FCS Roundup: Dukes, Spiders to begin conference play; Tribe off

The following comes directly from the CAA:

CONFERENCE PLAY CRANKS UP ON SATURDAY: After a dominant performance against non-conference foes over the past three weeks, there is a busy slate of CAA Football action on Saturday. Defending champion James Madison hosts Maine, Rhode Island visits New Hampshire, Richmond entertains Elon, Towson travels to Stony Brook and UAlbany welcomes Villanova. Delaware and William & Mary are off this week and open conference play next Saturday.

NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS CONTINUES: CAA Football teams went 10-1 against FCS competition last Saturday and are now 19-2 for the season, which is the best non-conference FCS winning percentage (.905) of any league. Making the numbers even more impressive is the fact that six of the victories have been on the road. CAA Football teams went 24-7 in non-conference games against FCS opponents last season, which was the best winning percentage by an FCS conference.

FOUR CAA TEAMS RANKED IN NATIONAL POLLS:  Four CAA Football teams are ranked nationally in this week’s STATS FCS and FCS Coaches Top 25 polls, including three in the top 10. James Madison remained No.1 in both polls after extending its winning streak to 15 by rolling past Norfolk State, 75-14. Richmond stayed at No. 6 in the Coaches poll and No. 8 in the STATS poll after downing Howard, 68-21. Villanova maintained its spot at No. 7 in the STATS poll and No. 8 in the Coaches Poll after blanking Lafayette, 59-0. New Hampshire slipped to No. 15 in the STATS poll and No. 16 in the Coaches poll after a 51-26 loss at Holy Cross. Seven other CAAFB teams (UAlbany, Delaware, Elon, Maine, Stony Brook, Towson and William & Mary) received votes in at least one of the two polls.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: CAA Football teams are a combined 14-1 at home this season, including 13-0 in non-conference play.

NATIONAL HONORS FOR TOWSON’S O’NEILL: Towson kicker Aidan O’Neill was honored as the STATS FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week after going 3-for-3 on field goals in the Tigers’ 16-14 victory at St. Francis last Saturday, including a game-winning 42-yarder as time expired.

DOMINANT DEFENSE: Seven CAA teams are ranked in the top 29 in FCS in scoring defense, and all seven are allowing less than 19 points per game. Among the nation’s best are #10 James Madison, #15 William & Mary, #16 Delaware, #18 UAlbany, #21 Villanova, #27 Maine and #29 Stony Brook.

WE’RE #1: Several CAA players lead FCS in a variety of statistical categories after Week 3 of the season. Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta tops the nation in passing (391.0 ypg) and total offense (395.0 ypg), Maine’s Josh Mack is #1 in FCS in rushing (179.0 ypg) and JMU’s D’Angelo Amos leads the nation in punt returns (19.8 avg).

UAlbany

•  Defeated Monmouth, 28-14, in their home opener last Saturday.

•  QB Will Brunson completed 17-of-25 passes for a career-high 196 yards and a TD and also ran for a score against Monmouth.

•  All-America RB Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks saw his first action of the season vs. MU and ran for a team-high 63 yards on 17 carries. He sealed the win with a fourth-quarter TD.

•  WR Jerod Diggs caught 5 passes for a career-high 112 yards in the MU win.

•  UAlbany’s defense limited MU to 217 total yards, including 63 on the ground. The Great Danes rank 8th in FCS in total defense (243.7 ypg), 18th in scoring defense (15.0 ppg) and 19th in rush defense (73.3 ypg).

•  LB Nate Hatalsky made a career-high 15 tackles, including 1.5 TFL, vs. MU. He leads the CAA with 36 tackles this season.

• Donovan McDonald returned six punts for 94 yards (15.7 avg) vs. MU and also had a TD catch as a receiver.

Delaware

•  Improved to 2-0 at home following a 41-14 victory over Cornell last week.

•  UD’s defense forced five first-half turnovers which led to 27 points vs. Cornell. The Blue Hens are +5 in TO margin for the season.

•  UD ranks 3rd in the CAA in rush defense (62.0 ypg), total defense (280.7 ypg) and scoring defense (14.7 ppg). The Hens are among the top 20 in FCS in all 3 categories.

•  Joe Walker completed 20-of-30 passes for a career-high 202 yards and 2 TD’s vs. Cornell.

•  Kareem Williams ran for a game-high 121 yards on just 15 carries vs. Cornell. It was his third career 100-yard effort.

•  UD had over 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in the same game for the first time since 2013. The Hens’ balanced offense is averaging 186.0 ypg rushing and 174.7 ypg passing for the season.

•  All-CAA LB Charles Bell made a team-best 12 tackles vs. Cornell and leads the Blue Hens with 24 stops this season.

Elon

•  Knocked off No. 16 Charleston Southern, 19-17, last Saturday. It was Elon’s first win in a home opener since 2013.

