The 2019 FCS Playoffs are here and we are relatively dizzy now, staring ahead at the FCS quarterfinals next weekend. Below you can find recaps of these "trends" as well as recaps on the second-round games we were able to staff.
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BRACKET CONTEST: The Fan Leaderboard After The 2nd Round
OK, whew … let me get my brain wrapped around this second-round craziness.
- Top two seeds NDSU and JMU looked human for oh, a quarter or so … then bulldozed opponents they were expected to bulldoze.
- A bit more than 27 months ago, Austin Peay was mired in the fifth-longest losing streak in FCS history (29 games) … now the 11-win Govs are in the national quarterfinals preparing for another long trip to a Big Sky team.
- Three seeds are gone — SDSU, Central Arkansas and Sacramento State. Let that sink in.
- Illinois State made another statement on behalf of the Missouri Valley Conference — that even playing with a hand tied behind its back offensively (QB injury woes) the Redbirds can still dominate a 9-win non-conference team.
- As it turns out, we did hit the 100-point mark in Missoula, but not the way we thought — Montana scored 73 points against SE Louisiana (28 points). Shootout of a different sort.
So FCS Nation … you predicted three FCS Playoff seeds would lose today, right? No you didn't. Just stop.
Austin Peay mauled the Big Sky co-champions about 2,000-plus miles away from its Tennessee home. Yeah, we knew that would happen — NOT.
You know, I'm going to change my tone about the Ohio Valley Conference after this one and be more careful when I talk about the OVC. Since Jacksonville State made the natty back in 2015 and then met a guy named Carson Wentz, things haven't been too impressive for the OVC. But Austin Peay took home the OVC's biggest win, I'd say, since JSU beat the pulp out of Sam Houston State (62-10) in the semifinals to advance to Frisco.
The Governors didn't just beat up Sacramento State, they owned the Hornets on their own field. And as nobody knows (because it's never happened), teams from small towns in Tennessee always go to big cities in California and lay the hammer down. It happens every year, in the Twilight Zone. No sir, this doesn't happen. The APSU story … for the second time in three years … is the No. 1 story in FCS football in a crowded field of good stories. And if I'd been allowed to consider this result before I voted for the Eddie Robinson Award (FCS Coach of the Year), I would have swapped my pick for No. 1. I had Sac State's Troy Taylor 1A and APSU's Mark Hudspeth 1B. Now I'd switch that. Hopefully they'll both get a lot of love in the awards voting.
APSU QB JA'VAUGHN CRAIG: Our Feature This Week
Even though the Sac State loss is a biggie for the Big Sky, we still have three conference teams still playing from that conference way out west, and we also have three left for the MVFC. Also, we have one from the CAA and one from the OVC (we sorta mentioned that team above if you didn't notice). Seven of the eight quarterfinalists hail from the Power Three conferences we always talk about. Now do you understand why we always mention this narrative week after week? There is a precedent here. Not "bias".
Have to mention the three seed-breakers in general: Hey, everybody knew what Illinois State was going to do this weekend, as if it had a choice … the RedBirds probably could have mailed out warnings about what they were about to do … and James Robinson could have smiled at his adversaries across the field to another advance warning: And apparently after two rounds? Nobody could stop it. Robinson nearly hit 300 yards rushing last week and he rushed for 210 yards and two TDs this past weekend in the second round. J-Rob has more than 500 yards rushing now in two playoff games against 9-win FCS teams who knew exactly what he'd be doing. Hello, NFL? Again, he and the Redbirds crushed the competition with a hand tied behind the back at QB.
Northern Iowa knocked off SDSU just a few weeks after falling to the Jacks by 30+. That shows some defensive scrap. And APSU beating No. 4 seed Sac. State? I'll just wrap with this: Star QB JaVaughn Craig was sitting in the 4th quarter. Think about that.
In the other games? Kennesaw State showed some scrap at Weber State, it certainly wasn't an easy win for Weber State. And Montana State QB Tucker Rovig (279 yds, 3 TDs)? Hey, maybe the Bobcats aren't as inept at the signal-caller position as maybe we've all thought.[divider]
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