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In the FCS Huddle: Week 4 Preview

9:38 AM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - What's in the recipe for a good rivalry?

Is it the proximity between two teams and what city or state they call home, a la Boston and New York? Is it based on an occurrence in the past that may have caused ill feelings toward one another?

The answer is likely a mixture of those things sprinkled into one concoction, some more prevalent than others.

But in the FCS, with so many programs located in the eastern half of the country, how do western teams develop and refine a rivalry? Perhaps the Big Sky and Southland conferences, with no real geographic location similarities other than being located on the western side of the FCS map, have found a way to make it work.

The last few seasons are prime examples. Take Sam Houston State, a team that has been to back-to-back national championships. The Bearkats were able to reach the national plateau by taking down some pretty formidable opponents.

Opponents from the Big Sky Conference.

Last season, Sam Houston State advanced past Cal Poly, Montana State and Eastern Washington in consecutive weeks to reach the national title game. How about in 2011? The Bearkats defeated Montana State and Montana before losing in the title game.

Without natural non-conferences rivals to play week in and week out, it seems logical that two conferences with a longstanding history and recent playoff feud should be entwined in such a way.

"It's always tough down in our region to find FCS games to play. There just aren't a whole lot of FCS schools down this way," Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz said. "So the more that we can get out and play top-notch teams in other conferences throughout the nation I think is very good for the Southland Conference."

While the Bearkats face future Southland opponent Incarnate Word on Saturday, it's hard to believe the team isn't looking past this weekend just a bit to its next matchup against Eastern Washington in Huntsville, Texas - one of the more highly anticipated games this season.

In 2009, Stephen F. Austin contributed to the building blocks of a conference rivalry by knocking Eastern Washington out of the playoffs on its way to being eliminated by Montana of, you guessed it, the Big Sky Conference.

The Lumberjacks can pile on to that rivalry this weekend, when the team hosts third-ranked Montana State in Nacogdoches. Bobcats coach Rob Ash is very aware of the importance of this game, not just for the team's record, but looking ahead to possible playoff seeding.

"This is a key matchup, not just for Montana State and Stephen F. Austin, but for our respective conferences," Ash said. "It stems out of the last two or three years the fact that we've run into that conference so frequently in the playoffs. It seems like the NCAA playoff selection committee seems to pair us up. I suppose it does have a geographical base, although we're not really that close.

"But we've played Sam Houston a couple of times. Montana has played Sam Houston a couple of times. Cal Poly has played them, Eastern has played those guys in the playoffs. Stephen F. Austin played Montana in the playoffs three or four years ago. McNeese has been against our teams in the playoffs many times. So I think the rivalry kind of stems out of the fact that we frequently run into Southland teams early and often in the playoffs."

Stephen F. Austin coach J.C. Harper said he's thankful teams like Montana State are willing to make the trip down to Texas to contribute to this growing rivalry.

"I think that it's a really great thing we have going on, kind of similar to the Big 10 and Pac-12 this past weekend," Harper said. "When you break down the NCAA playoffs and they go by regions, us being in the West region with the Big Sky, I think it makes it where there's kind of like a rivalry. ... It's really neat to see such great teams come to Nacogdoches in east Texas, so we're very thankful."

Regardless of what the score is once the final whistle blows, both Ash and Harper will have enjoyed the competition between two FCS power conferences with a rapidly growing reputation for knocking each other's teeth out come playoff time.

The following is a game-by-game breakdown for The Sports Network FCS Top 25 and other select games (all times ET):

Saturday, Sept. 21

Columbia (0-0) at No. 21 Fordham (3-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

What to know: There's so much more to this game than just football. Fordham and Columbia meet annually to battle for the Liberty Cup between two of the three Division I institutions in New York City that sponsors football. The Liberty Cup was born in 2002, and is designed to honor alumni as well as members of the various New York state agencies whose lives were lost in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The host school donates the proceeds of the game to a scholarship fund. Ultimately, those proceeds come from supporters itching to see this anticipated game.

This is Columbia's first game of the season, and the Lions face a Fordham team that has recently moved into the Top 25 with three seriously impressive wins over two CAA Football opponents and one FBS program (Temple).

The Lions are impressed by their Stanford transfer quarterback Brett Nottingham, but Fordham has weapons of its own. Quarterback Michael Nebrich and running back Carlton Koonce are just two of Fordham's standouts this season. And with the especially difficult portion of the schedule behind them, the Rams are looking ahead to a possible playoff bid if the winning continues.

