Professional Handicapper Kelso Sturgeon

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NFL Handicapping 10111/12/2010 - Handicapping 10111/11/2010 - Handicapping 10111/7/2010 - NFL Handicapping 10111/5/2010 - Handicapping 10111/4/2010 - Handicapping 10110/30/2010 - NFL Handicapping 10110/29/2010 - Handicapping 10110/28/2010 - Handicapping 10110/22/2010 - Handicapping 10110/21/2010 - Handicapping 10110/16/2010 - NFL Handicapping 10110/15/2010 - Handicapping 10110/14/2010 - Handicapping 10110/8/2010 - NFL Handicapping 10110/7/2010 - Handicapping 10110/6/2010 - Handicapping 10110/1/2010 - Handicapping 1019/30/2010 - Handicapping 1019/22/2010 - Handicapping 101

 701 NETS
 702 RAPTORS
4/19/2014 12:30 PM(et)
+2½
-2½
196 
+2½
-2½
196½ 
 
 
+2½
-2½
196½ 
 
 703 GRIZZLIES
 704 THUNDER
4/19/2014 9:30 PM(et)
+7
-7
191 
+7
-7
191 
 
 
+7
-7
191 
 
 705 HAWKS
 706 PACERS
4/19/2014 7:00 PM(et)
+7½
-7½
187 
+7½
-7½
186½ 
 
 
+7½
-7½
186½ 
 
 707 WARRIORS
 708 CLIPPERS
4/19/2014 3:30 PM(et)
+6½
-6½
212 
+6½
-6½
212 
 
 
+6½
-6½
212 
 
 709 MAVERICKS
 710 SPURS
4/20/2014 1:00 PM(et)
+8½
-8½
205 
+8½
-8½
205½ 
 
 
+8½
-8½
205½ 
 
 711 BOBCATS
 712 HEAT
4/20/2014 3:30 PM(et)
+10½
-10½
189 
+10½
-10½
189 
 
 
+10½
-10½
189 
 
 713 WIZARDS
 714 BULLS
4/20/2014 7:00 PM(et)
+5
-5
182 
+5
-5
182 
 
 
+5
-5
182 
 
 715 BLAZERS
 716 ROCKETS
4/20/2014 9:30 PM(et)
+5½
-5½
216 
+5½
-5½
216½ 
 
 
+5½
-5½
216½ 
 
 951 BRAVES
 952 PHILLIES
4/17/2014 1:05 PM(et)
-130
+130
8u 
-138
+128
7u 
-144
+134
7u 
-150
+130
7u 
-141
+131
7u 
-150
+130
7u 
 953 DODGERS
 954 GIANTS
4/17/2014 3:45 PM(et)
+110
-110
7o 
+117
-127
7u 
+111
-121
7u 
even
-120
7u 
+115
-125
7u 
+110
-130
7u 
 955 ROCKIES
 956 PADRES
4/17/2014 6:40 PM(et)
+120
-120
7½u 
+124
-134
7½u 
+122
-132
7o 
+110
-130
7½u 
+122
-132
7o 
+120
-140
7u 
 957 BREWERS
 958 PIRATES
4/17/2014 7:05 PM(et)
-120
+120
7u 
-105
-105
6½p 
-108
-102
6½o 
-110
-110
6½p 
-105
-105
6½o 
even
-120
6½p 
 959 CARDINALS
 960 NATIONALS
4/17/2014 7:05 PM(et)
-150
+150
7o 
-138
+128
6½p 
-150
+135
6½p 
-150
+130
7u 
-143
+133
6½p 
-160
+140
6½o 
 961 INDIANS
 962 TIGERS
4/17/2014 1:08 PM(et)
+170
-170
7½p 
+128
-138
7½o 
+148
-163
7½o 
+140
-160
7½o 
+136
-148
7½o 
+135
-155
7½o 
 963 BLUEJAYS
 964 TWINS
4/17/2014 1:10 PM(et)
-115
+115
7½u 
-124
+114
7½u 
-123
+113
7½u 
-130
+110
7½u 
-124
+114
7½u 
-145
+120
7½o 
 965 MARINERS
 966 RANGERS
4/17/2014 2:05 PM(et)
+120
-120
9p 
+102
-112
9p 
+104
-114
9u 
even
-120
9u 
+106
-116
9p 
+110
-130
9o 
 967 YANKEES
 968 RAYS
4/17/2014 7:10 PM(et)
+170
-170
7p 
+156
-166
6½o 
+155
-170
7u 
+155
-175
7u 
+155
-170
6½o 
+150
-180
6½p 
 969 ROYALS
 970 ASTROS
4/17/2014 8:10 PM(et)
-135
+135
7½u 
-131
+121
7½u 
-130
+120
7½u 
-130
+110
7½u 
-129
+119
7½u 
-130
+110
7½u 
 971 REDSOX
 972 WHITESOX
4/17/2014 8:10 PM(et)
+110
-110
7½u 
+106
-116
7o 
+105
-115
7p 
-105
-115
7u 
+105
-115
7o 
+110
-130
7u 
 973 BLUEJAYS
 974 TWINS
4/17/2014 7:10 PM(et)
-125
+125
8½p 
-121
+111
8½u 
 
