Recap Spring Week 3: North Dakota State Win Streak Ends at 39 On a Day of Multiple Upsets

February 28, 2021 by Staff

It was a wacky Saturday of college football in the FCS as half of the games played (10-of-20) were won by the underdog, including a 38-14 upset of top-ranked North Dakota State by Southern Illinois. The Salukis took a 17-0 lead with 55 seconds left before halftime and never let North Dakota State back into the game, ending the Bison's winning streak at 39 games. It also ended an 8-game losing streak for SIU vs. NDSU with the last victory occurring in 2009. A week ago, Southern Illinois had 5 turnovers in a 44-21 upset loss at North Dakota.

The Salukis weren't the only heavy underdog to defy the professional handicappers. In all, 4 teams flipped the spread by at least 39 points. The Salukis did so by 40.5 as they entered the game as a 16.5-point underdog,

Here are the other big opposite wins on Saturday:

- Dixie State over Tarleton State (-28.5) 26-14 --- flipped the spread by 40.5
- Gardner-Webb over Elon (-17.5) 42-20 --- flipped the spread by 39.5
- Incarnate Word over McNeese State (-11) 48-20 --- flipped the spread by 39
- VMI over Furman (-23.5) 14-13 --- flipped the spread by 24.5
- Mercer over The Citadel (-5.5) 42-28 --- flipped the spread by 19.5
- North Dakota over South Dakota State (-7.5) 28-17 --- flipped the spread by 18.5
- Chattanooga over Wofford (-3) 24-13 --- flipped the spread by 14
- South Dakota over Illinois State (-6) 27-20 --- flipped the spread by 13
- Idaho over Eastern Washington (-4.5) 28-21 --- flipped the spread by 11.5.

Southern and Alabama State kicked off spring week 3 on Friday night with the Jaguars edging the Hornets 24-21 in Montgomery. State held a 21-14 lead going in to the final period but was outscored 10-0. The Hornets had a chance to force overtime, but missed on a 44-yard FG attempt with 4 seconds left.

James Madison (2-0) outscored Robert Morris 20-0 in the second half to score a 36-16 win in Harrisonburg in a battle between CAA and SoCon schools. The visiting Colonials (0-1) held leads of 9-2 and 16-9 in the first half, and the score was knotted at 16 at the break.

UT-Chattanooga (1-0) snapped a 4-game losing streak to Wofford (0-1) on Saturday with its 24-13 win at home in the SoCon clash.  Two of those four losses had come in overtime and the 11-point margin of victory is the largest between these two schools since Chattanooga's 31-13 win in 2014.

Another SoCon upset saw VMI end a 5-game losing streak to Furman as the Keydets beat the Palladins 14-13 for just their second win in the series in the last 28 meetings.

Northern Iowa (1-1) rebounded from its last-minute loss at home to South Dakota State on opening weekend by hitting the road to blank Youngstown State 21-0. The Penguins (0-2) also fell last Sunday, 25-7, to North Dakota State.

Delaware State and Howard both opened their seasons with the Hornets stinging the Bison 17-10 in Dover. The schools will meet again on March 27 in Greene Stadium in the nation's capital.

Nicholls State had another easy day at the office. A week after crushing D-2 school Lincoln of Missouri 87-3, the Colonels shutout Lamar 55-0.

5 games were stricken from this week's slate:

- Cal Poly at UC Davis moved to March 20. Covid issues with Cal Poly.
- Rhode Island at Bryant. Covid issues at Bryant. No common makeup date.
- Mississippi Valley State at Jackson State moved to March 14. Covid issues with MVSU.
- Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling State at Dallas moved to March 13 at Arlington.
- Texas Southern at Arkansas-Pine Bluff moved to April 24. Issues still related to bad weather a week earlier.

Alabama A&M picked up a win without taking the field. The Bulldogs are one of 6 teams that will pocket an automatic victory after Alcorn State was a late opt-out of the Spring season.

Sunday's 4-game slate produced one more outright upset as homestanding Murray State defeated 6.5-point favorite UT-Martin 14-10 after along lightning delay. 

Other Sunday winners were Austin Peay (over Tennessee State 27-20), SEMO (at Eastern Illinois 41-7), and Jacksonville State (over Tennessee Tech 27-10).

How Preseason Playoff Picks Fared

Our season preview projected the 16-team NCAA Playoff Field. Here is how each selection is holding up.

*-Conference will hold a conference championship game to determine NCAA automatic qualifier.

Big South: Monmouth (0-0), did not play
Big Sky: Weber State (1-0), won 49-21 at Idaho State
CAA: James Madison (2-0), won 36-16 at home vs. Robert Morris
MVFC: North Dakota State (2-1), lost 38-14 at Southern Illinois - (Fall record, 1-0 vs. Central Arkansas)
*-NEC: Sacred Hart (0-0) over Duquesne (0-0) in conference c'ship game, neither team has yet to play
OVC: Southeast Missouri (1-0), won 47-7 at Eastern Illinois - (Fall record, 0-1 vs. Southern Illinois)
*-Patriot: Holy Cross (0-0) over Lafayette (0-0) in conference c'ship game, neither team has yet tom play
Pioneer: San Diego (0-0), did not play
SoCon: Furman (0-1), lost 14-13 at VMI
Southland: Sam Houston State (1--0), won 43-38 at home over SE Louisiana

Wofford (SoCon), (0-1), Lost 24-13 at Chattanooga
Albany (CAA), (0-0), did not play
Northern Iowa (MVFC), (1-1), Won 21-0 at Youngstown State
Nicholls State (Southland) (2-0), Won 55-0 at home over Lamar
Kennesaw State (Big South) (1-0), won 35-3 over Shorter (D-2)
Austin Peay (OVC), (1-0), won 27-20 at home over Tennessee State- (Fall record (0-3 vs. Central Arkansas, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati)

SWAC CHAMPIONSHIP (Does not participate in NCAA Playoff): Prairie View A&M (0-0) over Alabama A&M (1-0, forfeit by Alcorn State)


SEE: Picks and Scores