2014 NCAA Football - FCS Playoffs

Archive | December, 2009

Championship Game

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

 Unfortunately this week has been very busy. This means two things. I can’t make it to Chattanooga, and I don’t have much time to write.

I apologize for not giving this game the rundown it deserves. Here’s a quicky.

Montana has been clicking on all cyclinders since the end of the South Dakota State game.

Villanova has played very well with the exception of some issues in the William and Mary game.

The key in this game is how the Montana offense will handle the 3-3-5 defense. People have argued back and forth about this in the comment section. Here’s the issue: It’s not that Montana has not played good defenses. It’s that they haven’t seen a 3-3-5. Those of you who have ever faced a 3-3-5 understand the issues. In a 3-3-5, there are 3 down linemen, 3 LBs, and 5 DBs. Essesntially every play is a blitz, and as an offensive lineman, it is hard to make your reads and know who to block. So the keys will be how well they scout it, how well they understand it, and how they adapt to it during the game.

We all know the rest about both of these teams. It’s been drilled into us every week since Thanksgiving.

I’ve got to say:

Montana Grizzlies 24  Villanova Wildcats 20

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Semifinals prediction

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

Sorry for the delay. It’s been a crazy week filled with travel, blizzards, and all kinds of other stuff.

In 30 minutes William and Mary will take the field against Villanova. When the teams faced off earlier this year it was a fantastic game. The Tribe’s costly redzone turnovers really made the game.

Tonight the Tribe’s defense and running game will take them to the championship.

William and Mary 24  Villanova 21

App St-Montana has been 9 years in the making. The teams last faced off in the 2000 semifinals. The Griz won that game in OT 19-16.

I expect a great game in this one. I’ll say that I expect a lot of Armanti’s typical heroics, but the last drive comes up just short.

Montana 27  Appalachian State 21

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Quarterfinal Recap

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

If the first round predictions made me look educated, the quarterfinals made me look foolish. 1 out of 4, although the App St-Richmond game came down to the wire.

William and Mary 24   Southern Illinois 3

This game started out as a defensive battle. For most of the first half, W&M could not get into Saluki territory. The Salukis were moving the ball with ease, but then the Tribe defense would stiffen up. The Salukis were held to two FG attempts, one of which was no good. William and Mary broke across the 50 yard line on their last two drives. The first drive resulted in the tying FG, the second added a TD that would’ve been enough to seal the win. 

The Saluki playing calling in the second half was terrible, but that’s not to say that the Tribe defense was not spectacular.

The Tribe and Coach Laycock head to Villanova where I think they have a great match-up with Villanova.

 

Montana 51  Stephen F. Austin 0

This game was over very quickly. The Griz were up 10-0 after one quarter, 38-0 at the half, and 48-0 after 3 quarters.

There was a point where I thought, “if anyone can come back, it would be this SFA offense.” Then there was turnover after turnover after turnover. When all was said and done the Lumberjacks was committed 10 turnovers to the Grizzlies 1. 

Great play from the Griz combined with a lackluster day from the Jacks made for a terrible day for fans of the Southland conference.

 

Villanova 46  New Hampshire 7

New Hampshire’s first play of the game resulted in a Villanova TD. That was the way the day went for UNH. 

With the field covered in a blanket of snow, the UNH lines were no match for Villanova. Nova rushed for 343 yards and only threw 5 passes all day.

UNH attempted 39 passes but only completed 17 for 150 yards. Starting QB RJ Toman was benched with a concussion after being hit again and again. The UNH line gave their QBs no protection.

The other staggering stat is UNHs -66 yards of rushing offense. 

 

Appalachian State 35  Richmond 31

This was by far the best game of the day. Richmond held a slim lead for much of it, but then looked like they were going to pull away in the 4th quarter.