-125
+105
8½u 
-120
+110
8½u 
-130
+110
8½u 

No National Football League games scheduled.

No College FootballI-A games scheduled.

No College Basketball games scheduled.

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Kelso Sturgeon has been a professional handicapper for 40 years and has a deep understanding of all facets of the game, be it football, basketball, baseball or horse racing. He's worked as a football scout in the SEC and studied under Hall of Fame coaches like Alabama's Bear Bryant, winner of five national titles and Hank Stram of the Kansas City Chiefs, who won the 1970 Super Bowl. He's been a Regional Sports Editor for the Associated Press, worked as a successful jockey agent and authored several books teaching people how to be a handicapper, including the bestseller, THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SPORTS BETTING. Kelso also understands that to be a successful handicapper means knowing the business of gambling, and to that end he is personal friends with most of the big linesmakers in Las Vegas and gets the daily scoop on what is happening on the other side of the counter. There is no one better qualifed to be your personal handicapper than Kelso Sturgeon.

Contact us or call 1-800-755-2255 to get Kelso Sturgeon as your personal handicapper. Enter here to get today's free pick!

FCS Preview: Week Nine

Philadelphia, PA. (Sports Network) - Here are the predictions for the top 25 games and other notable contests from week nine of the FCS season.

THURSDAY NIGHTS GAME

No. 21 Jacksonville State at Tennessee-Martin (6-2, 4-1, OVC), 7:30 p.m.

In a match-up with Ohio Valley Conference title implications that will be televised nationally on ESPNU, Tennessee-Martin will be hoping that its matchup with Jacksonville State will once again serve as a prelude to a conference title just as it did in 2006.

The two schools have plenty in common, led by a couple of Southeastern Conference transfers at the quarterback position in Ryan Perrilloux of JSU (1,415 yards passing, 13 TDs and 10 interceptions) and Cade Thompson of UTM (1,561 yards passing, 16 TDs and seven interceptions).

Thompson leads an offensive attack which ranks second in FCS in scoring offense (42 points per game) and 26th nationally and second to only Tennessee State in the OVC ranks in total offense, averaging 406 yards per game.

Thompson has plenty of players at his disposal at the skill positions, including one of the league's best receiving tandems in Roren Thomas (22 yards per catch and team-leading six TD catches and Mike Hicks (14 yards per catch and five TD receptions). Tailback Brandyn Young (545 yards rushing and 10 TDs) has come on strong in the past couple of weeks.

The Skyhawk defense has been solid, yielding 349 yards per game and has been effective in causing turnovers, ranking 19th in FCS in turnover margin. Junior cornerback Dontrell Miller has contributed five defensive touchdowns (two interception returns for TDs and three fumble returns for scores) to set an FCS all-time mark.

The Gamecocks boast a potent pass offense, orchestrated by Perrilloux and wide receiver Maurice Dupree (16.3 yards per catch and league-leading nine TD receptions).

