Cross-country matchups part of Week 3 schedule

Princeton University football vs. Harvard, Princeton, NJ, October 22, 2016.

(STATS) – September is made for great intersectional games, and two cross-country matchups in Week 3 of the FCS season will help take it to another level.

With the entire schedule being playing Saturday, Eastern Washington will travel east to face Fordham and San Diego is doing the same against Princeton.

Eastern Washington (0-2), a semifinalist in last year’s FCS playoffs, is seeking its first win after opening with blowout losses to Texas Tech and North Dakota State. Its game should feature two top candidates for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, although Eastern quarterback Gage Gubrud is off to a slow start and Fordham running back Chase Edmonds came out of Saturday’s win at Central Connecticut State with a lower leg injury.

“All in all, our players fight and they will continue to fight,” said Eastern first-year coach Aaron Best. “We’ll look at the film closely and get better from it because there is no choice.”

As Ivy League teams get their usual later start to the season, 2016 co-champion Princeton won’t be easing its way into the schedule by facing defending Pioneer Football League champion San Diego.

Other key non-conference games are North Dakota at South Dakota and Northern Iowa at Southern Utah in the Big Sky/MVFC Challenge Series, Illinois State at Eastern Illinois, UT Martin at Chattanooga, New Hampshire at Holy Cross, Towson at Saint Francis, Duquesne at Dayton and McNeese at Alcorn State.

The best conference games will occur in the Southland, where Central Arkansas will host Southeastern Louisiana. They finished second and third, respectively, in last year’s standings.

The games between FCS and FBS programs continue to decrease with conference play beckoning, but there are 14 more matchups, including Samford-Georgia, Mercer-Auburn, Northern Colorado-Colorado, Bethune-Cookman-Florida Atlantic and Colgate-Buffalo.

Top-ranked James Madison will get a final tuneup before starting its CAA Football schedule, hosting Norfolk State.