Excellent matchups for FCS quarterfinals
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - All four of this weekend's FCS quarterfinals offer unique storylines, but each intriguing matchup shares a common factor:
The visiting team enters the game with four losses and the home team has two losses.
Don't be misled, each quarterfinal seems more likely to be a tighter affair than some of the lopsided scores of the first two rounds, when only three of the 12 games were decided by 16 or fewer points.
The action kicks off Friday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) with New Hampshire (8-4) visiting Delaware (10-2) in Newark in a meeting of CAA Football squads, although they haven't faced each other since the 2007. Both teams feature strong defenses, with Delaware ranked No. 1 in the FCS in scoring defense (12.3 ppg) and UNH No. 5 (16.5).
Much of the Wildcats' focus will be on red-hot Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin, who has thrown for 801 yards and 11 touchdowns in his last three games. He is expected to be the first FCS quarterback taken in the 2011 NFL Draft.
The other three quarterfinals will be played Saturday, and the most anticipated one pits Villanova (8-4) at Appalachian State (10-2) in a high noon showdown in Boone, N.C. (ESPN2). Villanova is the defending FCS champion, while Appalachian State won three straight titles from 2005-07 and is the top- seeded team in this year's playoffs.
Appalachian State junior DeAndre Presley is one of three quarterbacks (along with Western Illinois senior Matt Barr and Stephen F. Austin senior Jeremy Moses) who has been invited to the 24th Annual FCS Awards Presentation next month for the announcement of the Walter Payton Award which is sponsored by Fathead.com.
The Georgia Southern (9-4) at Wofford (10-2) game at 2:05 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3.com) in Spartanburg, S.C., is an all-Southern Conference matchup. Both squads run similar triple options, and Wofford is ranked No. 1 nationally in rushing average (307.3 ypg) and Georgia Southern is ranked No. 3 (268.7).
The final quarterfinal pits North Dakota State (9-4) at Eastern Washington (10-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN Game Plan and North Dakota NBC Sports Network) in Cheney, Wash. The host Eagles ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 and feature junior running back Taiwan Jones, whose 196.6 all-purpose yards per game ranked second nationally.
12/10 11:35:19 ET