In the penultimate week of the FCS regular season, some teams clinched a playoff spot, while others saw their dreams go up in smoke. Let’s break down the weekend’s action.
Biggest Win of Week 11 – New Hampshire 16, Elon 6
This wasn’t a high-scoring game, but all that mattered to the Wildcats was getting the win. . New Hampshire earned the standout victory it needed over a quality opponent and should have earned a spot in the postseason no matter what happens in the season finale. Trevor Knight was the star for New Hampshire. Elon’s run defense held New Hampshire to under 1.5 yards per carry, so Knight had to win the game through the air. He was efficient in completing 76 percent of his passes for 271 yards and a score.
It was a tough loss for an Elon team that had won eight in a row. The Phoenix kept shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes and it was too much to overcome in the end. Elon turned the ball over three times and its kicker missed three field goal attempts. The good news is that Elon can still win the Colonial next week by beating No. 1 James Madison.
Close Call of Week 11 – James Madison 20, Richmond 13
It wasn’t easy for the Dukes to pick up their 10th win of the season. They received their toughest test yet from a surging Richmond team that was almost able to knock them off on their home turf. Still, pulling out the victory here ensures that the Dukes will receive the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason if they win at Elon next Saturday.
Kyle Lauletta gave it his all against this solid Dukes defense. Richmond’s quarterback might be the best passer at the FCS level, and he had a good day against a great defense. Although the Spiders averaged barely a yard per carry, Lauletta threw for 304 yards with a score and a pick against a stingy defense. It was a good showing for Richmond’s defense, too. The Spiders were able to keep James Madison’s running game in check until the Dukes marched down the field and scored the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining.
Conference-Clinching Win of Week 11 – San Diego 63, Davidson 7
Once again, the Toreros tore their way through the Pioneer League and have already locked up the conference before the final week of the season. San Diego traveled across the country and tore up a bad Davidson team in a game that was a mismatch from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
San Diego put up over 700 yards of offense, and it was so lopsided that four players ended up throwing a pass and nine players ended up attempting a run. Everyone got in on the action as the Toreros are now set to play in the postseason for the third time in four years. Last season, they notched their first playoff win in program history and will try to build on that this year.
Upset Win of Week 11 – Central Connecticut State 28, Duquesne 27
The Blue Devils are about to make the FCS playoffs for the first time ever. Central Connecticut State has been a downtrodden program for much of this decade, but it has now ripped off seven straight wins and clinched the Northeast Conference with a one-point victory over Duquesne in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.
Duquesne has to be kicking itself for how it lost this one. Central Connecticut State turned the ball over three times while Duquesne didn’t turn the ball over once. The Dukes had a 27-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but they allowed CCSU to take the lead with two quick scores. Duquesne’s offense responded and moved the ball down to the one-yard line, but kicker John Domit—who had already missed an extra point—shanked an 18-yard game-winner wide and gave the Blue Devils the victory. The Dukes don’t have much of a chance for an at-large spot and will likely play their final game of the season on Saturday.