In the FCS Huddle: What a difference one week makes
Philadelphia, PA – It's amazing what a week can do.
Last weekend, we were raving about the Big Sky's accomplishments. This weekend, the two teams that highlighted recent achievements - Sacramento State and Eastern Washington - were upset by opponents from the Great West.
Top-ranked Eastern Washington fell to South Dakota, 30-17, an upset that was more of a blowout than anyone would have ever expected, as the Coyotes led 21-0 until late in the first half.
If anything, it's a good sign for the Missouri Valley Conference, as South Dakota will move there when the Great West stops sponsoring football next season.
At least in the other big Great West upset, the Big Sky can take solace in the fact Southern Utah will be one of its own next season, as quarterback Brad Sorensen engineered a 35-14 victory over the team that defeated Oregon State one week earlier.
Sorenson looked great, completing 30-of-37 attempts for 270 yards, proving his abilities as a game manager and not needing to throw a single touchdown in the victory.
It's only one game, but stunning the defending national champion can only be a good sign for Southern Utah once it joins the Big Sky next season.
There weren't any FCS over FBS upsets this weekend, but some schools certainly held their own in games that others would have marked down as blowouts before the start of the weekend.
Wofford hung with Clemson for much of the night, racking up 399 total yards (not surprisingly 272 of those were on the ground) in a 35-27 loss.
Farther north, Maine gave Pittsburgh a scare, only falling 35-29 and mounting a comeback attempt with two scores in the final three minutes.
Maine in particular could impress even more this season, after defeating Bryant handily in Week 1 and then hanging with Pittsburgh. The Black Bears could be a dark horse contender for the CAA title this season.
LEHIGH'S LUM ON EARLY ROLL
After two weeks, it appears Lehigh senior quarterback Chris Lum is serious about winning the Walter Payton Award (sponsored by Fathead.com).
Lum followed up winning Co-National Player of the Week honors in Week 1 with an impressive six-touchdown, 401-yard performance in a 48-41 overtime loss against New Hampshire.
The All-Patriot League signal-caller has thrown for 747 yards and 10 touchdowns already this season.
DEPTH AT QUARTERBACK NOT AN ISSUE FOR DELAWARE
Last week, Tim Donnelly was forced into action after an injury to Trevor Sasek. This week, the junior got the start and impressed in an 28-17 victory against West Chester.
Donnelly completed 21-of-28 attempts for 173 yards and looked confident throughout the game, something he didn't portray in a loss against Navy a week earlier.
With Donnelly stepping up and Sasek's first half against Navy, it would seem the Blue Hens are in capable hands no matter who is under center for the rest of the way this season.
NORTHERN IOWA DESERVING OF TOP RANKING?
In the most recent Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25, Northern Iowa received one first-place vote. Great West voter Neil Gardner might have been on to something as the Panthers should rise in the rankings this week.
Northern Iowa defeated No. 16 Stephen F. Austin, 34-23, and with Eastern Washington's loss and the fact Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and William & Mary have yet to play a team in the FCS Top 25 could propel the Panthers up the charts this week.
They had opened their season with a one-point loss at Iowa State.
POOR GAME MANAGEMENT GIVES HAMPTON EARLY LEAD IN MEAC RACE
It was a bizarre finish between Hampton and Florida A&M, as the Rattlers mismanaged the clock in a 23-17 loss.
Having the ball with 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line, the Rattlers offense showed little urgency and seemed to take its time getting to the line of scrimmage before finally scoring with 2:19 remaining.
With one timeout remaining, conventional wisdom would suggest Florida A&M would attempt the onside kick. However, the Rattlers called a timeout before the kickoff - at which they were in an onside kick formation - and then seemingly changed their mind and kicked it deep, allowing Hampton to easily run out the clock.
Head coach Joe Trainer certainly didn't put his team in a position to win when it really counted.
Speaking of games with MEAC title implications, South Carolina State's defense impressed in a win against Bethune-Cookman as the Wildcats, who scored 63 points last week against Prairie View A&M, were held to just 18 points.
Bethune-Cookman also picked up where it left off from last season, when the Wildcats had an FCS-best plus-27 turnover ratio, and forced five turnovers.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
South Dakota: The Coyotes certainly are kings of the week after defeating top- ranked Eastern Washington, 30-17.
In what was supposed to be Eastern Washington's "easy" game in the month of September, the Coyotes posted a stunning win - a victory even more astonishing after South Dakota's 4-7 mark last season.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Northern Iowa certainly proved that quality of yards, not quantity, is what matters in college football.
Even though the Panthers got out gained 407-362, Northern Iowa converted on nine of 16 third-down conversions and was a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone on its way to a victory against Stephen F. Austin.
Norfolk State led the Big East's West Virginia 12-10 at halftime, but fell 55-12 and felt the pain of not turning early chances into touchdowns rather than field goals ... Georgia State isn't ready for the CAA yet, especially after getting spanked by Old Dominion, 40-17 ... Rhode Island and Texas Southern each kicked off their seasons, the last two non-Ivy league schools to start the season. Both lost close games ... Duquesne's Jared Williams blocked and returned a potential game-winning field goal as time expired, sealing a win against Dayton ... Chattanooga wide receiver Joel Bradford returned to form from last season, catching 15 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville State ... Sam Ojuri proved North Dakota State has depth at running back, scoring on a school- record 95-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against St. Francis (Pa.) ... Weber State couldn't find any of the magic it had in a near upset of Wyoming in Week 1, falling to Utah State, 54-17 ... Towson upset No. 20 Villanova, 31-10, a game which could be a sign of results to come for both programs.