Prediction: Fordham 34, Columbia 14

Jacksonville State (3-0) at Georgia State (0-3)

Kickoff: 2 p.m.

What to know: It's tough for any team in the Ohio Valley Conference to compete right now with what Eastern Illinois is doing, but let's remember Jacksonville State is also 3-0.

Sure, the Gamecocks needed two overtimes to finish off Division II North Alabama last Saturday, and haven't faced anything close to what they'll see on Nov. 16 when they travel to face Eastern Illinois. But this weekend's matchup with FBS opponent Georgia State could yield another Jacksonville State victory.

The Panthers are 0-3, and have lost twice at the Georgia Dome to FCS programs (Samford in Week 1 and Chattanooga Week 2). Last weekend, they were tormented by West Virginia, 41-7.

Prediction: Jacksonville State 28, Georgia State 20

No. 4 Towson (3-0) at North Carolina Central (2-1)

Kickoff: 2 p.m.

What to know: Towson is one of two unbeaten teams in the CAA and is very serious about winning the conference outright and receiving an automatic bid to the playoffs. Especially after last year's disappointment when the selection committee decided not to include the Tigers, this year's Towson team isn't taking any chances at missing the postseason again.

And realistically, there aren't many ways to stop Terrance West. It's possible to limit him, but stopping him is near impossible. Delaware State did a decent job of limiting him to 82 rushing yards, but look again, West had five rushing touchdowns.

North Carolina Central is absolutely a tough Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference opponent, but no match for Towson, which has scored 49 points in its last two games. With Bethune-Cookman facing FBS Florida State this weekend, a loss to Towson shouldn't set North Carolina Central any further back in the MEAC pecking order.

Prediction: Towson 38, North Carolina Central 20

Southern Illinois (1-2) vs. Southeast Missouri State (0-2)

Kickoff: 2 p.m. at Busch Stadium in St. Louis

What to know: This is the first football game being played in Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. That's big news to the 26 players on Southeast Missouri's roster who are from the greater metropolitan St. Louis area.

Junior receiver Mike Cyliax is from St. Louis, and grew up watching the Cardinals play, and said he is very much looking forward to playing in the stadium with his family and friends in attendance.

The Redhawks can't just take it all in, though. There's still a football game to be played, and Southern Illinois is coming off a lopsided win over Charleston (W.V.), in which the Salukis totaled 450 yards of offense. Three running backs carried the ball over 10 times last Saturday and will likely work again against a patchy Redhawks defense.

Prediction: Southern Illinois 24, Southeast Missouri State 14

Oklahoma Panhandle State (1-2) at No. 9 Montana (2-0)

Kickoff: 3 p.m.

What to know: Montana has one more task before the Grizzlies sink their teeth into the Big Sky portion of their schedule. Oklahoma Panhandle State stands in the way before that happens.

Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson had a record week for the Grizzlies in a 55-17 rout of North Dakota last Saturday. The junior completed 15 of his 19 pass attempts for 354 yards and five touchdowns, with an efficiency rating of 322.3. In other words, look out Panhandle State.

Couple Jordan Canada's 104-yard, two-touchdown performance to Johnson's stats and you get a one-sided victory. The Grizzlies also held North Dakota receiver Greg Hardin, who led the nation entering Week 3 with 370 receiving yards, to just 46 on five receptions.

Montana should roll right by Panhandle State in this one. For reference, the Aggies lost in their opening week to another FCS squad Lamar, 75-0.

Prediction: Montana 52, Oklahoma Panhandle State 7

Harvard (0-0) at San Diego (1-1)

Kickoff: 3 p.m.

What to know: Welcome to the party, Ivy League.

It's the traditional mid-September start for the Ivies and Harvard makes the cross-country trek to face the Pioneer Football League's Toreros, who are coming off a bye. San Diego was picked as the favorites to win the PFL's first automatic bid to the FCS postseason, but have a challenge this weekend against Harvard.

The Crimson will have to handle Mason Mills, who passed for 313 yards and three touchdowns in the Toreros' win over Western New Mexico two weeks ago, and also the efficient run game. Joe Ferguson impressed in Week 2 with 156 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Bug Rivera added a score on the ground.