Things looked really bad for the Mountaineers when Richmond’s Eric McBride stripped the ball away on a punt return and ran it in for a TD with 3:26 remaining. (Editorial: This was a terrible play by the refs. 3 Richmond defenders had the ball carrier stopped while McBride was allowed to pull on the ball. The play should have blown dead, but was not, and there is no replay in the quarterfinals. I’m not sure that would be reviewable anyway).

App St continued the offensive dominance they showed in the 4th quarter and put a dagger in the Spiders heart with :10 left. 

Richmond had a great team this year but now looks to replace important seniors, and Head Coach Mike London who has agreed to terms with Virginia.

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2nd Round Playoff Breakdown

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

In last weeks predictions I correctly picked 7 out of the 8 games. This week might be a little bit tougher as every game seems like a toss-up. Here are my thoughts on this weeks match-ups.

Stephen F. Austin @ (1) Montana

Montana has been one of the most inconsistent teams in FCS football this year. Now that said, they are also the most consistent winners. All year I have said that “good teams win games”. Montana has done that, even if it took a last second FG to beat Idaho State.

Last weekend showed what Montana is capable of. Scoring 40 points to grab a comeback victory is no easy task, especially for a team that has played two QBs for most of the season.

I would argue that Montana is hitting their stride at just the right time, something that seems to be fairly normal for Bobby Hauck led teams. 

Stephen F. Austin has had a great year offensively. The Lumberjacks air attack was complemented by a 100 yard rusher last week. My concern is the Lumberjack defense. I don’t think they are up to the task at hand this weekend.

Montana Grizzlies 45  Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 35

 

Appalachian State at (4) Richmond

In last weekend’s game, the Spiders held on for the 3 point win over Elon. The win came in spite of Richmond’s 3 turnovers to Elon’s 0.  Richmond is the defending champion who knows what it takes, and is playing good football right now. Richmond will need to keep the turnover margin a little closer against this opponent.

Appalachian State didn’t look like they were in championship form last weekend. While SC State was no pushover, the Mountaineers won the game on a botched special teams play that should have put the Bulldogs in the lead. The App State defense may be on track, but the offense is not clicking. Dropped passes, Armanti’s health, and other factors have me questioning them a bit this week.

Richmond Spiders 24  Appalachian State Mountaineers 17

 

New Hampshire @ (2) Villanova

This game features a rematch of a great regular season CAA matchup. The Wildcats faced off the first time on October 10th in Durham, NH. Each team finished with 1 turnover and New Hampshire pulled out a 28-24 win to give Villanova their lone loss on the year.

Last weekend Villanova faced a Holy Cross team that liked to air it out. The Wildcat defense gave up 393 yards and allowed 28 points. Luckily the Villanova offense was up to the task and put up 38 points of their own while piling up 537 yards of total offense.  Villanova’s offense has remained balance all season. If they continue to stay balance and keep turnovers to a minimum, they will be in this game until the end. 

For the other Wildcats, last weekend was a little bit different. New Hampshire flew home from Louisiana with a 49-13 win over McNeese State. Despite only having one turnover, the Cowboy offense only managed 13 points on 326 yards of offense. New Hampshire controlled the field position game all day. 

I don’t think either one of these teams holds a real strong home field advantage. I expect a game very similar to the first match-up, and I also expect the same result.

New Hampshire Wildcats 31   Villanova Wildcats 24

 

William and Mary at (3) Southern Illinois

After watching the 2009 season unfold, I think this is the closest game of the quarterfinals. William and Mary is easily interchangeable with any of the 4 seeds, their only losses in close games to Richmond and Villanova. 

Southern Illinois had it easy last week, pounding on a weak Eastern Illinois team. The Salukis pounded the Panthers 48-7. William and Mary also too it easy last week and humiliated Weber State 38-0. Both of these teams should come into the game well rested.

The story of this game is SIU RB Deji Karim. His success will be a large factor in who wins this game. That said, both teams are very solid on offense and defense.

I think that the little things decide the winner of this game: Specials teams, turnovers, field position, weather. Travel may also come into play for the Tribe.

Southern Illinois Salukis 21  William and Mary Tribe 20

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