Two undefeated teams ranked in the top five dropped games on Saturday, leaving the total number of unbeatens remaining at four. James Madison, North Dakota State and Jacksonville State are clearly a level above the other teams in the FCS, and only a handful of squads are able to play at the level of those three.
The relative parity everywhere else should make the playoff race very exciting over the last four weeks of the FCS regular season.
Biggest Win of Week 8 – Samford 24, Wofford 21
Samford is now in control of its destiny in the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs gutted out a close win over the previously undefeated Terriers and now have the tiebreaker advantage over the other one-loss teams in the conference. Devlin Hodges was fantastic in the win, lighting up Wofford’s defense for 427 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
You had to think it was only a matter of time before Wofford dropped a game. The Terriers had been playing with fire as five of their six wins were one-possession victories. Seven fumbles in the first three quarters hamstrung this running game, but it’s a testament to their talent that they still had a chance to win in the closing seconds.
Biggest Shock of Week 8 – Illinois State 37, South Dakota 21
The Redbirds became the first team to knock off South Dakota thanks to a massive performance from their ground game. Illinois State ran for 331 yards and two touchdowns against a South Dakota defense that had been pretty good stopping the run, and it broke a two-game losing streak.
We now know that Chris Streveler is human. He had decent numbers against Illinois State’s very good defense, but he threw his first two interceptions of the season. He was asked to do way too much as the run game was marginal, and that spelled the end of the Coyotes’ dream of an undefeated season.
Revenge Game of Week 8 – Delaware 42, Richmond 35
Danny Rocco had been looking forward to this game all year. The former Richmond head coach acrimoniously parted ways with the Spiders at the end of last season after feuding with the administration about facilities and upgrades. Delaware went and snapped him up after the once-proud program fell into a funk, and he has instantly made this team competitive again.
Delaware sits at 5-2 and should be able to make the postseason. The Blue Hens don’t have a good passing game that they can rely on, but the running game has been great and the defense has been solid. Against Richmond, the ground game was able to keep the ball out of star quarterback Kyle Lauletta’s hands, and that was huge in the win.
Most Disappointing Result of Week 8 – Northern Iowa 19, Youngstown State 14
Because of the brutal Missouri Valley slate, both teams entered this game at 3-3 and knew a loss could doom them in the hunt for the postseason. Unfortunately for Bo Pelini, it was his Penguins that lost. They absolutely cannot drop another game as five losses would be too many for the playoffs.
The Panthers won this game by controlling the Penguins’ rushing attack. Star running back Tevin McCaster was unable to do much of anything against Northern Iowa’s run defense, and Youngstown State was only able to muster 47 rushing yards on 36 carries.
Biggest Statement Win of Week 8 – Grambling 41, Alcorn State 14
All week long, Grambling had heard that this Alcorn State team had a chance to knock it off. The Tigers almost lost to the Braves last year in the SWAC Championship Game, and Alcorn State was a very short underdog coming into this one.
Turnovers killed any chance that the Braves had of winning this game. Alcorn State threw three interceptions and lost four fumbles on a night when the offense was clearly not at its best. Braves quarterback Noah Johnson looked awful as soon as he came into the game, throwing three interceptions in relief of LeNorris Footman.