What Harvard has going at the moment is the element of surprise. There is no game film or scouting report from last week on the Crimson, so San Diego will have to overpower them the best way it knows how.

Prediction: San Diego 21, Harvard 14

No. 16 Stony Brook (1-1, 1-0 CAA) at No. 20 Villanova (0-2, 0-0)

Kickoff: 3 p.m.

What to know: This game could be the matchup of the week, depending on which Villanova team shows up. Or, possibly, the Villanova team we've seen this year is the only side to the program.

The Wildcats have underperformed immensely through their two games, but have also suffered an excruciating number of injuries to some key players. The bye week they just had may have cleared up a few bruises and got the team back on track.

Stony Brook is coming off a five-overtime loss to FBS Buffalo and is looking forward to its first matchup with Villanova as a CAA member. One of the main reasons Villanova hasn't been successful through two games is due to the lack of its high-powered rushing attack. Neither quarterback John Robertson nor tailback Kevin Monangai has eclipsed the net 100-yard mark in a game, which is unusual.

This game is one to keep an eye on. Can Stony Brook knock Villanova, which started the season ranked fifth in the country, out of the Top 25?

Prediction: Villanova 27, Stony Brook 21

No. 6 South Dakota State (3-0) at Nebraska (2-1)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.

What to know: The good news for South Dakota State is that UCLA just went into Nebraska's Memorial Stadium and dismantled the Cornhuskers, 41-21. Maybe that took some wind out of the Huskers' sails.

The Jackrabbits will need yet another solid performance out of Zach Zenner, the nation's leading rusher with 540 yards (not just the FCS, Zenner has more yards through three weeks than anyone on the FBS, Division II and Division III levels). His nine total touchdowns through three games will need to continue against Nebraska.

On the other hand, the Huskers defense has allowed 163.7 yards per game to opposing running backs and held them to just three touchdowns through three games. Warm that arm up, Austin Sumner. If Nebraska can cancel out your running game, looks like you'll be taking to the air frequently.

Prediction: Nebraska 34, South Dakota State 21

Delaware State (0-2) at No. 1 North Dakota State (2-0)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.

What to know: What's more dangerous than this North Dakota State team? How about a North Dakota State team coming off a bye week?

Traditionally, bye weeks are better served after more than two games have been played, although injuries tend to occur more often in the early season when players are still getting into playing shape. So with an extra week of rest, the Bison should be set to go this Saturday in Fargo, the site of this weekend's ESPN "College Gameday" show.

Give credit to Delaware State for being a MEAC team that scheduled some extremely tough competition in the early season, with opponents like Delaware, Towson and NDSU. Maybe seeing this talented opposition will help out when the Hornets get into their conference schedule, but for the third straight week we can expect another DSU loss.

Prediction: North Dakota State 48, Delaware State 13

No. 7 Northern Iowa (2-0) at Northern Colorado (1-2)

Kickoff:3:35 p.m.

What to know: Northern Iowa is another team coming off an early bye week looking to build on its early season success, and a game with Northern Colorado should be a nice way to ease back into the team's schedule.

The Bears have dropped two straight contests against Wyoming and Colorado State-Pueblo, and have relied heavily on their passing game in those losses. That's OK with the Panthers, whose defense averages 188 yards per game to opponents' passing attacks (and has allowed just three touchdowns through the air this season).

Northern Colorado has had some problems hanging onto to the football as well, turning the ball over a combined five times in the team's two losses.

UNI's David Johnson should be able to continue his success on the ground. The junior is second in the nation with 171 rushing yards per game. His Panthers could easily be 3-0 for the first time since the 2007 season.

Prediction: Northern Iowa 38, Northern Colorado 17

No. 22 Lehigh (2-0) at Princeton (0-0)

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

What to know: After two consecutive come-from-behind victories, Lehigh would probably like to get a decisive victory right about now to prove it's still tops in the Patriot League.

Monmouth put a nice scare into Lehigh last Saturday, although if someone looked only at the stat sheet from that game, it would appear to be more of a one-sided Mountain Hawks' victory. Lee Kurfis became the first receiver in Patriot League history to record consecutive games with 200-plus receiving yards. The one thing going for both Lehigh and Monmouth Saturday (or not going, from the defensive perspective) was the number of big plays. Four combined offensive touchdowns were scored from 20 yards or more.

