James Madison continues to show that some of the FCS schools can hang with their FBS counterparts. The Dukes welcomed College GameDay to town and blew conference rival Villanova out of the water. James Madison’s staunch defense held Villanova to just 174 total yards and forced three turnovers on its way to a 30-8 win. This team has the longest current Division I winning streak and looks like it has a chance to run the table this season.
Biggest Win of Week 7 – North Dakota State 27, Youngstown State 24
While GameDay was in Harrisonburg to watch James Madison, the best game of the day was the lone tilt between two teams ranked in the Top 10. North Dakota State and Youngstown State battled it out in a tight, back and forth affair that needed overtime to eventually decide a winner.
Bison quarterback Easton Stick wasn’t at his best through the air, but he used his legs to beat the Penguins instead. He ran the ball 11 times for 172 yards and a score to take the wind out of Youngstown State’s sails on the defensive end. North Dakota State did a good job of stopping Youngstown State’s ground game, but it allowed backup quarterback Nathan Mays to have a nice day through the air, which was almost the reason for a Penguins victory. The loss drops Youngstown State to 3-3, and it means the Penguins can only afford one more loss if they want to make the playoffs.
Biggest Disappointment of Week 7 – Southern Utah 32, Weber State 16
The Wildcats’ hopes at a Big Sky title took a big hit with a home loss to rival Southern Utah in the Beehive Bowl on Saturday night. Although the loss hurts, the bigger story is the loss of their star quarterback Stefan Cantwell. He suffered a concussion with the game tied in the second quarter, and the offense was lackluster the rest of the way. The Thunderbirds were able to jump ahead and then slowly grind out the clock to move themselves to 4-2.
Losing Cantwell at this point in this season is big. Weber State can probably get past Cal Poly next week without him, but the Wildcats need him for their next two games against Montana and Eastern Washington.
Closest Call of Week 7 – Wofford 20, The Citadel 16
The Terriers continue to do what it takes to get wins, but you have to wonder when their luck will run out. Wofford is 6-0, but five of those victories were by one score. Brandon Goodson was the difference maker in this battle between SoCon rivals. Both are triple-option teams, but Goodson can throw the ball when needed and averaged almost 13 yards per pass attempt against this defense. Conversely, the Bulldogs were able to muster just 2.3 yards per throw.
Wildest Finish of Week 7 – Central Connecticut State 51, Wagner 45
This game had it all. Crazy defensive plays, a big comeback and quadruple overtime made this the most exciting game of the week at the FCS level. Central Connecticut State jumped out to a 27-7 first-half lead after a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown, but it couldn’t score again in regulation. Wagner tied it late in the fourth with a Pick-Six of its own and then lost the game by throwing an interception in the end zone at the end.
Biggest Sigh of Relief of Week 7 – Central Arkansas 24, Stephen F. Austin 20
The Bears almost lost at home as a huge favorite against the 2-5 Lumberjacks. Central Arkansas put up a ton of yards on this defense, but it was nearly done in by turnovers. Quarterback Hayden Hildebrand threw three interceptions, yet he came through when it really mattered. With the Bears down 20-17 in the final three minutes, he led the team right down the field for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. The win kept Central Arkansas undefeated in the Southland, and it only has to play one foe with a winning record the rest of the season (McNeese State). The Bears can smell a first-round postseason bye at this point—they just need to win out.