In the FCS Huddle: Chattanooga, Furman make SoCon statements
Philadelphia, PA – The SoCon championship race might be more than just Georgia Southern and Appalachian State this season, as Chattanooga and Furman both made statements this weekend.
For the Mocs, that statement may have come in a loss, but by losing only 14-12 to the Mountaineers, Chattanooga displayed resiliency and the ability to play with the best in the SoCon, and the FCS.
Furman was on the winning end Saturday, blowing out Presbyterian 62-21 -- a team that hung with SoCon power Wofford in Week 1 -- and witnessed what could have been the start of a strong campaign for quarterback Chris Forcier, who passed for seven touchdowns.
An anomaly or sign of things to come?
We will see, but for now Chattanooga and Furman certainly have to be at least considered outside contenders in the race for the SoCon championship with the big boys (Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and Wofford).
WELCOME TO THE CAA
The longest FCS win streak in the nation is over, as Old Dominion fell to No. 7 Delaware 27-17 in its CAA debut.
However, don't worry about the Monarchs -- they already took a step toward proving they belong in the FCS' toughest conference. Old Dominion led Delaware 17-16 in the fourth quarter and it took a late comeback from one of the CAA's most decorated programs to knock off the Monarchs.
Old Dominion was the first team to contain Delaware running back Andrew Pierce this season, holding the sophomore standout to just 21 yards on 14 carries. However, Pierce was slowed by a hamstring injury.
For Old Dominion, navigating the CAA continues next week against Massachusetts, a game between a team new to the conference and another -- UMass -- on its way out and headed to the FBS.
SPECIAL TEAMS PROVE COSTLY, REWARDING FOR OTHERS
Sacred Heart converted on a 22-yard field goal with one minute remaining and then blocked a 53-yard attempt as time expired, to defeat Dartmouth 24-21.
Meanwhile, special teams issues cost Liberty, as the Flames missed two kicks -- including a potential game-tying try as time expired -- and were caught off guard by an onside kick in a 27-24 loss to No. 15 Lehigh.
HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN
With a loss to Montana State, Eastern Washington starts the season at 0-4, a dismal record for the defending FCS champions.
For the Eagles -- who should drop out of The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 poll this week -- the possibility of even making the playoffs is quickly flying out the window. Losses to Montana State and Montana make it nearly impossible to win the Big Sky and the Eagles will need to win the rest of their games to stay in the at-large discussion, something very difficult with a heavy road schedule.
North Dakota State improved to 5-3 all time against FBS teams, with a 37-24 win against Minnesota.
The Bison had an explosive 28-point second quarter on their way to the second- most dominant FCS-over-FBS upset of the season -- Indiana State over Western Kentucky being No. 1 -- and have proven themselves as more than just a potential upset, but legitimate giant killers.
In addition, you could argue North Dakota State has one of the most impressive resumes thus far, having defeated a pair of FCS schools by a combined 98-9 and then, of course, defeating the Gophers in impressive fashion.
ANOTHER FBS KILLER?
Sam Houston State defeated New Mexico, 48-45, in overtime. An impressive performance by the Bearkats, as many potential FCS upsets are derailed late and FBS teams tend to survive the scare.
TOP 25 SHAKEUP?
Georgia Southern and Western Illinois should remain at the top of The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 poll this week. But, with Richmond's loss to New Hampshire, James Madison upsetting William & Mary and North Dakota State beating Minnesota, there could be some major shuffling after Montana State at No. 4.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
North Dakota State and Sam Houston State: The Bison would likely be the sole team of the week, but their past history of beating FBS teams seems to slightly lessen the feeling around the victory nationwide.
However, don't feel bad for the Bison. It's a good sign for North Dakota State, because it now seems expected for them to beat some of the bigger schools.
Sam Houston State gets the co-team of the week because of its FBS upset against New Mexico, in overtime no less. Don't be surprised if the Bearkats compete for - and win - the Southland Conference Championship.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Furman quarterback Chris Forcier was incredibly efficient against Presbyterian in a 62-21 victory.
Forcier threw only 16 passes, but completed 12 and seven of those went for touchdowns of 13, 39, 6, 20, 64, 10 and 20 yards. An amazing 58.3 percent of Forcier's completions went for touchdowns.
"Chris is dangerous," Furman coach Bruce Fowler said. "He can tuck it and run it, and he can throw it. Today they (Presbyterian) were up there playing really tight, and we threw a couple over their heads. That dual threat made it tough on them."
Justin Bethel has become a punt-blocking machine this season, blocking a pair of kicks and returning them for touchdowns in back-to-back losses...Monmouth snapped Central Connecticut State 15 game home winning streak, picking up a 24-12 win against the defending co-NEC champions...Jacksonville racked up a school record 713 yards against Campbell and Josh McGregor threw for five touchdowns...the fifth largest crowd (10,833) ever in Elon's Rhodes Stadium witnessed an overtime thriller, as Phoenix kicker Adam Shreiner nailed a 33- yard field goal in a 18-15 overtime victory...After not losing in its first three years as a football program South Alabama has now lost two straight, even though the Jaguars did mount an impressive comeback in the 33-25 loss to Kent State...Texas State got final FCS bragging rights against Stephen F Austin, defeating the Lumberjacks 35-26...Who are these guys? Sacramento State defeated Montana for the first time in the 17 year series. The Hornets started the season with a big win, then struggled for two weeks and now seem to be back up...South Carolina State defeated Delaware State 69-0, as the Bulldogs continued to lead the way in the MEAC Championship race...Chris Lum topped the 300 yard passing mark again for Lehigh...Richmond and New Hampshire played an exciting game, as the Wildcats won 45-43.