That's what Princeton has to deal with this weekend. All eyes will likely be on Caraun Reid up the middle, who will try to disrupt Brandon Bialkowski's rhythm in the pocket. Let's see how the Mountain Hawks handle the fresh legs of Princeton.

Something to also keep in mind: the Mountain Hawks had to deal with the midweek arrest of a player and the suspension of four heading into the game.

Prediction: Lehigh 33, Princeton 24

Wagner (1-2) at Delaware (2-1)

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

What to know: Hopefully Wagner, last year's Northeast Conference champion, can put last week's loss to Syracuse out of its mind. A 54-0 beatdown sticks with anyone, regardless of the fact that it came at the hands of an ACC team.

But after two straight losses, the first of which to Division II Merrimack, the Seahawks can't be all that confident. Now consider that Delaware is 2-0 at home this season and has posted 93 points against its opponents at Delaware Stadium. And last week's loss to Navy was just a little blip on the radar.

Blue Hens quarterback Trent Hurley is enjoying a proficient season, throwing for 718 yards through his first three games, and is 60-of-85 on pass attempts.

The struggle for Wagner to find a set starter at quarterback continues, as Matt Misely saw the most action against 'Cuse. He completed 4-of-11 attempts for 11 yards, while Chris Andrews completed just one pass on eight attempts for 14 yards. The Delaware defense will be all over whichever quarterback is under center.

Prediction: Delaware 28, Wagner 17

Hampton (0-3) at No. 15 Coastal Carolina (3-0)

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

What to know: Can we just skip ahead to Oct. 19 when Coastal Carolina and Liberty meet up in Lynchburg? Both Liberty and Coastal are off to hot starts, but Coastal is the one ranked in the nation's Top 25 at 3-0. Liberty is currently 2-1 and faces Richmond. We'll get there.

Here's what you really need to know about this game: Hampton concedes an average of 200.7 rushing yards to opponents each game. Coastal's Lorenzo Taliaferro is sixth in the nation with a 139-yard average rushing per game and has scored five ground touchdowns.

Through three games, Hampton has been underwhelming, giving up an average of 34.3 points per game to opponents while scoring only 14.3 points per game.

Yes, a lot of stock will be put into the Oct. 19 game with Liberty to determine the supreme ruler of the Big South, but for now Coastal will stick ahead of the Flames as far as its record is concerned.

Prediction: Coastal Carolina 35, Hampton 17

No. 19 Bethune-Cookman (3-0) at Florida State (2-0)

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

What to know: For the second week in a row, Bethune-Cookman will take on an intra-state FBS squad. This matchup may not pan out the same way for the Wildcats, though.

Florida State enters Week 4 of the season ranked eighth in the FBS and has already disposed of Pittsburgh, 41-13, and Nevada, 62-7. The Seminoles are a very offensively based team, averaging 575 total yards per game. It will be quite the task for the Wildcats to try to handle the speed Florida State's players possess.

The bright side for BC-U is that this game is just a test and ultimately a loss won't count against the team in the MEAC standings. The Wildcats, who beat FIU last week, get a week off after playing Florida State, then start up conference play with Delaware State.

Prediction: Florida State 52, Bethune-Cookman 18

Liberty (2-1) at No. 23 Richmond (1-2)

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

What to know: The Kent State game aside, Liberty finally gets an opponent that will test its durability and skill. Richmond is a bit wounded coming off a 12-10 loss to Gardner-Webb, one of Liberty's Big South foes.

The Flames will make the short trip to Richmond for the first time, but, more importantly, it's the first time Richmond coach Danny Rocco will face his former Liberty squad, which he coached for six seasons. Should Richmond drop to 1-3, the Spiders would have to make serious headway into their CAA schedule to battle back and earn a playoff bid.

Liberty didn't need an especially big performance from anyone last week. Josh Woodrum barely cracked the 100-yard passing mark (101 on the day), while Desmond Rice was three yards shy of 100 rushing (though he did score three touchdowns on the ground).

The Spiders boast the sixth-best scoring defense in the nation , however, averaging 11.7 points per game to its opposition. Richmond will have to accumulate more on the offensive side to avoid a 1-3 start and a probable drop from the Top 25.

Prediction: Liberty 25, Richmond 20

Charlotte (2-1) at No. 17 James Madison (2-1)

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

What to know: Charlotte started the season strong, posting two decisive wins over Campbell and Chowan. But perhaps those wins were a bit deceptive, especially after seeing the 49ers get demolished by North Carolina Central last Saturday.

