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