Week 1 Other FCS Football Game Breakdowns



A most cordial welcome to the 2012 Football Championship Subdivision season! Since it’s awfully hard to predict how first-week games will fare for most teams – except that it’s likely most teams will lose if facing larger Bowl Subdivision programs – I thought let’s take a look at the champions of the conferences not already featured and see which team they have on the week-one docket. After all, league play hasn’t begun, but the quest to go back to the FCS playoffs begins from the season opener, right? Those of you expecting to see a Great West Conference look at North Dakota… ah, North Dakota has hit the big time, or rather, the Big Sky, so the Fighting Sioux are in that conference’s preview. The Ivy League is also not featured because Harvard, that school’s champion, doesn’t play until mid-September.


Central Connecticut State at Stony Brook, Saturday, 6:00

It was indeed a magical season for Stony Brook, which went 9-4 overall but captured its third straight Big South Conference championship at 6-0. Not only that, the Seawolves went all the way to the FCS championship game before losing a wild 34-27 thriller against Sam Houston State. Stony Brook is coming off the most successful season in school history, begging the obvious question: What does the school do for an encore? For starters, earn five TV appearances and face Central Connecticut for the first time since 2007. Stony Brook is 38-14 at home since the 2002 season, so CCSU definitely has its work cut out. CCSU, which was supposed to win the Northeastern Conference last year, instead went 4-7. Linebacker Lorenzo Baker, who had 80 tackles last year, is back.  There are 17 returning starters, including QB Kyle Essington and WR Jordan Gush.

Projected score: Stony Brook 48, Central Connecticut 14


Virginia State at Norfolk State, Saturday, 6:00

Norfolk State came to the attention of most casual sports fans as the school that ousted Missouri in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Hardcore football fans know Norfolk State has a strong Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team, and that team won the MEAC title a year ago with a 7-1 record (9-3 overall). This marks 50 straight years this rivalry has existed. Virginia State lost 37-3 to Norfolk State a year ago, on the way to a 5-5 season. Based on the bad result of last year’s game, Virginia State shouldn’t be a challenge for a Norfolk State squad hungry to take the MEAC once again.

Projected score: Norfolk State 44, Virginia State 0


Duquesne at Old Dominion, Saturday, 6:00

The co-champions of the Northeast Conference (with Albany) begin the season by traveling to the Colonial Athletic Association and a date with Old Dominion. This is the first meeting between the two schools, hard to believe, and it is the first time since 2005 Duquesne’s traditional rivalry with Bucknell hasn’t opened the season. Nine position starters return from the Duquesne team that went 7-1 in the NEC and 9-2 overall, tying for that conference crown. The Monarchs went 10-3 (6-2 in the CAA) and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs before losing to Georgia Southern in a wild 55-48 thriller. The only other time Duquesne has faced a ranked FCS team was when the Dukes lost, 30-6, to Delaware in September 2010. Seventeen starters return for ODU, including seven each on offense and defense. This could be the game of the week among the conferences not at the top of the FCS standings.

Projected score: Old Dominion 28, Duquesne 24


Monmouth at Lehigh, Saturday, 12:30

It was a strong season for Lehigh, which captured the Patriot League championship a year ago with a 6-0 record, two games ahead of its competition. Lehigh went 11-2 and advanced to the FCS quarterfinals before a 24-0 loss to North Dakota State ended its season. The championship earned by Lehigh last year was its second straight and 10th overall in Patriot play. Senior receiver Ryan Spadola was named the Preseason Player of the Year by Patriot coaches, a sign the league’s top player may drive Lehigh to further success. In three previous meetings Lehigh has won by an average margin of 53-20 over Monmouth, which went 5-6 a year ago. That doesn’t bode well for Monmouth, but stranger things have happened. If Lehigh can activate its passing game (340.6 yards a game last year) it could be a long day for Monmouth.

Projected score: Lehigh 51, Monmouth 17


San Diego at Cal Poly, Saturday, 7:05

The co-champions of the Pioneer League face the co-champions of the Great West in a game that should be among the top contests of the week in FCS action. San Diego (9-2, 7-1) tied Drake for the Pioneer championship but did not earn a bid to postseason play because the Pioneer did not have an automatic berth into the playoffs. These two schools have not met since the fall of 1959, when Cal Poly won 36-14. San Diego lost 21 players from last year’s team but was tabbed as the league favorite by coaches in 2012. Junior quarterback Mason Mills, who threw for 2,370 yards and 22 touchdowns last year, has a solid receiving corps to throw to in Sam Hoekstra and Brandon White. Cal Poly is in the Big Sky for the first time, and the team returns 53 lettermen and 11 starters from a year ago.

Projected score: San Diego 38, Cal Poly 20


Jackson State at Mississippi State, Saturday, 7:00

The best of the teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference a year ago, Jackson State went 9-2 overall and was one of three teams in the SWAC East to go 7-2. In the end Grambling State, the league’s lone playoff qualifier, chose not to make the trip to the FCS playoffs. Jackson State does not have quarterback Casey Therriault back from last year’s roster, as Therriault graduated and yielded the reins to Dedric McDonald. There are seven offensive and eight defensive starters back this season. In the only other meeting between the schools, Mississippi State won 45-7 in September 2009. Quarterback Tyler Russell threw for 1,034 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions a year ago.

Projected score: Mississippi State 38, Jackson State 10


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns