According to the betting lines, Howard was supposed to lose by 45 points on Saturday. Instead, the Bison nearly scored 45 points on the FBS' UNLV and took home $600,000 and its first win ever over an FBS opponent.
Not bad for a Howard team that only won two games last year. New head coach Mike London, the former Virginia head coach, and new quarterback Caylin Newton — who is the younger brother of NFL QB Cam Newton — seemed to help give the team a lift. Newton, a freshman, accounted for 330 yards in the game.
It was the cherry-on-top win for a strong showing by FCS teams vs. FBS. The FCS finished with four wins over FBS teams this week, and one over a Power Five Conference team. Also, Youngstown State took Pitt to overtime and the CAA's Rhode Island went to triple overtime with 2016 bowl team Central Michigan. Portland State nearly knocked off Oregon State, while Southeastern Louisiana and Houston Baptist also gave their FBS competition fits.
It easily could have been seven or eight FCS wins over FBS teams. So here's a quick look at the four FCS over FBS games this week[divider]
FCS OVER FBS – 2017
NOTE: Wins are listed in the order in which they've happened:
HOWARD 43, UNLV 40 (Sept. 2) – Apprently, Las Vegas odds didn't see Las Vegas-Nevada being pushed in this game. UNLV certainly wasn't supposed to lose, but somewhere there are some disappointed bettors. The 45-point spread was toppled and Howard came home with officially the largest upset ever in terms of betting odds. Maybe the Vegas types might consider staying away from placing odds on games involving FCS teams. Cam Newton's little brother Caylin was electric in his debut with the Bison, accounting for 330 yards and 3 scores. Anthony Philyaw added another 71 rushing yards and two scores on the ground and another 62 yards receiving, while Leland Lassiter (11 tackles) and Tye Freeland (9 tackles) led the defense. It was Howard's first-ever win over an FBS team in more than a dozen tries. Last year, both Maryland and Rutgers hung 52 points apiece on the Bison. This year, the Bison came home with a fat check (600K) and a win. One has to think that plane ride home early Sunday morning was a fun one.[divider]
LIBERTY 48, BAYLOR 45 (Sept. 2) – First of all, kudos go out to the Baylor administration and community for hosting Sam Houston-Richmond on Friday when Hurricane Harvey made it impossible for Sam Houston State to play host. It was an impressive showing of Texas brotherhood. Unfortunately for the Bears, FCS Liberty came to town the next day and claimed the week's long FCS over Power Five win — giving the FCS two wins in two days on Baylor's turf. True sophomore quarterback Stephen Calvert lit up Baylor for 447 yards passing, 3 TDs and a rushing TD. Antonio Gandy-Golden caught 13 balls for 192 yards and 2 of those scores, and Jeremy Peters led the defense with 7 tackles, 2 passes defensed and half a tackle for loss. It was Liberty's third win over an FBS team in four seasons.[divider]
JAMES MADISON 34, EAST CAROLINA (Sept. 2) – This game was never really in doubt, and it wasn't really a surprise either. ECU has been down for a couple of years and anybody who follows FCS football knows how strong JMU was last year. Cardon Johnson returned from his season-ending injury last fall and rushed for 265 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries and Bryan Schor passed for 192 yards with a TD and rushed for another score. Georgia Tech transfer Marcus Marshall made his debut in the backfield, rushing for 88 yards and a score and the defense held East Carolina to only 70 yards rushing, with Kyre Hawkins finishing with 13 tackles and a TFL and Jimmy Moreland going for 11 tackles. Ron Dell Carter had three QB hurries, also. JMU's last FBS win was over SMU in 2015.[divider]
TENNESSEE STATE 17, GEORGIA STATE 10 (Aug 31) – Former Florida Gator QB Treon Harris accounted for 236 yards in his Tennessee State debut and the Tigers' defense held Georgia State to 49 yards rushing as Tennessee State knocked off an FBS team for the first time since 1984, when it beat Louisville. Chris Collins was a beast on defense for the Tigers, racking up 12 tackles with 3 TFLs, while Vincent Sellers had 10 tackles and a TFL.