On defense, the Gamecocks haven't been spectacular against the run or pass, but have managed to do enough to rank second in the OVC and 48th in the FCS in total defense, surrendering a total of 340 yards per game. The defense relies on its strong linebacking corps, led by junior Henderson Alexander, who has a team-best 52 tackles and 4.5 tackles-for-loss.

In what should be an entertaining offensive game, the Skyhawks should use their home-field advantage and their ability to force turnovers against a Gamecocks squad that has struggled with ball security.

Tennessee-Martin 35, Jacksonville State 31

SATURDAYS TOP-25 GAMES

No. 18 Furman (5-2, 3-1 SoCon) at No. 2 Appalachian State (5-2, 3-0 SoCon), 3:30 p.m.

One of the most wild rivalries in FCS is renewed in a locale that has tortured visiting Furman in the past decade.

In a rivalry that boasts a an average margin of victory of eight points in the last nine meetings, the Mountaineers have been benefactors of seven of those victories, including having won three-straight.

Since 1998, Kidd Brewer Stadium hasn't exactly been a friendly place for the Paladins, who lost three-consecutive meetings (2000, 2002 and 2004) by a combined total of three points before falling 40-7.

The Mountaineers, who survived a 37-36 win at Georgia Southern last Saturday, bring a Top 10 nationally ranked offense into the matchup for the third consecutive season, ranking third nationally in total offense (461 yards per game) and the Mountaineers rank sixth nationally in both rushing offense (260 yards per game) and scoring offense (38 points per game).

Payton Award candidate Armanti Edwards is coming off his top total offense performance of the season (333 yards against Georgia Southern), and led an attack that rolled up 454 yards in the 37-36 win. He hasn't thrown an interception since Appalachian States third-game loss to James Madison.

Passing-wise, Edwards has spread the ball around nicely to his receivers, particularly CoCo Hillary (13 yards per catch, team-leading three TD catches) and Josh Johnson (16 yards per catch, two TD receptions). Edwards continues to lead Appalachian's balanced rushing efforts (team-leading 545 yards rushing and seven rushing TDs).

Defensively, the Mountaineers have struggled against the pass this season (215 yards per game) and that could pose them problems Saturday against the suddenly pass-happy Paladins. Injuries have slowed the inexperienced secondary.

Strong safety Leonard Love sprained an ankle on Saturday, while free safety Mark Legree returned from injury and had a game-clinching interception against Georgia Southern. Promising freshman cornerback Dominique McDuffie has been sidelined by season-ending knee surgery, but Cortez Gilbert has emerged as one of the top covermen in FCS.

Furman has featured a new no-huddle attack that has been heavier on the passing game this season. Quarterback Jordan Sorrells, who is coming off one of his top career performances (253 yards passing, three TDs and no interceptions in Furman's 34-20 over The Citadel) and ranks as the league's second-best passer (1,765 yards passing, 15 TDs and five interceptions).

In stark contrast to last season, the Paladins' defense has struggled to stop the run (155 yards per game), but has done well against the pass (172 yards per game). Coming off his career-best 16-tackle effort against The Citadel last week, cornerback William Middleton (65 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, three sacks and leads the team with six pass break-ups and three interceptions) has been Furman's leader defensively.

Furman has been better than many expected in 2008, but going against an ASU team that has developed one of the best home-field advantages in FCS, winning 38 of its past 39 games at Kidd Brewer Stadium, it might be a bit much to expect an upset in this one.

Appalachian State 42, Furman 28

No. 4 Wofford (5-1, 3-0 SoCon) at No. 3 Elon (7-1, 4-0 SoCon), 3 p.m.

In a rivalry that dates back to their membership in Division IIs South Atlantic Conference, Wofford and Elon have never had as much on the line in their previous 31 meetings than Saturday's clash for temporary league supremacy.

The Phoenix, who defeated seventh-ranked and league-leading Wofford 24-13 for the first time in its SoCon membership last season, will look to claim its eighth-straight win Saturday when it hosts the Terriers.

Known for its prowess among the FCS ranks for its passing attack, Elon's running game has been the cornerstone of success in three of its past four wins (Georgia Southern 201 rushing yards, Furman 231 and Tennessee-Chattanooga 276).

