There weren’t a lot of marquee FCS games this week, as most teams are about to enter conference play. However, there were two big FCS over FBS upsets. The first wasn’t too big of a shock. North Carolina A&T led a winless Charlotte team the whole way in a 35-31 win to give the Aggies a nice feather in their cap. The other upset was a stunner, though. Lowly Idaho State came into Reno and knocked off Nevada as a 32.5-point underdog, sending yet another message to the rest of the FCS that the Big Sky might be the best conference top to bottom in the country.
Biggest Win of Week 3 – South Dakota 45, North Dakota 7
What a performance we saw out of South Dakota this week. The Coyotes looked unstoppable against their rivals to the north, leading them at half 31-0 en route to their easy victory. Chris Streveler was amazing in the win and is emerging as a dark horse candidate to win the Walter Payton Award. He had over 300 total yards of offense and three touchdowns against a North Dakota defense that is one of the best in the country.
The Coyotes defense may have been more impressive. This unit had a lot of question marks coming into the season, but it did a great job against Keaton Studsrud. He could only muster 133 total yards of offense and was harassed all game long by this front.
Biggest Upset of Week 3 – Idaho State 30, Nevada 28
It’s pretty incredible that two teams that were projected to be at the bottom of the Big Sky have hung close with FBS teams. The first was Portland State, which played well against BYU and nearly knocked off Oregon State. Idaho State doing the unthinkable against Nevada was a total shock, though.
Of course, turnovers played a big part in Idaho State’s upset. The Bengals were able to move the ball pretty effectively on this defense, but they were buoyed by three Wolf Pack turnovers on the night. That meant the offense didn’t have to force things and could just score points off of field possession, and the Bengals did just that in the upset.
Closest Call of Week 3 – Weber State 31, Sacramento State 24
The Wildcats blew a 24-0 lead and nearly lost the game on the road against the Hornets. Weber State almost had its Big Sky Conference title hopes derailed before it even played one of the better teams. Stefan Cantwell was kept in check and only a strong defensive performance kept the Wildcats undefeated. That’s not how this team wanted to enter conference play.
Biggest Relief of Week 3 – Austin Peay 69, Morehead State 13
Austin Peay let out some aggression this Saturday. The Governors had lost 29 straight games heading into this one, the longest streak in the FCS. They ran for 487 yards and 10 touchdowns against Morehead State to snap the streak, and you can be sure they are celebrating well into the night. It’s a big load off their shoulders after going winless the previous two seasons, but you could feel the breakthrough was coming. Austin Peay had looked much better this season and almost knocked off Cincinnati in its opener.
Most Lopsided Game of Week 3 – Richmond 68, Howard 21
Howard came crashing down to Earth in a big way against Richmond. The Spiders were clicking on all cylinders as Kyle Lauletta tore up the Bison defense, throwing for six touchdowns in the win. The Spiders added another four on the ground and would have hit the 70-point mark if they would have converted all their extra-point opportunities. It was a crash back down to Earth for Caylin Newton, who continued to hit big-play passes but completed under 30 percent of his throws and tossed two interceptions on the day. Still, he has impressed with the talent he has flashed.