Jax State-Chattanooga, FBS matchups highlight Week 1 in FCS
(STATS) – The talent of Villanova quarterback John Robertson isn’t going to take Connecticut by surprise.
Pittsburgh knows it lost to Youngstown State in its last meeting and so does Iowa State about Northern Iowa.
No, FCS teams don’t beat FBS programs by catching them off-guard. They go out and earn deserving wins. Sometimes they’re upsets, and sometimes they’re actually not.
So FBS teams are well aware of what to expect from the FCS. And while it’s doubtful the FCS will beat the FBS 16 times as it did with a record-setting total in 2013, in this year’s 107 matchups, the eight wins of a year ago certainly seem reasonable.
Any time it happens, though, it pulsates the lower half of Division I college football.
On the first full weekend of the season, 48 FCS teams will take their best shot at an alleged big brother, including 11 schools in the STATS FCS Top 25.
Overall, FCS teams are involved in 91 games, led by No. 7 Jacksonville State and No. 8 Chattanooga in a battle of defending conference champions.
As if you couldn’t tell from last weekend’s Kickoff thriller, anticipation is high for the season ahead.
FCS GAME OF THE WEEK=
The Matchup: No. 7 Jacksonville State at No. 8 Chattanooga
The Time: Saturday, 6 p.m. Eastern
The Series: Chattanooga leads, 26-12 (most recent meeting: Jacksonville State won, 26-23, in OT at Chattanooga)
The Skinny: Jacksonville State is 7-2 against Chattanooga since their series resumed in 2004. Chattanooga nearly won last year’s game, scoring on a punt return on the final play of regulation, only to have the play nullified by a penalty. JSU then beat the Mocs in overtime. While Chattanooga handles itself quite well in the trenches, Jacksonville State, the defending Ohio Valley champion, has a trio of linemen on each side of the ball who earned all-conference preseason honors. The D-line is SEC-esque (6-foot-3, 286-pound average) with tackle Devaunte Sigler and ends LaMichael Fanning and Chris Landrum expected to get after Mocs All-America quarterback Jacob Huesman. The Gamecocks will use its deep run game (QB Eli Jenkins and RBs Troymaine Pope, Mile Jones and Josh Clemons) to set up the pass. QB Christian LeMay is effective coming off the bench in the explosive offense. Some transfers and players returning from injury will help defending Southern Conference champ Chattanooga overcome some key losses. But the Mocs go as Huesman goes. The two-time SoCon offensive player of the year is a true dual-threat with over 4,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his career. On defense, a shutdown secondary is among the best in the FCS, with free safety Lucas Webb coming off a six-interception season. Junior Henrique Ribeiro can be a difference maker as he’s 19-for-25 on career field goals.
The Prediction: This splendid opener feels as though it could be decided late again. Jacksonville State has one of its deeper squads, and that may pay off in the early September heat. Jacksonville State, 24-22.
WEEK 1 PICKS=
Last Week’s Record: 0-1 (.000)
Last Season’s Record: 645-193 (.770)
(All times Eastern, X-Predicted winner)
THURSDAY, SEPT. 3=
VMI at X-Ball State, 7 p.m.
Pikeville at X-Campbell, 7 p.m.
North Greenville at X-Charleston Southern, 7 p.m.
Valparaiso at X-No. 17 Eastern Kentucky, 7 p.m. – All-America running back Dy’Shawn Mobley hopes to get EKU headed toward its 22nd FCS playoff appearance.
Kentucky Wesleyan at X-Murray State, 7 p.m.
X-No. 19 Southeastern Louisiana at Northwestern State, 7 p.m. – With the Southland moving to a nine-game conference schedule, this is the first season opener between two of its conference teams since 1992.
Central Arkansas at X-Samford, 7 p.m.
Stony Brook at X-Toledo, 7 p.m.
Elon at X-Wake Forest, 7 p.m.
Eastern Illinois at X-Western Illinois, 7 p.m.
X-No. 4 Villanova at Connecticut, 7:30 p.m. – Beating an FBS opponent – although a former conference rival which Villanova leads, 7-4, in the series – would be a great way for Wildcats QB John Robertson to take aim on a second consecutive national offensive player of the year award.
X-Kennesaw State at East Tennessee State, 7:30 p.m.
Alcorn State at X-Georgia Tech, 7:30 p.m.
Southern Utah at X-Utah State, 9 p.m.
Fort Lewis at X-No. 11 Montana State, 9:05 p.m. – The Bobcats might outscore Fort Lewis coach John L. Smith’s age (66). Somehow the visiting Skyhawks beat Division II national champion Colorado State-Pueblo yet finished 3-8 last year.
Abilene Christian at X-Fresno State, 10 p.m.
UC Davis at X-Nevada, 10 p.m.
No. 9 New Hampshire at X-San Jose State, 10 p.m. – UNH’s 2014 national coach of the year Sean McDonnell is coaching his 200th career game.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 4=
No. 20 Fordham at X-Army West Point, 7 p.m. – The sun does come up even after a team loses 32 seniors. New Fordham quarterback Kevin Anderson’s nickname is "Sunshine."
X-Lehigh at Central Connecticut State, 7 p.m.
Jacksonville at X-Delaware, 7 p.m.
Rhode Island at X-Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Weber State at X-Oregon State, 8 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 5=
Kentucky Christian at X-Duquesne, noon
No. 2 Illinois State at X-Iowa, noon – Illinois State QB Tre Roberson started against the Hawkeyes in 2011 as a true freshman for Indiana, gaining 281 total yards with a touchdown pass.
