No. 1 against No. 2.
It feels like the FCS college season led to Saturday’s showdown between defending national champion North Dakota State and South Dakota State, but that’s only the mid- season, so a playoff callback could follow down the road.
The FedEx Ground FCS Game of the Week is only the second regular season meeting in subdivision history between the two top-ranked teams, so yes, this year’s Dakota Marker rivalry isn’t just special, it is rare.
Here are the big games for Week 7 in FCS college football (all times AND Saturdays):
FedEx Ground FCS Game of the Week/MVFC: No. 2 South Dakota State (5-1, 3-0) at No. 1 North Dakota State (5-1, 3-0)
to start up: 3:30 p.m. (ABC ND/ESPN+)
Notable: On their way to their 113th all-time meeting. NDSU holds a 63-44-5 series lead, but SDSU has won the last two games. The winning team had the highest time of possession in the last 18 meetings since 2008 – NDSU 12 times and SDSU six times. Host Bison has depth at running back led by Hunter Luepke (478 yards, 8 TDs) and TaMerik Williams (145 yards, 3 TDs last week), while SDSU relies on the remarkable Isaiah Davis ( 626 yards, 5 touchdowns). SDSU held all six opponents within 100 rushing yards and all but one within 75, but NDSU held none below 100 rushing yards. SDSU QB Mark Gronowski targets the Janke twins, wide receivers Jaxon (159 receptions, 2,325 yards, 19 career touchdowns) and Jaxon (81-1,324-17). NDSU signal caller Cam Miller is coming off his first game on 200 passing yards this season.
The choice : North Dakota State
CAA: No. 14 Elon (5-1, 3-0) at co-No. 25 Rhode Island (3-2, 1-1)
to start up: 1 p.m. (FloSports)
Notable: Elon’s season-ending win over URI last November was his fourth straight in the series and likely prevented the Rams (7-4) from earning their first FCS playoff bid since 1985. In that game, URI QB Kasim Hill had a career-high 394 matching yards. The Phoenix leads the CAA in average time of possession (33:28), with QB Matthew McKay ranking fifth in the FCS in total offensive yards per game (320.7).
The choice : Rhode Island
(CAA Football has six teams in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 rankings)
NEC: Stonehill (3-0, 1-0) at Sacred Heart (3-2, 1-0)
to start up: 1:00 p.m. (NEC Front Row)
Notable: Stonehill have only played once since September 1. 10, when he won his NEC opener against Duquesne on October 19. 1 to win the FedEx Ground FCS National Team of the Week. Although Sacred Heart has been inconsistent this season, it is the two-time defending conference champion and the winner of 12 straight home games. The Pioneers are 3-0 this season and 8-1 the past two seasons when Malik Grant has over 100 rushing yards.
The choice : Sacred Heart
Ivy: Columbia (3-1, 0-1) at Penn (4-0, 1-0)
to start up: 1 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: Columbia coach Al Bagnoli is 3-3 against the Penn program he led for 23 seasons from 1992 to 2014. This year’s Quakers team is off to its best start since Bagnoli guided a 10-0 campaign in 2003. Trey Flowers, who rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns against Georgetown last Saturday, will test a top Columbia defense that allows just 27.5 net yards rushing. per game and 1.3 meters per run.
The choice : Penn
(Bagnoli, Murphy and Ivy League Teevens make up Division I’s one-of-a-kind coaching trio)
New Hampshire (4-2) at Dartmouth (1-3)
to start up: 1:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: UNH’s Dylan Laube rushed for 75 and 53 yards in last year’s Granite Bowl and ranks second in the FCS in all-around yards per game (166.8) this season. Dartmouth is looking to end its first three-game losing streak since 2011 (two in overtime and 24-21 at Yale). QB Nick Howard missed Yale’s loss through injury, but junior Dylan Cadwallader had two touchdown passes and a rushing score in his first career start.
The choice : New Hampshire
Big Sky: Idaho (3-2, 2-0) at No. 3 Montana (5-0, 2-0)
to start up: 3 p.m. (Montana TN/ESPN+)
Notable: Montana has won the Little Brown Stein in the last seven meetings, four of which came when Idaho was an FBS program. Since the start of the 2021 season, Griz LB Patrick O’Connell has 30.5 tackles for loss and 21 sacks. In his last four games, Vandals QB Gevani McCoy has completed over 75% of his passes with nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
The choice : Montana
CAA: No. 17 Villanova (3-2, 1-1) at No. 21 Richmond (3-2, 1-1)
to start up: 3:30 p.m. (FloSports/MASN)
Notable: Both teams enter the important game with a bye. Richmond QB Reece Udinski leads the FCS in completions (167) and completion percentage (77), while Villanova’s Connor Watkins is No. 1. 1 in yards per attempt (12.64) and yards per realization (19). “Nova ranks 130th and last nationally with just two sacks, so Udinski’s quick release won’t help the Wildcats.
