Takeaways from FCS Week 4

(STATS) – It might be time to blow up the FCS Top 25 and start from scratch.

From No. 7 Villanova and No. 8 Richmond on down, seven Top 25 teams lost on a wild Saturday in the subdivision. But aren’t they all?

Here are five takeaways from Week 4 of the FCS season:

– Top-ranked James Madison got the test it needed – Maine was beating the Dukes in the third quarter of their CAA Football matchup – before quarterback Bryan Schor and the defending national champs displayed their savviness for a 28-10 victory. But the first full day of conference play only got better for the Dukes as Richmond lost to Elon 36-33 and Villanova fell to Albany 19-10 in overtime, neither of which had happened before. Coach Mike Houston’s Dukes might be trailing New Hampshire in the early standings, but they control the race.

– The Big Sky title may not be up for grabs after all. Eastern Washington staged a vintage rally past Montana 48-41 Saturday night, overcoming a 24-6 halftime deficit – forged by the Grizzlies’ Hail Mary to end the first half – by scoring 42 second-half points. There are so many contenders in the largest FCS conference (13 teams), but it’s been home to one surprising result after another this season, and the No. 11 Eagles have been the most consistent program this decade. Montana State’s 49-21 rout of No. 17 North Dakota again suggested the other defending co-champ may not be ready for prime time this season, something that Eastern Washington and quarterback Gage Gubrud (549 passing yards, five total touchdowns) clearly were in winning the eighth all-time night game at Montana’s raucous Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

– Sure Gubrud and fellow All-America quarterback and Devlin Hodges of Samford threw for over 500 yards and others have bigger rushing totals, but the most efficient day of the season belongs to North Dakota State junior running back Lance Dunn. Granted, the competition was overmatched Robert Morris, but Dunn scored a touchdown on each of his four touches in a 56-0 victory – 61-, 5- and 45-yard runs and a 10-yard reception. Said Dunn: “I just told myself before the game, ‘Every time I get the ball I want to make something happen with it,’ so that’s what I did.”

– Winning is not getting old to the Ancient Eight. The later start to their season has worked well for Ivy League teams, who are 10-2 out of league, including 4-0 against the Patriot League on Saturday. Capping the sweep was Dartmouth’s 27-26 overtime win over No. 25 Holy Cross after the Big Green denied the Crusaders of a potential game-winning 2-point conversion. Also of note: Columbia beat Georgetown to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2006 (can you say Al Bagnoli?).

– While Top 25 voters will have to sort through a lot of teams in the No. 15-30 mix to get a comfortable order for the rankings, they may simply look to the Missouri Valley Football Conference to fill out the Top 10. Monday’s new rankings may include five, maybe six Valley teams. Second-ranked North Dakota State, No. 4 South Dakota State and No. 6 Youngstown State will likely hold serve, and South Dakota, Illinois State and Western Illinois (off a rout at FBS Coastal Carolina) are in the mix for the Top 10.