As a startup football program, Charlotte was out to almost a surprising start behind freshman quarterback Matt Johnson, who threw for eight touchdowns in the first two weeks. But against N.C. Central, Johnson was a turnover machine, tossing five interceptions.

The opponents keep getting tougher for Charlotte. James Madison, led by linebacker Stephon Robertson, will force the 49ers into mistakes. And if Idreis Augustus can scamper for two touchdowns for N.C. Central, imagine what Dae'Quan Scott will be able to do carrying the ball.

Expect the growing pains to continue for Charlotte, which looks to move up to the FBS level in a couple years.

Prediction: James Madison 32, Charlotte 14

No. 3 Montana State (2-1) at Stephen F. Austin (1-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

What to know: The Bobcats fared very well under the new leadership of sophomore quarterback Jake Bleskin in Saturday's home win over Colorado Mesa. By now, the nation is aware of DeNarius McGhee's separated shoulder and rough timeframe for recovery, which leaves Bleskin with some anticipated playing time ahead. This week will be his first real test.

Stephen F. Austin enters Saturday's matchup just 1-2 on the year, but as one of the more explosive offensive teams in the country. The Lumberjacks average 516.7 yards of offense and 34.3 points per game behind quarterback Brady Attaway. The Montana State defense will be busy trying to limit him and top receiver Mike Brooks.

The all-time series between these two teams stands at 4-1 in favor of Montana State, but in Nacogdoches the teams are knotted up, 1-1. The goal here for the Bobcats, as simple-minded as it may sound, will be for the offense to outgain and outscore the Lumberjacks offense. In other words, if Bleskin can keep pace with Attaway, the Bobcats won't have much trouble.

Both of these teams are capable of producing, so it will come down to which one makes the fewest mistakes.

Prediction: Montata State 31, Stephen F. Austin 24

Incarnate Word (2-1) at No. 5 Sam Houston State (2-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

What to know: You think it will be hard for the Bearkats not to look past Incarnate Word to their matchup with Eastern Washington on Sept. 28?

It'll be difficult, that's for sure. But Sam Houston State will do well to pay close attention to the Cardinals because they'll be joining the Southland Conference at the start of next season. Still, with such an anticipated contest on the horizon, the Bearkats may have a bit of tunnel vision.

That's not to say Sam Houston is on upset alert this weekend. The Bearkats will do just fine against a Cardinals team that lost its only Southland matchup (and FCS matchup, for that matter) to Central Arkansas, 58-7.

Though the Cardinals are allowing just 41.7 yards rushing to opponents this season, they haven't faced Timothy Flanders yet. Flanders, about to become the Southland's all-time leading rusher, is currently 14th in the nation in rushing yards per game with 109.7. If he can do damage against the Texas A&M defense (170 yards, two touchdowns), he should be able to make a significant dent against UIW.

Prediction: Sam Houston State 50, Incarnate Word 13

No. 13 Central Arkansas (1-2) at Missouri State (0-3)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

What to know: It's the battle of the Bears, although this one may be a little lopsided.

The Missouri State Bears actually hold a 3-1 advantage in Springfield over the Central Arkansas Bears, but this year the scale is not tilted in Missouri State's favor.

Missouri State did just get a phenomenal performance out of running back Vernon Scott (189 yards, two touchdowns) in a heartbreaking loss to Murray State in the final minute of regulation. Although Central Arkansas was upset last week by UT Martin, that shouldn't happen again.

This season, Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers hasn't looked entirely comfortable without his two favorite receivers from a year ago. He's thrown five interceptions in the team's last two games. This underperforming UCA squad needs this game against a struggling Missouri State team to get things back on track and the record back to .500.

Prediction: Central Arkansas 42, Missouri State 23

No. 8 Eastern Illinois (3-0) at Northern Illinois (2-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

What to know: Eastern Illinois isn't much of a surprise anymore. Not that the Panthers are stunning anyone with their early season success, but the way in which they've won games has been taking some spectators aback.

Everyone knew about the dynamic duo of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and wide receiver Erik Lora before the season began. But whatever expectation you had prior to the season, regardless of how big or small that expectation was, the two have blown it out of the water to date. That's a fact.