No. 16 South Dakota State at X-Kansas, noon – The Jayhawks have only one more scholarship player than SDSU, 64 to 63. Oh, how the Jackrabbits wish they could go one more and have it be Zach Zenner.
No. 18 Richmond at X-Maryland, noon – The Spiders have their share of returning All-CAA and All-America talent, but only nine starters overall.
Colgate at X-Navy, noon
UT Martin at X-Ole Miss, noon
X-Dayton at Robert Morris, noon
Norfolk State at X-Rutgers, noon
Georgetown at X-Saint Francis (Pa.), noon
Wofford at X-Clemson, 12:30 p.m.
Maine at X-Boston College, 1 p.m.
Holy Cross at X-Monmouth, 1 p.m.
No. 14 Youngstown State at X-Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. – Penguins coach Bo Pelini only has one chance to make a first impression.
Portland State at X-Washington State, 2 p.m.
American International at X-Bryant, 3 p.m.
Texas A&M-Kingsville at X-Incarnate Word, 3 p.m.
Butler at X-No. 21 Indiana State, 3:05 p.m. – Will the Sycamores really wait until game time to decide whether Matt Adam or Zach Kline will be the new starting quarterback?
Morgan State at X-Air Force, 3:30 p.m.
Howard at X-Appalachian State, 3:30 p.m.
Albany at X-Buffalo, 3:30 p.m.
Presbyterian at X-Miami (Ohio), 3:30 p.m.
Wagner at X-Rice, 3:30 p.m.
No. 3 Sam Houston State at X-Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m. – The odds of this being a defensive struggle are slim.
Western State at X-Northern Colorado, 3:35 p.m.
Savannah State at X-Colorado State, 4 p.m.
Southern Illinois at X-Indiana, 4 p.m.
Southeast Missouri State at X-Missouri, 4 p.m.
North Dakota at X-Wyoming, 4 p.m.
X-Mercer at Austin Peay, 5 p.m.
Grambling State at X-California, 5 p.m.
Marist at X-Bucknell, 6 p.m.
X-No. 7 Jacksonville State at No. 8 Chattanooga, 6 p.m. – The FCS game of the week.
Davidson at X-The Citadel, 6 p.m.
Towson at X-East Carolina, 6 p.m.
Kentucky State at X-Hampton, 6 p.m.
Morehead State at No. 12 James Madison, 6 p.m. – QB Vad Lee finished his first season at James Madison with the most total yards (4,288) and combined rushes and passes (648) in the FCS last year.
X-William & Mary at Lafayette, 6 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman at X-Miami (Fla.), 6 p.m.
Shaw at X-North Carolina A&T, 6 p.m.
St. Augustine’s at X-North Carolina Central, 6 p.m.
St. Anselm at X-Sacred Heart, 6 p.m.
Gardner-Webb at X-South Alabama, 6 p.m.
Black Hills State at X-No. 22 Idaho State, 6:05 p.m. – Junior college transfer Michael Sanders gets to throw to a group of returning wide receivers and tight ends who have combined on 469 receptions, 5,614 receiving yards and 43 touchdown catches in their career.
Alabama A&M at X-Cincinnati, 7 p.m.
William Jewell at X-Drake, 7 p.m.
X-No. 5 Coastal Carolina at Furman, 7 p.m. – This has the feel of an upset.
Delaware State at X-No. 15 Liberty, 7 p.m. – Oh, would the Flames love to see Coastal Carolina lose. Oh, would the Flames love to have Coastal’s FBS bid.
Southern at X-Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m.
Missouri State at X-Memphis, 7 p.m.
Jackson State at X-Middle Tennessee State, 7 p.m.
Florida A&M at X-South Florida, 7 p.m.
X-Northern Arizona at No. 24 Stephen F. Austin, 7 p.m. – Who’s the toughest Lumberjack in the FCS forest?
Webber International at X-Stetson, 7 p.m.
Mars Hill at X-Western Carolina, 7 p.m.
South Dakota at X-Kansas State, 7:10 p.m.
No. 25 McNeese State at X-LSU, 7:30 p.m. – LSU won 32-10 when they last met in 2010, but the Cowboys held a 10-7 second-quarter lead in Death Valley.
Tennessee Tech at X-Houston, 8 p.m.
Bethany (W.V.) at X-Houston Baptist, 8 p.m.
No. 10 Northern Iowa at X-Iowa State, 8 p.m. – UNI beat the Cyclones to begin the 2013 season and lost by only one point in their 2011 opener.
Bacone at X-Lamar, 8 p.m.
Mississippi Valley State at X-New Mexico, 8 p.m.
No. 6 Eastern Washington at X-Oregon, 8 p.m. – If you think about it, QB Vernon Adams Jr. has better games against Pac-12 opponents than Big Sky opponents.
San Diego at X-San Diego State, 8 p.m.
Cal Poly at X-No. 13 Montana (1-0), 9 p.m. – Bob Stitt relished opening his Montana career against four-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State. Facing a triple option a week later, not so much.
Prairie View A&M at X-Texas Southern, 9 p.m.
Eastern Oregon at X-Sacramento State, 9:05 p.m.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 6=
Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. X-South Carolina State in Orlando, 3:30 p.m.
Alabama State at X-Tennessee State, 7 p.m.