attacking through the air, Delaware's offense has a quartet of running backs, all capable of going off for a big day. However, against in-state rival Delaware State, the Blue Hens saw some struggles in pass protection, giving up multiple sacks. That could be an area of concern against an improved Rhode Island defense.
Delaware's defense features one of FCS football's long-time stars in safety Kedrick Whitehead. Whitehead has been an All-American for the majority of his career and is a leader on the Blue Hen defense. Whitehead's not alone in the back-seven, with all-conference linebacker Johnny Buchanan manning the middle of the defense. The duo is part of the reason Delaware is the sixth-best scoring defense in the FCS — a number that includes holding an FBS opponent to just seven points.
UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS win
Rhode Island's offense features a top-20 FCS quarterback entering Week 3 in Kasim Hill. He's the 15th-most efficient passer in the FCS. He and wide receiver Ed Lee have a connection that goes back to their days in high school at St. John's (D.C.), and it shows on the field to the tune of Lee's 11 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams have used a committee-style approach on the ground, but watch out for running back Marques DeShields after his big game last week.
Defensively, Rhode Island has allowed only one second half touchdown while scoring a safety. That's a net of five second half points in two games, a stat that reflects head coach Jim Fleming's defensive background. Linebacker A.J. Pena enters Week 3's matchup fresh off of earning CAA Rookie of the Week honors after getting six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in his last outing. As a team, the Rams have shown the ability to make plays in the backfield with 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks through two games, good for eighth- and second-best in the country.
One thing to watch for in this week's ranked Delaware vs. Rhode Island matchup is the Blue Hens' pass protection vs. the Rams' pass rush.— Stan Becton (@stan_becton) September 15, 2022
Delaware allowed 4 sacks (8 if you ask DSU) last week, while Rhode Island is 2nd in the #FCS in sacks
When Rhode Island hosts Delaware in Week 3's FCS game of the week, it has the potential to impact the CAA conference title race, despite it happening early in the season. The Rams and Blue Hens each have playoff aspirations come November, meaning FCS fans across the board are in for an early season treat when two of the best teams in the country meet.