Say goodbye to the postseason, Youngstown State. The Penguins are now 3-5 after suffering a 35-0 blowout loss at home to Illinois State, and the manner in which they lost has eliminated any remaining hope for an at-large bid.
Injuries and a tough schedule did in last year’s national runner-up, which now opens the door for a new challenger to emerge this season.
Biggest Win of Week 9 – Elon 19, Villanova 14
There is no denying that the Phoenix have done enough to make the postseason. Elon went 2-9 and was one of the worst teams in the FCS in 2016, but it has done a complete 180 this season thanks to a great run game and a stingy defense.
Despite being a double-digit underdog on the road to Villanova, Elon gutted out another win. The Phoenix were unable to run the ball on one of the best run defenses in the country, so they had to find another way to move the ball. Kortez Weeks ended up having a career day, hauling in 11 passes for 205 yards and shredding a secondary that has struggled all year. Villanova was unable to do much offensively as Elon loaded up against the run and freshman Kyle McCloskey struggled through the air.
Biggest Upset of Week 9 – Chattanooga 23, Samford 21
A week after pulling off a huge win on the road against Wofford, Samford laid an egg against a Chattanooga team that has been horrible this season. The Bulldogs couldn’t stop turning the ball over, giving it away seven times, with Devlin Hodges throwing three interceptions and the team fumbling away four possessions.
Amazingly, Samford still had a decent chance to win this game. Chattanooga turned the ball over four times itself, which almost keyed a Bulldogs comeback win. Now, dreams of a SoCon title are out the window for Samford.
Biggest Blowout of Week 9 – Central Arkansas 47, McNeese State 17
There were questions about whether or not McNeese State was a legitimate team after fattening itself up on a bunch of cupcakes heading into this game. This performance did little to alleviate those concerns.
Hayden Hildebrand was very efficient, completing 12 of 16 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover. That was important because the running backs struggled to find room to move against McNeese State’s defense. The Bears were also helped by two non-offensive touchdowns.
Biggest Heartbreaker of Week 9 – Towson 18, Delaware 17
Delaware’s postseason hopes took a huge hit with a loss to a Towson team that is just 3-5 this season. J.P. Caruso was awful through the air as the Blue Hens passing game was a no-show in this one. They completed just 7 of 16 passes for 35 yards, and the inability to throw the ball kept Towson in the game. Although Delaware’s running game was decent, it just wasn’t enough.
The loss delivered a big blow to Delaware’s playoff hopes. The Blue Hens are now 5-3 with a bad defeat on their resume and need to win at least two games to have a chance and all three to feel confident.
Biggest Shootout of Week 9 – Weber State 41, Montana 27
Although Bob Stitt’s offense racked up over 500 yards on a very good Weber State defense, it wasn’t enough to give Montana a win. The Grizzlies turned the ball over five times, which killed this team’s chances of a win.
Surprisingly, Montana’s defense played well enough to win. The beleaguered unit has struggled all season, but it really limited the Wildcats offense and Stefan Cantwell. Weber State finished with just a shade over 300 total yards and was bailed out by the Grizzlies turnovers. Weber State now has a game against Eastern Washington next week that will go a long way toward determining who will win the Big Sky Conference.