•  Elon has beaten a nationally ranked team in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2010-11. Won at #8 W&M in 2016.

•  Malcolm Summers ran for a career-high 178 yards and a TD on a career-best 30 carries vs. CSU. It was the most yards by an Elon running back in a game since 2010.

•  LB Warren Messer made a team-high 12 tackles vs. CSU. He’s had double-digit stops in all three games this season and ranks second in the CAA with 33 tackles.

•  Freshman QB Davis Cheek threw for 145 yards a TD vs. CSU and is averaging 223.0 ypg through the air in the past two games.

•  DB Greg Liggs, Jr. contributed 7 tackles, 2.5 TFL and 2 pass breakups vs. CSU.

•  Elon’s last two games have been decided on FG attempts in the final 10 seconds.

James Madison

•  Rolled past Norfolk State, 75-14, last week. Off to a 3-0 start for the 5th time ever.

•  JMU has won 15 straight games – which is the longest Division I streak in the nation.

•  JMU topped the 70-point mark for the third time in two seasons and is averaging 47.8 ppg in 18 games under Mike Houston.

•  The Dukes had 728 yards of total offense vs. NSU, which was one yard shy of the school record. JMU ranks 2nd in FCS in total offense (589.3 ypg).

•  JMU held NSU to 91 total yards and 6 first downs. JMU ranks in the top 11 in FCS in total defense (209.3 ypg) rush defense (56.7 ypg) and scoring defense (12.7 ppg).

•  QB Bryan Schor threw for 149 yards and 2 TD’s  and also ran for a TD vs. NSU. He’s 6th in FCS in pass efficiency (177.4) and is now third in career TD passes at JMU.

•  JMU ran for 472 yards vs. NSU. Five players rushed for over 50 yards and six players recorded a rushing touchdown.

Maine

•  Off last week. Defeated Bryant, 60-12, in their home opener on Sept. 9.

•  Josh Mack rushed for a career-high 255 yards and 3 TD’s on only 13 carries (19.6 ypc) vs. Bryant. It was the first 200-yard effort by a Maine player since 2003. Mack leads the nation in rushing (179.0 ypg).

•  Redshirt freshman Chris Ferguson completed 8-of-17 passes for 150 yards vs. Bryant and has thrown 3 TD passes in each of Maine’s first two games.

•  Maine’s 536 yards of total offense vs. Bryant were the most since 2013 and its 43 first-half points were the most since 2003.

•  Maine’s defense forced 8 turnovers vs. Bryant, including 5 interceptions. Darrius Hart and Sinmisola Demuren each returned interceptions for touchdowns. Maine leads FCS in turnover margin (+8).

•  WR Earnest Edwards caught 2 TD passes vs. Bryant and also had a 46-yard kickoff return. He leads the CAA with a 29.5 KOR average.

New Hampshire

•  Suffered their first loss of the season, 51-26, at Holy Cross last week.

•  Trevor Knight was 26-of-45 passing for 310 yards and a career-high 3 TD’s at HC. He ranks 4th in the CAA and 30th in FCS in total offense (250.7 ypg) for the season.

•  Rory Donovan made a career-high 11 receptions for a career-best 109 yards and a TD at HC. He ranks 5th in the CAA with 18 catches.

•  Freshman DeUnte Chatman ran for 107 yards and a TD on only six carries at HC. He had a 64-yard scoring run, which is UNH’s longest play from scrimmage since 2014.

•  DE Jae’Wuan Horton recorded a career-high nine tackles and two sacks at HC.

•  WR Neil O’Connor, who had 7 catches for 92 yards and 2 TD’s at HC, ranks 2nd in the CAA in receptions (22), 5th in receiving yards (252) and 5th in all-purpose yards (120 ypg).

•  UNH and URI met for the first time exactly 112 years from Saturday’s game. (1905)

Rhode Island

•  Defeated Harvard, 17-10, last Saturday. It was URI’s first win ever over the Crimson.

•  Tyler Harris was 12-of-19 passing for 235 yards and 1 TD vs. Harvard. He ranks 3rd in the CAA in passing yards (234.7 ypg).

•  RB Harold Cooper had 175 all-purpose yards, including a team-high 80 rushing, which was his 7th straight game and 20th overall with 100+ all-purpose yards.

•  Aaron Parker had 3 catches for a career-high 103 yards vs. HU. He had a 51-yard TD reception, becoming the first URI player since 1995 with a TD catch in 5 straight games.

•  DL Jose Duncan tallied 5 tackles, 3.0 TFL, two sacks and a forced fumble. He leads the CAA with 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

•  After scoring all 45 of its points in the 2nd half or OT in the first two games, URI scored all 17 of its points in the 2nd quarter vs. HC.

•  URI’s defense pitched a shutout against Harvard in the 2nd half.

