The 2017 FCS 3-0 club welcomed seven members on Saturday, and the pledge class couldn't be happier to join.
Some aren't that surprising: James Madison, South Dakota State, The Citadel … they've had a lot of success in recent years and had high expectations coming into 2017. Others like South Dakota, Tennessee State, North Carolina A&T have been stellar so far. Liberty, in its final year in the FCS before transitioning up to the FBS, is also 3-0.
North Carolina A&T became the only MEAC or SWAC team to hit the 3-0 mark, knocking off an FBS team for the second straight season after never doing it before. The Aggies held on and knocked off the Charlotte 49ers at their place, with quarterback Lamar Raynard (259 yards passing, 1 TD) orchestrating the win under center.
Last year the Aggies knocked off Kent State in overtime, with current NFL rookie Tarik Cohen playing a key part in the win. This time, they didn't need Cohen to upstage a bigger school, and became the seventh FCS team to knock off an FBS team this year.
The Aggies weren't the only FCS team with a win over an FBS. Idaho State may have struggled in recent years, but looked impressive in its win over Nevada to give the FCS its eighth win over an FBS about an hour after North Carolina A&T.
James Madison won big in its final tune-up before a challenging three-game conference run coming up, hanging 70-plus on Norfolk State. But it didn't come without devastating news as stud running back Cardon Johnson went down to injury once again.
Then the Dukes found out more sad news after the game when RB Trai Sharpe learned that he had lost his father, who had been sick for the past month. Big win aside, the Dukes community is hurting this weekend.
South Dakota pounded North Dakota 45-7 — a team considered in the top tier of the Big Sky Conference. The Coyotes have now scored 157 points in three tune-up games for Missouri Valley play, and they own a win over an FBS team (Bowling Green).
As if the Valley wasn't already brutal, add another program to the list of those trying to cram into the top tier of the FCS' No. 1 conference, depth wise. Chris Streveler continued to impress since leaving Minnesota prior to last season, throwing for 290 yards and accounting for 3 TDs.
Tennessee State won its sixth straight game over FAMU, 24-13, and upped its record to 3-0 behind former Florida Gator QB Treon Harris. The game was played in Tampa, Fla. just days after Hurricane Irma hit the area, but it didn't dampen the spirits as more than 17,000 showed up for the Tampa Classic.
The Tigers look more and more like a potential threat to nab an FCS playoff berth out of the Ohio Valley Conference, but Tennessee-Martin also looked strong in its win on the road against Chattanooga. Eastern Kentucky was off this weekend after falling to two straight FBS teams, but looks to join the Tigers and Skyhawks as potential OVC threats this year.
The Ivy League sure didn't look like it was just "warming up" as it kicked off its season. The league traditionally starts about two weeks later than other conferences.
The Ivys went 6-2 against outside competition, including two victories over 2016 conference champions within the FCS. Easily the most impressive victory was Yale's blowout against defending Patriot League champ Lehigh, which again looked like it could be a threat for a 2017 title, too. The Bulldogs hung 56 points on the home team, with QB Kurt Rawlings tossing four touchdowns and freshman Melvin Rouse catching two of them in his first college game. Yale finished with 566 total yards of offense.
Princeton also pounced on a FCS playoff team in San Diego, which went two rounds last fall. The Tigers' Chad Kanoff threw for 352 yards and 3 TDs, all three of them going to Stephen Carlson. Brown, Penn, Columbia and Dartmouth also claimed wins, while Harvard and Cornell lost to Colonial Athletic Association opponents.[divider]