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My Vote For The FCS Top 25, 9/23/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 9/23/2013 follows below the flip.

But first, by all means, enjoy this awesome shot of the Gardner-Webb/Wofford game this past week, played in a driving rainstorm.

The Runnin' Bulldogs did some of their best wet runnin' this past weekend, a drenched 3-0 win at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with RB Juanne Blount of Gardner-Webb helping them control the clock for 37 minutes.  They did what it takes to win, in crazy weather conditions.


1: North Dakota State Bison
2: Eastern Washington Eagles
3: Sam Houston State Bearkats
4: Towson Tigers
5: Northern Iowa Panthers
6: Eastern Illinois Panthers
7: Fordham Rams
8: McNeese State Cowboys
9: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
10: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
11: Villanova Wildcats
12: New Hampshire Wildcats
13: Montana Grizzlies
14: Montana State Bobcats
15: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
16: Cal Poly Mustangs
17: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
18: Southern Utah Thunderbirds
19: Maine Black Bears
20: North Carolina A&T Aggies
21: Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs
22: William & Mary Tribe
23: Jacksonville State Gamecocks
24: Harvard Crimson
25: Wofford Terriers
  • Most significant win:  Yes, Virginia, maybe Villanova wasn't as bad as many people thought after losing to Fordham a few weeks ago.  Their 35-6 drubbing of Stony Brook was as thorough as it was (to me) unsurprising.  Sophomore QB John Robertson ran and threw for more than 100 yards apiece, allowing the Wildcats to generate almost 6.2 yards rushing per average against the Seawolves.
  • How's this for pass efficiency?  Robertson attempted 12 pass attempts, completing 9 of them for 140 yards and 1 TD.  The Villanova box score doesn't compute his QB rating, but it's got to be incredible.
  • For Patriot League fans, Fordham's win over Villanova could be the gift that keeps on giving, assuming the Wildcats keep doing well in the CAA and end up as a playoff team.  While Fordham is ineligible for the league title, every Patriot League team that is eligible gets the chance to play the Rams once, giving them, potentially a "quality win" should they manage to beat them.
  • On the other side of the coin, I was very leery of Stony Brook after so much of their team graduated from last season.  While they were (inexplicably, IMO) remaining in many people's Top 25s all season, they never made mine at all.  To me, they were a team that needed to show me they belonged.  Unfortunately, they showed that they don't.
  • Though this didn't involve Top 25 teams, were you as stunned as me that Yale didn't just beat Colgate, they walloped them?  The Eli, picked to finish 7th in the Ivy League, crushed Colgate 39-22 in a game that wasn't even all that close.
  • Remember when Colgate, home of RB Kenny Gamble, RB Jamaal Branch and RB Nate Eachus, always had the running back with 40 carries?  Well, it was Tony Reno of Yale, incredibly, schooling Colgate head man Dick Biddle in that stat after handing the rock to his halfback, RB Tyler Varga, 39 times.  He'd gain 236 yards and score 1 TD.
  • Is Yale a lot better than 7th in the Ivy League?  It's only one game, but it sure seems like it,.  Suddenly that Cornell/Yale game in week 2, initially looking like an afterthought, might be a really good gauge as to which team might make a run at the Ivy League title.  Cornell looked impressive themselve forcing six turnovers in a 45-13 domination of Bucknell.
  • Credit this one to DFW Hoya: he computed that Lehigh and Fordham are 7-0 in out-of-conference, while the rest of the league is 3-14.  That's pretty incredible that any Patriot League team not named Lehigh or Fordham have struggled so much.
  • Here's something else: two of those wins came against non-scholarship Pioneer Football teams (Marist, Davidson).  Against the limited-scholarship NEC, those teams are 1-3, and if you add Colgate's loss to Albany, who are competing with closer to 40 scholarships than the 63 of their new conference, the CAA, the total becomes 1-4.  Literally the best out-of-conference win with those five teams is Holy Cross' dominating win over Central Connecticut State.
  • Most Significant Loss: Boy, was I surprised to see that Montana State score this weekend.  I couldn't have been the only one stunned by the fact that Stephen F. Austin put up 52 to the Bobcats' 28, and did so with Lumberjack RB Gus Johnson rushing for 157 yards and 3 TDs.
  • It seems like the case that Montana State's long, long list of injuries finally caught up with them.  Not only is QB Denarius McGhee out for a few more weeks, but their defense has been decimated since training camp.  In retrospect, maybe it wasn't so surprising that they struggled, especially on the road.
  • Forgotten Team: Garnder-Webb.  I am a defense guy, so I love seeing the Runnin' Bulldogs' win back-to-back games without scoring a touchdown.  No, really.  Gardner-Webb burst on the national scene this week with the drenched 3-0 win at Wofford, but the prior week they also stunned Richmond, 12-10, on the back of four field goals by PK Jordan Day.  15 points in 2 wins - what's not to love?
  • How are they doing it?  With a front seven that terrorized the Terriers and Spiders in back-to-back weeks.  The Runnin' Bulldog defense had 14 tackles for loss in two games - an amazing number - with DE Shaquille Riddick emerging as a monstrous presence on that line, with 3 1/2 tackles for loss and almost 20 tackles in two games.  As a defensive end, those are great numbers - and a big reason why they were in my Top 25 this week.

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