FCS Uprising: Seven Teams Triumph on Opening Weekend

 

It happens from time to time each college football season. A school from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, aka "Divison 1-AA) takes a game against a team from the Football Bowl Subdivision for paycheck and then plays the game of their life as a team and beat their gracious hosts.

Well this weekend, it happened a grand total of seven times, and it included a team ranked in the Top 25 this preseason and a team that went to a BCS bowl game last season. A couple of the games were absolute routs as well.

Let's take a quick look at the games that caused Twitter jokes to fly fast and furious.

 

Eastern Washington 49, No. 25 Oregon State 46: Sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams led his team right into Reser Stadium and put on an absolute show. Adams accounted for 518 yards of offense (the Eagles finished with 625 yards of offense), throwing for 411 and rushing for 107 as the Eagles pulled off the monumental upset 49-46. The game was sealed when Oregon State's kicker Trevor Romaine missed a 52 yard attempt at the final gun. The Eagles, who were ranked fourth in the preseason FCS poll, became the third FCS team ever to beat a ranked FCS squad. James Madison (over Virginia Tech in 2010) and Appalachian State (over Michigan in 2007) are the others.

North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21: The North Dakota State Bison, the two time defending FCS champions, have now beaten an FBS squad for the fourth year in a row, overcoming a two touchdown deficit to stun the Kansas State Wildcats 24-21 on Friday night. The Wildcats gave up the go ahead touchdown with 28 seconds left to play. The touchdown, scored by senior quarterback Brock Jensen, capped off an 18 play, 80 yard drive that took 8 1/2 minutes off of the clock. The Bison, down 21-7 midway through the third quarter, scored the final 17 points of the game.

Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20: One of the largest crowds ever to witness a game at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames (56,800) came away saddened by the failures of their squad to beat in-state FCS rival Northern Iowa. The Panthers actually raced out to a 21-7 lead at one point in the game before Iowa State came roaring back to pull within one by the end of the third quarter 21-20. But running back David Johnson caught his second touchdown pass of the game (and fourth touchdown overall) with 13 minutes left in the game to seal the deal for the Panthers.

Towson 33, UConn 18: The Tigers held UConn to less than 300 yards of total offense, held the ball for more than 36 minutes and forced two turnovers en route to their victory in the season opener Thursday night. The win over the Huskies was the first ever win over an FBS opponent for Towson. It was the Huskies first loss to an FCS team since 2001, when the program was in the midst of its own transition to FBS.

Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 19: The Panthers racked up over 500 yards of offense and forced five turnovers on the way to their 21 point victory in San Diego. Eastern Illinois outscored the Aztecs 21-3 in the second half, and actually shut out the Aztecs over the final quarter and a half. San Diego State actually won time of possession in this game, but couldn't overcome four interceptions by their starting quarterback.

McNeese State 53, South Florida 21: The first game of the Willie Taggart era could not have gone much worse for South Florida, as McNeese State obliterated the Bulls on Saturday night 53 to 21. After allowing a touchdown to South Florida on their first play from scrimmage, the Cowboys scored 40 points in a row, including 31 in the second quarter. In fact, in that second quarter, McNeese State scored 21 points in less than five minutes.

Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21: Okay, so this is barely an FCS/FBS upset because South Alabama is barely a member of the FBS. (This is their first full season in the Sun Belt and the first season that they are eligible for a conference title.) But nominally, it counts. The Thunderbirds scored nine points in the final seven minutes of the game to come from behind against the Jaguars 22-21. It was the second time in the last three seasons that the Thunderbirds have beaten a lower level FBS squad, as they defeated UNLV in Las Vegas in 2011 41-16.

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