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Banner week for the FCS: How its groups shocked six FBS opponents in Week 1

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Banner week for the FCS: How its teams stunned six FBS opponents in Week 1

For years, FBS groups have scheduled early-season matchups in opposition to FCS opponents to start out their season with a straightforward win.

Or, what ought to be a straightforward win. Typically, these FCS groups stroll out of the conflict with a pleasant paycheck and a shocking victory.

This 12 months, these wins have come at a historic price. In Week 1 alone, six FCS groups have overwhelmed FBS groups, together with a 13-7 shocker by Montana over No. 20 Washington on Saturday night time.

Montana holds on to defeat No. 20 Washington, 13-7.

The Grizzlies are the fifth FCS group to beat an AP-ranked FBS opponent since D-I break up in 1978. pic.twitter.com/7UCOzlMtY4

— Jason Starrett (@starrettjason) September 5, 2021

“That is the Washington Huskies. OK. That is App State over Michigan,” Montana coach Bobby Hauck, a former Washington assistant, advised reporters, per The Related Press.

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Along with the wins, FCS groups got here shut in a number of different matchups. Northern Iowa misplaced to No. 7 Iowa State 16-10. Missouri State misplaced to Oklahoma State 23-16. Western Illinois misplaced to Ball State 31-21. South Dakota misplaced to Kansas 17-14, a end result that had Jayhawks followers spilling onto the sphere.

However let’s give attention to the FCS’s wins. The ultimate scores:

UC Davis 19, Tulsa 17 (Thursday)Japanese Washington 35, UNLV 33 (Thursday)South Dakota State 42, Colorado State 23 (Friday)Holy Cross 38, UConn 28 (Saturday)ETSU 23, Vanderbilt 3 (Saturday)Montana 13, No. 20 Washington 7 (Saturday)

In response to longtime FCS observer Brian McLaughlin, that’s already probably the most in a season since 2018. And that is simply after the primary week. 

So, the FCS simply gained its one hundredth sport over an FBS group — and twenty seventh over a P5 — since 2008. ETSU did it.

Tnite, Montana bought fifth FCS win over ranked FBS since ’07.

FCS gamers & recruits … do not let ANYBODY let you know this is not “actual ball” if you decide this stage.

6 down … pic.twitter.com/FOPoCgN5Bh

— Brian McLaughlin (@BrianMacWriter) September 5, 2021

It is spectacular sufficient that these groups picked up the wins, to not point out that each one of them have been residence video games for the FBS colleges. However let’s dive into how this occurred.

It begins with protection. The six FBS groups have been held to a mean of 18.5 factors per sport, a determine that was inflated by the 13 factors UNLV scored in its double-overtime sport vs. Japanese Washington. They averaged 359.3 complete yards, with Washington and UConn each posting fewer than 300 yards of their losses. The FCS groups averaged 374.2 yards per sport.

The FCS defenses did greater than restrict the yardage; in addition they pressured errors. FCS groups have been a mixed plus-12 in turnover margin (16-4), forcing 11 interceptions and 5 misplaced fumbles. FCS offenses misplaced simply two fumbles and threw simply two interceptions — each interceptions and one of many misplaced fumbles got here from Japanese Washington.

In fact, these groups additionally needed to get it executed on offense, and so they did, particularly early. FCS groups struck first as a rule. UC Davis, Japanese Washington, South Dakota State and Holy Cross all scored first to place their FBS counterparts on their heels. ETSU, Holy Cross and South Dakota State every took leads into halftime, whereas Japanese Washington joined that trio in main after three quarters.

FCS groups additionally discovered extra success changing on third down. They have been profitable on 35 of 88 makes an attempt in comparison with 32 of 92 by FBS groups.

What might be among the different causes? Overlooking the opponent? Lack of preparation coming into the matchup? Simply merely being outplayed on a given day?

These are questions solely these within the applications can reply. However for now, faculty soccer followers can take pleasure in true underdog victory moments like this one: