Weekend Recap: Mercer Pulls Off Upset; VMI Rallies To Improve to 5-0

March 28, 2021 by Staff

Mercer was among the relatively few upset winners on Saturday as the 61st-ranked Bears (Congrove Computer Rankings) downed No. 14 Chattanooga 35-28. Mercer led by as much as 28-7, but a pair of lightning delays stretched the last 6-1/2 minutes to over two hours. The Mocs fell to 3-2, 3-1 while Mercer improved to 3-5, 3-2.

Monmouth finally kicked off its spring season and did so in victorious fashion, knocking off Charleston Southern 35-17.  The No. 3 Hawks had their season openers at Robert Morris and Gardner-Webb postponed due to Covid issues within both of those programs.  The Bucs fell to 0-2 overall and in Big South play, Monmouth was a 3-point underdog with the sportsbooks, but a 16.93-point favorite in the Congrove Computer Rankings.

Bucknell also played its first game of the spring season and the Bison rolled to a 38-13 win at home over the Lafayette Leopards which fell to 1-1. Bucknell was a 6-point underdog by the oddsmakers, but a 2.44-point computer favorite.

Other upsets on Saturday saw Stony Brook knock off Albany 21-7, and Missouri State upend Southern Illinois 30-27.

On Sunday, No. 36 Austin Peay upset No. 11 Jacksonville State 13-10, snapping the 7-game winning streak of the Gamecocks that stretched back to October. The Governors improved to 3-2 this spring after an 0-3 record in the fall against Central Arkansas, and FBS members Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Austin Peay was listed as a 10.5-point underdog in the sportsbooks, but a 3.03-point computer favorite.

Also on Sunday, No. 50 Tennessee-Martin was upset 26-24 at No. 80 ennessee State. The Skyhawks were a 9.5-point favorite by the oddsmakers.

On the morning of the game, top-ranked North Dakota State had to cancel its contest at South Dakota due to a positive Covid test with Tier 1 personnel. No common date for a makeup game is available.

Also on the day of the game, Wagner had to call off its home game versus Sacred Heart for the same reason. It was the last scheduled game for Sacred Heart, but it is expected to be made up. It's the first time Sacred Heart (2-1) has had to deal with a postponement, but the second time for Wagner which also had its season opener on March 7th at Merrimack get scrapped. That contest will be made up this Friday night (4/2).

Meanwhile, 2nd-ranked James Madison swung back into action with ferocity after missing two straight games due to Covid issues within its own program. The Dukes (4-0, 2-0 CAA) scored touchdown on their first four possessions to own a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 28-3 halftime advantage. JMU is the No. 1 team in the STATS FCS voter poll.

4th-ranked Kennesaw State had its game at Gardner-Webb canceled due to Covid issues within the GWU program that have caused two straight games to be scratched.

No. 5 Montana doesn't take to the field until April 10th versus D2 opponent Central Washington. The Griz also have a date with No. 8 Portland State on April 17th which is the only game on the Vikings' scheduled.

A 50-yard Hail Mary lifted No. 6 Weber State to a 28-23 win at Northern Arizona as the No. 6 Wildcats (3-0, 3-0 Big Sky) avoided the upset loss to the Lumberjacks (1-2, 1-2). The pass from Randall Johnson was hauled-in as time expired by Justin Malone in the middle of the end zone.

No. 7 South Dakota State was idle, thanks to Illinois State opting-out for the remainder of the spring season.

No. 9 Sam Houston State had the weekend off and returns to play Thursday night in Natchitoches against Northwestern State.

No. 10 San Diego took a 24-7 lead at Presbyterian, then held on for the 24-21 win. The Blue Hose cut the deficit to 3 with 41 seconds remaining but the Toreros recovered the onside kick.

A 7-yard TD pass with 7 seconds left gave Southern Utah its 3rd last-minute loss during this spring season. This time, the Thunderbirds were victimized by Idaho, 33-32. Three weeks ago, Idaho State edged Southern Utah, 26-24, on a 30-yard field goal with 5 seconds left. A week prior to that defeat, SUU dropped a 34-33 decision at Northern Arizona by giving up a 2-yard TD pass on the final play of that game.

Dylan Sparks' 9-yard run with 2:59 remaining tied the score for Davidson, and Caden Bonoffski's 32-yard field goal as time expired gave the Wildcats a wild 24-21 comeback win at home over Morehead State. In between those plays, Andrew Foster's 45-yard field goal attempt for Morehead State hit the right upright with 1:33 to play. Davidson improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 after the Pioneer League confrontation while the Eagles dropped to 1-3, 1-2.

VMI is 5-0 for the first time since 1960 after a 36-31 comeback win over Wofford in Spartanburg. The game-winning points came on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Seth Morgan to Jakob Herres with 35 ticks left on the clock.

After an 0-3 fall, Missouri State has won 4 of its last 5 with Saturday's 30-27 comeback victory at home over Southern Illinois. Jose Pizano's 33-yard field goal as time expired gave the 10.5-point underdogs their third straight win as the Bewars improved to 4-4 overall and 4-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference for the 2020-2021 season while the Salukis fell to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in MVFC play.

Trent Tomkins' 4-yard run with 8 seconds left propelled UC-Davis to a 31-27 win at home over Idaho State.

Meanwhile, the Alabama State game at Arkansas-Pine Bluff was canceled due to weather with the Hornets up 10-3 with 6:12 to play until halftime. The game will not be rescheduled and was ruled a 'no contest'. The first delay lasted nearly two hours and, shortly after the teams returned to practice, the lightning and storms intensified and prompted the cancellation.

The computer's opposite plays went 3-4 straight up, 4-3 against the spread:
MONMOUTH by 16.93 over Charles Southern (-3) - Monmouth won 35-17
STETSON by 6.92 over Drake (-19.5) - canceled
ELON by 3.60 over Richmond (10.5) - Richmond won 24-7
THE CITADEL by 3.93 over Samford (10.5) - Samford won 55-7
WOFFORD by 12.02 over Vmi (-6.5) - VMI won 36-31
BUCKNELL by 2.44 over Lafayette (-6) - Bucknell won 38-13

On Sunday, the computer had:
Austin Peay by 3.97 over JACKSONVILLE STATE (-10.5) - Austin Peay won 13-10
Merrimack by 6.63 over LIU (-4.5) - LIU won 31-20

SEE: Complete scores and picks