FCS College Football Review: Takeaways from Week 1

Florida A&M and Jackson State are set to cap the first full weekend of the 2022 FCS college football season on Sunday.

Even the weekend game will have to work hard to keep up with the FCS excellence of the previous three days.

Upsets, often the lifeblood of FCS, stood out, including two wins over the FBS competition, on the big schedule over the extended Labor Day weekend.

Here are some takeaways from week 1:

William & Mary, Delaware Exclaim, ‘FC-yeah!’

CAA Football isn’t just the biggest FCS conference, it’s one of the best. After earning the first two FCS wins of the season against FBS opponents (William Mary beat Charlotte 41-24 and Delaware beat Navy 14-7), the CAA has 42 all-time wins over the top tier of the Division I and at least one of 10 different programs since 2013. Darius Wilson had 305 yards of total offense and two touchdown passes to fuel W&M, while Nolan Henderson threw for two touchdowns and linebacker Johnny Buchanan tied a school record with 23 tackles in UD coach Ryan Carty’s winning debut.

William & Mary’s season-opening victory, 41-24 at Charlotte, was their first over an FBS opponent since 2009. (William & Mary Athletics)

Jackrabbits drop physical affair in Iowa

One of the most exciting games didn’t even have a touchdown: There were two field goals and two deep in a 7-3 loss of No. 2 South Dakota State at Iowa. It was both physical and painful: SDSU managed just 120 yards in 57 plays (2.1 yards average) and Iowa 166 yards in 61 plays (2.7). Jackrabbits All-America linebacker Adam Bock had a game-high 13 tackles, but All-America tight end Tucker Kraft suffered an ankle injury on his only reception in the first quarter, and then he returned from a locker room visit walking around in one boot.

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Top-ranked bison on the march

The top-ranked state of North Dakota raised a 2021 FCS championship banner in its Fargodome collection before the season opener, then came out and overwhelmed Drake 56-14. Eight different Bison touchdowns scored, including a blocked field goal (Destin Talbert), a punt return (Jayden Price), and a scoop-and-score (Will Mostaert). The win was the Bison’s seventh straight in a season opener and 24th straight in a home opener.

North Dakota State defensive tackle Eli Mostaert (91) celebrates returning a 5-yard fumble for a touchdown in the Bison’s 56-14 season-opening win over Drake. (Photo by Zachary Lucy)

Stock up, Stock up

Stock up: After Western Carolina lost the first six games of coach Kerwin Bell’s first season last year, the Catamounts have won four of their last five games in the Southern Conference by averaging 43.2 points over that stretch, or 20 more on average than in the first. six games. They opened the 2022 campaign with a 52-38 victory at Charleston Southern as Carlos Davis passed for a school-record six TDs, all to different receivers, and 433 yards. The point total was the highest for the Catamounts in five years.

Stock Down: Kennesaw State ranked eighth in the preseason and had All-America quarterback Xavier Sheppard at the helm of the program’s acclaimed triple-op offense, but the return of only three defensive starters was evident in a 27-17 loss to Samford. Transfer quarterback Michael Hiers threw four touchdowns — two to Kendall Watson and Chandler Smith — to topple the Owls, who next visit Cincinnati and will likely fall to 0-2.

Mixed Results for Payton Prize Successors

Over the past year and a half, quarterbacks Cole Kelley of southeastern Louisiana (2020 season, played spring 2021) and Eric Barriere of eastern Washington (2021) have traded in the top two spots in the voting and each won a Walter Payton Award. . With both set to pursue professional careers, their successors opened the new season with mixed results. EWU won a 36-29 fight over Tennessee State as Gunner Talkington completed 29 of 46 passes for 348 yards and five touchdowns, adding 60 more yards on nine carries. Southeastern fell to Louisiana 24-7, and Cephus Johnson was 22-for-34 but only for 149 yards and an interception, adding 48 yards on 10 carries.

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New starts

Lafayette hasn’t finished with a winning record in a full season since 2009, but the Patriot League program opened the John Troxell era as coach with a 6-0 shutout of two-time defending Northeast Conference champion Sacred Heart. . Quarterback Ryan Schuster’s 18-yard touchdown run in the third quarter stood up, but not before the Leopards denied Sacred Heart on three straight plays from their 1-yard line in the closing seconds.

Houston Baptist put last year’s 0-11 season behind them with a 46-34 road victory over Northern Colorado. Justin Fomby threw for four touchdowns, and rookie running back Ismael Mahdi scored on a 74-yard screen pass and a 78-yard run.

Sweep in the treasure state

Third-ranked Montana and the No. 4 state of Montana beat out Louisiana’s Southland programs. San Diego State transfer Lucas Johnson had 284 yards of total offense and four TD passes as Montana shut out Northwestern State 47-0. With Montana State’s Isaiah Ifanse (3,461 career rushing yards) recovering from injury, running back Lane Sumner stepped in for 218 scrimmage yards (168 rushing, 50 receiving), and the Bobcats pulled away from McNeese. 40-17.

Montana went through the 2012-19 seasons without a shutout win, but has two in its last six games following a season opener, 47-0 shutout from Northwestern State. (Montana Athletics)

Richard Fuels NC Central Past Rival

With perhaps 45-0 and 54-0 losses in senior memories, North Carolina Central ended a four-game losing streak to North Carolina A&T 28-13 as the Aggie-Eagle Classic celebrated 100 years. of competition. NCCU quarterback Davius ​​Richard was outstanding with two touchdowns both in the air and on the ground. It’s about to get tougher for NC A&T on its next trip to the state of North Dakota and Duke.

News and Notes

Two players topped 200 rushing yards: Tennessee State’s Devon Starling had 207 against Eastern Washington and Youngstown State’s Jaleel McLaughlin had 203 and three TDs in a 31-14 win over Duquesne. … Dayton’s Rick Chamberlin earned his 100th career win when the Flyers outscored Robert Morris 22-20. … Jacksonville State is off to a 2-0 start to its final FCS season, with quarterback Zion Webb accounting for eight touchdowns in wins over 2021 FCS playoff qualifiers Stephen F. Austin and Davidson. By contrast, Sam Houston, headed to FBS, fell at Texas Tech 31-0, the 2020 national champion FCS’s first shutout loss since 2014 (56-0 to LSU). … Hampton held off Howard’s late charge 31-28 to extend his “Battle of the Real HU” winning streak to six. Christopher Zellous provided the opening touchdown for the Pirates on an 89-yard run. … Southern scored 42 points in the first quarter en route to an 86-0 win over NAIA Florida Memorial. … Two FCS programs fell in overtime to FBS opponents: Saint Francis (30-23 to Akron) and Bryant (38-37 to FIU).

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