Now Eastern has a chance at really proving its ability against FBS Northern Illinois. This could be the second win over an FBS squad for the Panthers after downing San Diego State in Week 1. Though Northern Illinois holds a 24-10-1 series lead, you can't deny Eastern's hot streak offensively versus its previous three opponents. NIU seems like the best choice here because of its FBS status, but the game may be closer than people think.

Prediction: Northern Illinois 45, Eastern Illinois 38

South Dakota (1-1) at No. 25 Northern Arizona (1-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

What to know: Although South Dakota was picked to finish last in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, this team isn't one of those bottom-feeding, underachieving squads that will be a pushover. The Coyotes aren't about to give up on what will be an up-and-down season.

The reason for any up and down the team might experience is due to its difficult schedule. The Coyotes face Northern Iowa, Illinois State, Youngstown State, Montana, South Dakota State, and North Dakota State IN A ROW to close out the season. Come on, how is that fair?

Throw in this matchup with No. 25-ranked Northern Arizona and you get one character-building schedule. Although the Lumberjacks haven't seen the production they'd like out of running back Zach Bauman this season, the team as a whole has been efficient enough to maintain its early 1-1 record.

The Lumberjacks should be able to jump above the .500 mark in this one.

Prediction: Northern Arizona 27, South Dakota 14

Gardner-Webb (2-1) at No. 10 Wofford (2-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

What to know: This Gardner-Webb team is flying pretty high after its 12-10 upset over Richmond last Saturday. The celebration seems pretty quick, though, because the Runnin' Bulldogs have to turn around and face yet another Top 25 opponent in Week 4 in Wofford.

And if Gardner-Webb is hot, Wofford is on fire. The Terriers rebounded after an embarrassing Week 1 loss to Baylor to defeat The Citadel and Georgia Southern in back-to-back weeks. It seems the Terriers have rightfully moved into the Top 10 after some offensive uncertainty to start the season.

In last week's win over Georgia Southern, the Terriers did a great job limiting the unbelievably explosive Eagles' rushing attack to just (using "just" loosely) 342 yards. If Wofford could limit the Eagles to 20 points while managing to score 30 against one of the better teams in the country, Gardner-Webb shouldn't be too much of a task.

Prediction: Wofford 28, Gardner-Webb 15

Tennessee State (2-1, 0-0 OVC) at Tennessee Tech (2-1, 0-0)

Kickoff: 8 p.m.

What to know: Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State meet up in this early season Ohio Valley Conference matchup, then rebound next weekend with non-conference schedules again. And there's a lot at stake in this one.

Both teams enter this game 2-1 - Tennessee State having only lost by a field goal to Bethune-Cookman in the first week, and Tennessee Tech to FBS powerhouse Wisconsin. Both teams are looking to compete with Eastern Illinois, the OVC favorite.

We know Tennessee State's defense is strong, last weekend giving up 16 points to Jackson State - the most points surrendered in a single game by the Tigers, who have played some of the top teams from the MEAC (Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M) and SWAC (Jackson State). Tennessee Tech has enjoyed the luxury of a light schedule, but that will change with the Tigers on Saturday.

Prediction: Tennessee State 27, Tennessee Tech 14

Weber State (1-2) at No. 12 McNeese State (3-0)

Kickoff: 8 p.m.

What to know: As if getting blown out wasn't enough of a demoralizer for Weber State, the Wildcats capped their 70-6 loss to Utah State on another down note.

After scoring their first and only touchdown of the game against the Aggies with 50 seconds remaining in regulation (to make the score 70-6), the Wildcats had their extra point attempt blocked. The proverbial kick when the team was already down.

Now the Wildcats have to turn around and face McNeese State, a team with the second-best scoring offense in the FCS. That doesn't bode well for Weber State, since the Wildcats have the second-worst scoring defense in the FCS.

In Weber State's only win this season, the Wildcats still gave up 40 points to Stephen F. Austin. While McNeese State averages 51.7 points per game, Weber State allows an average of 60 per game. How's that for a chops-licking matchup for McNeese State?

Prediction: McNeese State 55, Weber State 21

Idle Teams:

No. 2. Eastern Washington (2-1)

No. 11. New Hampshire (1-1)

No. 14. Georgia Southern (2-1)

No. 18. Cal Poly (1-2)

No. 24. UT Martin (2-1)

Last Week's Record: 15-8 (.652)

Season Record: 49-24 (.671)

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