Another one of the traditional FCS powerhouses may be on the outside looking in this postseason.
Just a week after Youngstown State lost all hope of sneaking into the playoffs, Eastern Washington’s season is on the brink. The Eagles have been eliminated from Big Sky title contention and are sitting at 5-4 with only one nice win on their resume. EWU might be able to sneak in at 7-4 if it wins its last two, but if things shake out a certain way the Eagles are toast.
Most Surreal Event of Week 10 – Case Cookus getting thrown out of a game for targeting
Cookus went viral for all the wrong reasons in Northern Arizona’s showdown against Montana on Saturday. Early in the first quarter, he tried to send a message with a devastating block on a reverse, but officials threw a flag and determined that he was guilty of targeting. Cookus went bananas as he left the field, animatingly cursing out officials, opposing players and fans alike, giving the internet another chuckle at his expense.
His ejection ended up costing Northern Arizona the game and means that the Lumberjacks are no longer able to win the Big Sky outright if they win their last two. Without Cookus, one of the top five quarterbacks at the FCS level, this offense couldn’t move the ball against a bad Montana defense. The Lumberjacks are now in a three-way tie for first in the conference and will certainly lose their Top 10 ranking.
Biggest Win of Week 10 – South Dakota State 33, North Dakota State 21
The Jackrabbits have now punched their ticket to the postseason after a huge win against the Bison. South Dakota State forced North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick into four turnovers, and those mistakes helped lead the Jackrabbits to victory.
It’s the second straight season that the Jackrabbits have claimed the Dakota Marker over their rivals. SDSU signal caller Taryn Christion made the difference in this one, going 23-of-33 for 328 yards and two touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the country. Christion had not performed well against good teams before this game, so this effort has to be a huge confidence boost for him. South Dakota State is now 7-2 and may vault into the Top 5 in the rankings.
Biggest Near Miss of Week 10 – Nicholls State 23, Houston Baptist 17
Nicholls State narrowly avoided what would have been a catastrophic loss to Houston Baptist on Saturday evening. The Colonels came out flat against an offensively challenged 1-8 team that had not scored more than 12 points in Southland Conference play. However, Houston Baptist was able to capitalize on some mistakes from Nicholls State and led for much of the game despite having just 276 total yards of offense.
This game looked destined for overtime after the Huskies drilled a 50-yard field goal in the final minute of the fourth quarter to knot the game at 17. However, Chase Fourcade was able to find Dai’Jean Dixon for the game-winning touchdown as time expired, giving Nicholls the victory. The Colonels are now 7-2 and one more win should ensure a postseason berth.
Most Impressive Win of Week 10 – Northern Iowa 34, South Dakota 29
The Panthers just finished up an absolutely brutal five-game stretch that saw them play a very good Western Illinois team and four Top 10 teams in succession. Northern Iowa needed to win at least three of those games to feel good about the playoffs following a 1-2 start and did just that following its victory over South Dakota.
Northern Iowa was out-gained by over 200 yards on the day, but South Dakota turned the ball over four times to help deliver the Panthers the win. Now it’s South Dakota that may have a little bit of work to do with upcoming games against North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
Gut Check of Week 10 – Elon 33, Towson 30
Towson really hurt Delaware’s postseason chances with a win last week and nearly pulled off another big upset on Saturday. The Tigers rallied to force overtime with the Phoenix, and the two sides went into two extra frames before Elon was able to secure the win. Elon should have punched its ticket to the playoffs now that it sits at 8-1.