Richmond

•  Set a school record for points vs. a Division I opponent while cruising past Howard, 68-21, in their home opener last Saturday.

•  Kyle Lauletta completed 26-of-29 passes for 321 yards and a school-record 6 TD’s vs. Howard. It was the 11th 300+-yard passing game of his career.

•  Lauletta leads FCS in passing yards (391.0 ypg), total offense (396.0 ypg) and passing TD’s (11) this season.

•  WR Dejon Brissett leads the CAA in receptions (23) and is 2nd in receiving yards (343), while Cortrelle Simpson tops the CAA in yards (373) and is 3rd in catches (19).

•  RB Jay Palmer rushed for a career-high 102 yards and a TD on just 12 carries vs. HU.

•  Dale Matthews made two first-half interceptions, which were the first of his career.

•  UR’s defense held Howard to 288 total yards, including just 91 on the ground. The Spiders recorded five quarterback sacks.

Stony Brook

•  Rolled over Sacred Heart, 45-7, in their home opener last week.

•  SBU rushed for a season-high 294 yards in the win, led by Donald Liotine (84 yds) and Jordan Gowins (78 yds, 1 TD).

•  Joe Carbone passed for a career-high three TD’s vs. Sacred Heart. He’s thrown 5 TD passes in the first three games, which exceeds his season total from a year ago.

•  SBU’s defense held Sacred Heart to 206 total yards, including 91 on the ground. The Seawolves are in the top 30 in FCS in total defense, rush defense and scoring defense.

•  Stony Brook blocked a punt and recovered it for a TD for the second time this season. SBU has five blocked punts for TD’s in the past 15 games.

•  Jordan Scarbrough had 1.5 tackles for loss vs SHU and leads the CAA and ranks 8th in FCS with 7.0 TFL’s for the season.

•  Alex Lucansky kicked a career-long 43-yard field goal against Sacred Heart.

Towson

•  Edged St. Francis, 16-14, last Saturday. Ended SFU’s 11-game home win streak.

•  Aidan O’Neill kicked a game-winning 42-yard FG as time expired at SFU and also made FG’s of 33 and 38 yards in the 2nd half. He’s 5-for-6 for the season.

•  Freshman Ryan Stover completed 25-of-43 passes for 247 yards and rushed for a team-high 75 yards at SFU. He’s averaging 292.0 yards of total offense in the past two games.

•  WR Jabari Greenwood tied a school record with 13 catches for 151 yards at SFU. It’s the most catches by any player in FCS in 2017.

•  LB Diondre Wallace made a team-high 11 tackles at SFU and forced a fumble. He ranks 4th in the CAA with 26 stops this season.

•  Towson’s defense held SFU to 290 total yards and 12 first downs. The Tigers gave up only 7 points after three first-half TO’s.

•  The Tigers will be playing their third straight road game at Stony Brook this Saturday.

Villanova

•  Blanked Lafayette, 59-0, in their home opener last Saturday. It was Villanova’s highest point total in a game since 2007.

•  Zach Bendarczyk was 13-of-15 passing for 237 yards and 2 TD’s and also ran for a TD vs. Lafayette. He ranks among the top 15 in FCS in passing (276.0 ypg), pass efficiency (181.1) and total offense (303.3 ypg).

•  TE Ryan Bell made 5 catches for a career-high 119 yards and 2 TD’s vs. Lafayette. He’s 3rd in the CAA in receiving yards (285).

•  VU’s defense held Lafayette to 77 total yards, including -12 rushing. The Wildcats lead the CAA and rank 6th in FCS in rushing defense (48.3 ypg).

•  VU recorded its largest margin of victory in a shutout since 1997.

•  Jaquan Amos and Keeling Hunter both returned interceptions for TD’s in the first half.

•  Taurus Phillips returned a punt 64 yards for a TD. It was just the third punt return for a score in 33 years for the Wildcats.

William & Mary

•  Pulled away for a 30-9 victory over Bucknell in their home opener last week.

•  QB Tommy McKee completed 12-of-17 passes for 105 yards and 1 TD vs. Bucknell. He ranks 3rd in the CAA in rushing (228 yds) and 8th in total offense (188.3 ypg).

•  True freshman RB Nate Evans ran for a team-high 89 yards and a TD on 18 carries.

•  W&M held Bucknell to 226 total yards, including 42 yards and no points in the second half. The Tribe ranks 15th in FCS in scoring defense (14.3 ppg), 18th in rush defense (72.0 ypg) and 20th in total defense (284.3 ypg) for the season.

•  W&M has recorded a CAA-best 14 sacks through the first three games after totaling just 10 in 2016. The Tribe also has 28 tackles for loss, which ranks 7th in FCS.

•  The Tribe has won 32 of its last 33 non-conference games against FCS opponents.

•  LB Nate Atkins had 7 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble that was returned for a TD.