South: ETSU (3-3, 1-3) at No. 12 Mercer (5-1, 3-0)
to start up: 4 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: The SoCon title was on the line when ETSU edged Mercer 38-35 to end the 2021 regular season. This season, the Bears are tied with Samford at the top of the conference standings and have allowed just 19 points (one touchdown) in three home wins. The game features SoCon leading scorers in Mercer WR/KR Devon Harper (12 touchdowns) and ETSU RB Jacob Saylors (10). Mercer QB Fred Payton had 16 touchdowns without an interception.
The choice : Mercier
Southland: co-No. 8 UIW (5-1, 2-1) at Nicholls (1-5, 1-1)
to start up: 4 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: The host Colonels are coming off their first win in walk-out style and now welcome their former quarterback for the Spring and Fall 2021 seasons, Lindsey Scott Jr. The transfer just passed for seven touchdowns in one half, joining Colonels kicker Gavin Lasseigne as two players coming out of National Player of the Week honors.
The choice : UIW
Stony Brook (0-5) at No. 22 Fordham (5-1)
to start up: 6 p.m. (SNY/ESPN+)
Notable: Leading FCS’ No. 1 ranked offense, Fordham QB Tim DeMorat has 30 TD assists, the most by a subdivision player through six games in over 25 years. Stony Brook hasn’t scored more than 14 points in a game, his offense has been slowed by running back injuries and is now led by true rookie QB Charlie McKee.
The choice : Fordham
ASUN-WAC: Sam Houston (2-2) at No. 23 Eastern Kentucky (3-2, 3-1)
to start up: 6 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: Both teams retire. EKU QB Parker McKinney ranks fifth among FCS QBs in total offensive yards per game (354.2). Sam Houston’s QBs are yet to complete more than 50% of the passes in a game, but the Bearkats offense has accomplished pass catchers in Cody Chrest (157 career receptions), Ife Adeyi (124) and Noah Smith (87).
The choice : Eastern Kentucky
Big Sky: No. 5 Sacramento State (5-0, 2-0) at Eastern Washington (1-4, 0-2)
to start up: 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: Sac State, the only FCS team yet to trail in a game this season, is looking to match the best start in program history (6-0 1991). The Hornets are 23-1 under third-year coach Troy Taylor when they have 30-plus carries, their rushing offense this season led by RB Cam Skattebo (539 yards, 5 TDs) and squad QB Asher O ‘Hara (330, 8) . EWU, hurt by one of FCS’ toughest schedules, is giving up 548.6 yards per game, which ranks last in the nation. The Eagles’ 15-game winning streak is in jeopardy.
The choice : Sacramento State
SWAC: Alcorn State (3-2, 2-0) vs. Southern (3-2, 2-1)
to start up: 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: Southern had lost 10 of 11 previous meetings to Alcorn State before winning 38-35 last season on Luke Jackson’s 47-yard field goal with one second remaining. QB BeSean McCray is averaging 7.8 yards per carry and was only below 75 yards against LSU. Alcorn RB Jarveon Howard, a transfer from Syracuse, had games for 194 yards and a touchdown against Stephen F. Austin and 295 yards and four touchdowns against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. While Southern wants to run the ball, the Braves are tied for second nationally in sacks per game (four).
The choice : Alcorn State
ASUN-WAC: Tarleton (4-1, 3-0) at Stephen F. Austin (3-3, 2-0)
to start up: 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notable: The SFA tops the ASUN-WAC Challenge Power Rankings, which will determine an automatic entry into the FCS Playoffs. Tarleton, second in the standings but ineligible for the playoffs, is 10th in the FCS in yards per game (475.2), with transfer from Montana State WR Jaden Smith (30 receptions, 564 yards, 6 touchdowns) off to a good start . SFA WR Xavier Gipson is a big-play machine (averaged 41.2 yards on 33 career catches), but the Lumberjacks are 9-0 since 2020 with over 150 yards rushing.
The choice : Stephen F. Austin
Last week’s record: 13-1 (.929)
Summary of the season: 56-23 (.709)