It's Friday, so that means FCS games are right around the corner.
As they'll do every week, Brian McLaughlin and Sam Herder predict some scores. The two are turning this into a competition with the winner earning a to-be-determined prize in Frisco.
[divider]MORE FCS FOOTBALL:
Overall W/L Records:
Eastern Kentucky @ Indiana State
Brian: EKU 24, Indiana State 21
This one looked big to us in the summer and nothing has changed. Indiana State needs this one badly after last week's loss to a non-scholarship team. EKU has drawn some respect nationally but still needs that signature win to back it up. I just think EKU has more weapons and has FCS playoff potential.
Sam: Indiana State 35, EKU 27
What a huge game for the playoff picture. If EKU gets a win here, it could help get the OVC another at-large bid. And for Indiana State, a playoff bubble team last year that felt like it deserved to be in, a win here is critical for the 2019 postseason hopes. The Sycamores are now 0-2 after a terrible loss to Dayton. Falling to 0-3 before the toughest part of their schedule even hits would be a massive hill to climb. EKU is a playoff-hopeful team as well, but I think Indiana State comes out focused and a little pissed off to get the win.
No. 1 North Dakota State @ No. 18 Delaware
Brian: NDSU 38, Delaware 7
First of all, let me say this – I love the Delaware program and I think the Blue Hens are heading places, big picture wise. But this year? They shouldn't be ranked right now. They're in a rebuilding mode, though the talent recruited to UD the past few years has been excellent. I wish this was 2021 for this matchup in the state of Delaware.
Sam: NDSU 34, Delaware 10
This just isn't a good matchup for Delaware. The defense is starting a number of underclassmen. And offensively, yes this unit is physical. But you need to offer something else to threaten the Bison defense because trying to line up in a phone booth with NDSU for four quarters just isn't going to work. You need some explosive playmakers and a mobile quarterback. The Blue Hens just don't have that. This is the first true road test for a new-look Bison team. But NDSU plays just as well on the road than it does at home during this run.
RELATED: Triple-Overtime Marathon Behind It, No. 18 Delaware Turns To Top-Ranked NDSU
Alcorn State @ McNeese
Brian: Alcorn 35, McNeese 28
This is a great matchup for the FCS ranks. Two weeks ago, McNeese battled Southern U. and came out at home with a six-point win. Alcorn State looks like the class of the HBCU ranks to me, and seems decisively stronger than Southern U. Braves QB Noah Johnson is a master at his craft. So yes, I'm typing this … Alcorn goes into Cowboy Stadium and gets the W, by a hair. This one will be a doozy that comes down to the fourth quarter.
Sam: Alcorn State 21, McNeese 17
Both Brian and I are super high on Alcorn being the top HBCU team this season. Two weeks ago, McNeese narrowly beat Southern, a team out of the same conference as Alcorn. Alcorn beat Southern 37-28 in last year's SWAC Championship. Comparing scores is a dangerous game, but I do believe the Braves are even stronger this year and will prove it on the road against McNeese.
Duquesne @ Youngstown State
Brian: YSU 28, Duquesne 24
Duquesne has the ability to come into Youngstown and do this, but YSU looks (so far) as good as it has since it made the long playoff run in 2016. If this game were being played last year, I may even pick the Dukes here, but YSU has shown us some things so far this year. This will be an outstanding game, down to the wire.
Sam: YSU 24, Duquesne 14
This is a big game for both of these teams. I have Duquesne ranked, but not many other Top 25 voters do. A win against YSU proves the Dukes belong in the poll. For YSU, a win here means the Penguins will likely go into conference play 4-0. My concern in this game is the Duquesne offensive line that has three new starters. The YSU defensive front is as good as it gets in the FCS and the Penguins No. 1 key is to bottle up RB A.J. Hines. Duquesne has great athletes for an NEC school, but the last time the Dukes played a Valley team (SDSU in the 2018 second round), the talent gap was quite wide. I think YSU pulls away in the fourth quarter.
No. 4 Eastern Washington @ No. 17 Jacksonville State
Brian: EWU 45, JSU 42
Eastern Washington is 104th in passing defense and gave up 32 points to a D2 last week. Jacksonville State hasn't exactly been stellar just yet. In this classic matchup between two of the FCS level's titans, I think we're going to see upwards to 100 totals points and some incredible quarterback play from EWU's Eric Barriere and JSU's Zerrick Cooper (nearly 1,500 yards and 10 TDs combined through the first two weeks). If you like fireworks, show up early for a good spot to watch. And yes, folks, Jacksonville State can win this game.
Sam: EWU 48, JSU 35
Two weeks ago, this game looked like it could be a blowout. Then No. 6 JSU lost in convincing fashion to Southeastern Louisiana and EWU had huge preseason expectations. But last week the Gamecocks looked a lot better in a win against a solid Chattanooga team. Meanwhile, the EWU defense gave up a whole lot of passing yards against non-D1 Lindenwood. Well, guess what? That's exactly where the Gamecocks excel. QB Zerrick Cooper has thrown for 758 yards in two games. At the same time, I don't really trust JSU's defense either. EWU's offense gives you a lot of different looks and the Gamecocks aren't the most disciplined or sound defense. I expect a high-scoring game. If the Eagles want to be a national title threat, this is a game it should win.
No. 8 Towson @ No. 7 Maine
Brian: Maine 30, Towson 28
The classic battle between an offensive juggernaut (Towson) and the defensive "Black Hole" that is Maine Black Bear football. This should be a good one folks, and actually? Towson's defense ain't too shabby and Maine's passing attack is good too. I honestly think what separates these two is where it is being played, because otherwise? Man, I don't know who I would pick here.
Sam: Maine 28, Towson 27
Towson was one spot ahead of Maine in the CAA preseason, but I had that reversed. I really like what Maine has coming back off of its semifinal appearance. Even with a new-look coaching staff, the talent is there and the Black Bears looked primed for another deep playoff run. It first needs to get by an explosive Towson offense. I think the defense can do enough to slow that down while the offense continues to show its improvements.
RELATED: With the Rest of the CAA Watching, Maine Football Hopes to Prove it’s Here to Stay
No. 10 Montana State @ Western Illinois
Brian: Montana State 28, WIU 14
I just think Montana State has too much going for it right now, though Western Illinois is never an easy win, especially in Macomb. I think this could end up being one of MSU's signature wins this year.
Sam: Montana State 34, WIU 14
WIU appears to be down this year. Meanwhile, the Bobcats could very well win their next eight games and be sitting at 9-1. Don't tell them that, though, as this is a game they can't overlook. Macomb isn't the easiest place to play and WIU always plays tough. Montana State just looks too strong and should take care of business.
RELATED: Montana State's Troy Andersen Is Busy On Saturdays, And Even Busier In His Week Of Prep
No. 24 Sam Houston State @ North Dakota
Brian: SHSU 35, UND 28
Last year, North Dakota picked up a signature win in this game and I think it sort of summed up Sam Houston State's season. But this year, SHSU is better and regardless of the "Southland stigma", I think the Bearkats pick up a big "W" in this one — they looked impressive against FBS New Mexico in the opener, outgaining NM by nearly 100 yards.
Sam: UND 38, SHSU 35
With this game sandwiched between playing No. 1 NDSU and then facing No. 4 EWU and No. 5 UC Davis, the Fighting Hawks need a win here to stay in playoff contention. And it won't be easy. SHSU is ranked No. 24 and looks stronger than the team UND beat 24-23 last year in Huntsville. My concern for UND is its overall team speed on defense, especially with SHSU's offense looking as explosive as ever. But I also think the Fighting Hawks can get some points in this game as well. I gave a small edge to UND with the home-field advantage.
Samford @ No. 21 Wofford
Brian: Wofford 35, Samford 14
Wofford gets back on track in this one — after two excruciating weeks to think about its season-opening loss — and puts on a crisp show. The Terriers rarely underachieve, and you know it didn't sit well.
Sam: Wofford 27, Samford 17
This was an unexpected trip-up for Wofford last year as Samford shook up the SoCon standings with a win. So far in 2019, both of these teams have had disappointing starts. The Terriers suffered a shocking loss at the hands of South Carolina State while throwing the ball 23 times and getting picked off four times in a triple-option offense. Meanwhile, Samford is off to an 0-2 start. I like Wofford here. They have too much returning from a playoff team to have a letdown performance again.
No. 15 North Carolina A&T @ Charleston Southern
Brian: NC A&T 35, CSU 14
This is a biggie for both teams. Charleston Southern has opened with two brutally tough opponents in highly ranked Furman and P5 South Carolina. North Carolina A&T knocked off a two-time FCS playoff team in Elon and wants to prove it can hang with any FCS school outside the HBCUs. Aggies roll in this one.
Sam: NC A&T 48, CSU 21
CSU is getting there. It's been a turn for the worst after making the playoffs in 2016. This could be a program-defining win against a terrific NC A&T team. But the Aggies are a machine and I don't see an upset here.
NEXT: Top 15 Favorites To Win The National Title After Week 2
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