Weekend Recap: Sam Houston Rallies, James Madison Survives, Alabama A&M Stumbles

October 3, 2021 by Staff

Eastern Washington outscored Montana 24-7 in the 4th quarter to rally for a 34-28 win in Cheney. The Big Sky matchup featured a pair of Top 8 teams in the FCS Congrove Computer Rankings with the homestanding Eagles ranked 8th and the visiting Griz ranked 4th. Both teams entered the contest with 4-0 marks.

On one of the best matchups of the weekend, No. 4 Montana at No. 8 Eastern Washington, was in the second quarter at the time of this last update.

No. 3 Sam Houston State faced off against Stephen F. Austin at NRG Stadium in Houston where the Bearkats, defending national champs and 13.5-point favorites, needed to rally for a 21-20 win. Trapper Pannell scored the winning points on a 4-yard run with 2:37 remaining in the game. Stephen F. Austin missed a 51-yard filed goal with 46 seconds left on the ensuing possession. The Battle of Piney Woods has been dominated by the Bearcats in recent history as they've taken each of the last 10 meetings. Sam Houston now has an over-all lead in the series of 58-35-2, including 18-3 since 2000.

No. 1 James Madison escaped a visit to New Hampshire with a 23-21 win as a 24-point favorite.

Meanwhile, a rivalry that began in 1894 was played for the second time in a little over 5 months as No. 2 North Dakota State won 16-10 at No. 20 North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks lead the series 62-49-3.

No. 5 South Dakota State covered a 45-point spread with a 55-7 romp over Dixie State. The Trailblazers averted the shutout by scoring with just 6 seconds left in the game.

No. 7 Montana State romped 40-7 over visiting Northern Colorado.

No. 9 Alabama A&M, previously unbeaten and defending SWAC champions, was upset 37-28 at 7-point dog Grambling State. The Bulldogs entered the game as a 7-pointy favorite.

No. 11 Southern Illinois needed overtime to win 31-30 at Western Illinois as the homestanding Leathernecks went for 2 and failed in the bottom half of the extra period. The Salukis were favored by 15-1/2.

No. 12 Delaware subdued a strong challenge by Albany with a 20-15 home win over the Great Danes.

South Carolina State grabbed a 42-7 lead, then held off a furious Bethune-Cookman rally that came up short in a 42-35 win for the Bullodgs. The Wildcats scored 28 points in the 4th quarter.

SE Louisiana fended off a late McNeese State rally and held on to beat the Cowboys 38-35.

A 77-yard TD pass with 10:46 left in the game proved to be the game-winning points as ETSU rallied for the 27-21 home win over Wofford. The Terriers turned the ball over on downs with 28 seconds left at the Buccaneer's 49 to quell a last-minute comeback attempt.

Jacksonville State, which upset Florida State back on September 11, were blown out 31-6 at No. 19 Kennesaw State on Saturday for a second straight loss that dropped the Gamecocks to 2-3.

Mercer, ranked 24th by the computer, improved to 3-1 with a 45-42 home win over a Samford squad that was ranked 31st.

The computer hit on opposite picks of Morehead State over Dayton (45-38), Duquesne over Merrimack (37-14), Bryant over Brown (36-29), Portland State over Southern Utah (20-13), and Central Arkansas over Abilene Christian (42-21).

There were plenty of other upsets. Tennessee State was a 24.5-point underdog at Austin Peay, but won 24-22 for a 26.5-point flip. Elon, a 12.5-point underdog at Richmond, flipped the spread by 25.5 points with a 20-7 upset victory. Tennessee Tech also flipped the spread by 25.5 with its 28-17 upset win at home over SEMO. Howard was a 22-17 upset winner at home over 4-point favorite Sacred Heart, and Marist edged Valparaiso 27-24 as an 11.5-point underdog. In addition, MVSU was a17-16 home winner over North Carolina Central as a 17.5-point underdog in the sportbooks, but just a 1.66-point computer underdog.

In other Saturday action, The Citadel knocked off VMI 35-24 and Chattanooga blasted Western Carolina 45-17, Monmouth ripped Gardner-Webb 54-17, and San Diego pocketed its first victory of the year (1-4) with a 27-24 victory over visiting St. Thomas.

Dartmouth, as a 7-point favorite, tore up Penn on its home field, 31-7 on Friday night.. The Big Green were a 9.55-point computer pick over the Quakers. The FCS football weekend kicked off the night before with Prairie View A&M prevailing at home by a 27-17 count over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.


2 teams will play 2 FCS teams this fall (UConn and UMass), and 115 teams will play 1 FCS school for a total of 117 such matchups.

105 of those 117 games have already been played and the FBS is 95-10. Since we began tracking this in 2003, the FBS teams are now 1,564-138 (.919).

No FCS vs. FBS games were played this week, but Texas Southern faced NAIA member North American.

Last year, 30 FBS teams played a total of just 34 games against FCS schools and the FCS won just 1 game (1-33). That honor also went to Jacksonville State with its 19-10 victory over FIU.

Here are the FCS wins in 2021:
September 2: UC Davis 19, Tulsa 17
September 2: Eastern Washington 35, UNLV 33 (2 OT)
September 3: South Dakota State 42, Colorado State 23
September 4: Holy Cross 38, UConn 28
September 4: Montana 13, Washington 7
September 4: ETSU 23, Vanderbilt 3
September 11: Duquesne 28, Ohio 26
September 11: Jacksonville State 20, Florida State 17.
September 18: Incarnate Word 42, Texas State 34.
September 18: Northern Arizona 21, Arizona 19

This was the only FCS win vs. the FBS in 2020:
October 23: Jacksonville State 19, FIU 10

In 2019, FBS teams were 111-3 (.974) in such games. These were the only FCS wins that season:
August 29: Central Arkansas 35, Western Kentucky 28
September 7: Southern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 20
September 14: The Citadel 27, Georgia Tech 24 (OT)


SAM HOUSTON STATE - Won 15 straight games overall (FCS longest).
Last: Won 21-20 vs. Stephen F. Austin in Houston on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Next: Hosts Lamar on Saturday, Oct. 9.

JAMES MADISON - Won 19 straight home games (tied with Eastern Washington for FCS longest), 16 straight conference games (FCS longest).
Last: Won 23-21 at New Hampshire on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Next: Hosts Villanova on Saturday, Oct. 9.

PRINCETON - Won 9 straight road games (FCS longest).
Last: Won 24-7 at home vs. Columbia on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Next: Visits Monmouth on Saturday, Oct. 9.

TEXAS SOUTHERN - Ended a 19-game overall losing streak (FCS longest) with a 69-0 win over NAIA member North American. The Tigers still own a 13-game conference losing streak (FCS longest).
Last: Won 69-0 at home vs. North American (NAIA) on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Next: vs. Southern at Arlington on Saturday, Oct. 9.

MVSU - Lost 18 straight road games (FCS longest).
Last: Won 17-16 at home over North Carolina Central on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Next: Visits Bethune-Cookman on Saturday, Oct. 9.