Brandon Newsome leads that running attack (662 yards and two TDs), while talented freshman Jamal Shuman (166 yards and a TD in Elon's 42-7 win over UTC) garnered SoCon Freshman of the Week accolades.

Scott Riddle (league-leading 1,998 yards passing, 18 TDs and 10 interceptions) has continued to lead the offense in his sophomore season as the signal-caller, with Payton Award candidate Terrell Hudgins (58 receptions, seven TDs) and Bo Williamson (27 receptions, 737 all-purpose yards, five TDs) among his targets.

The defense has also been key in Elon's run, ranking 19th nationally in total yards (307 per game) and 10th in scoring (17 points per game). Linebacker Brandon Wiggins has paced the unit with 54 tackles, while defensive ends Brandon Ward and Tim Happer have combined for six sacks to lead an improved pass rush.

Wofford brings the nation's second-ranked offense (482 yards of total offense per game, 352 rushing yards) to Rhodes Stadium, led by senior quarterback quarterback Ben Widmyer (599 yards passing, six TDs, 416 yards rushing and four TDs) and fullback Dane Romero (431 yards and eight TDs).

The Terriers' defense has been a solid unit (28th in scoring defense). Wofford ranks fourth nationally in sacks per game (four), paced by defensive end Mitch Allen (SoCon-leading five sacks). But still, Wofford has struggled to stop the pass, yielding 240 yards (90th in FCS) per game.

That doesn't bode well facing a team that can be as explosive throwing the ball as Elon.

Elon 28, Wofford 24

No. 5 Northern Iowa (5-2, 3-1 MVFC) at Youngstown State (2-6, 1-3 MVFC), 4 p.m.

In danger of finishing the season with its worst record in 23 years and guaranteed just its third losing season in two decades, Youngstown State could go a long way in alleviating some of its 2008 hardships with a win over Northern Iowa.

But no team in the Missouri Valley has enjoyed the type of success that Northern Iowa has over the years at the Ice Castle as the Panthers have posted seven of their 16 wins in the 22-game series inside the facility.

The Panthers will bring a solid ground game (187 yards per game, 22nd in FCS), led by Corey Lewis (575 rushing yards and three TDs), while quarterback Pat Grace has developed as a dual threat (1,497 yards of total offense, combined 16 TDs). Grace, however, may miss this game with a knee injury.

Johnny Gray (14 yards per catch and two TDs) and Josh Collins (24 yards per catch, one TD reception) are threats to break the big play in the passing game.

Defensively, the Panthers have been opportunistic, sporting a plus-nine turnover margin and have picked off an MVFC-leading 12 passes. Four of those interceptions have rested in the arms of cornerback Terrell McMoore, who is coming off a two-interception performance in UNIs 23-13 win over North Dakota State.

Youngstown State has struggled to maintain any sort of consistency at quarterback, with the departure of Todd Rowan and Paul Corsaro and an injury to Toledo transfer Brandon Summers.

The signal-calling duties will now be left to Dailyn Campbell, who passed for 102 yards and two interceptions in the 33-0 home loss to Southern Illinois last week. The anemic offense boasts its best threat at receiver in Ferlando Williams (26 catches, 11.8 yards per catch, team-leading four TDs receiving). Jabari Scott has rushed for 403 yards and six TDs.

The Penguin defense has undergone an overhaul due to injuries, especially to some of its stars, like All-American defensive tackle Mychal Savage. With the offensive struggles, the defense has seen its fair share of the field this season, giving up 388 yards per game. The lynch pin has been sophomore safety Brandian Ross, who has amassed a team-leading 61 tackles, three tackles-for- loss and an interception.

Even in its best years, Youngstown State has struggled against UNI and in the midst of one of its worst years in memory, the Penguins can't be expected to offer much resistance to the Panthers.

Northern Iowa 24, Youngstown State 10

Southern Utah (3-4, 0-1 GWFC) at No. 6 Cal Poly (4-1, 1-0 GWFC), 9:05 p.m.

Since a season-opening win over San Diego State, Cal Poly has been an FCS Top 10 team that has seemingly flown under the radar. However, teams like James Madison in 2004, Western Kentucky in 2002 and Massachussetts in 1998 have all been teams that have relished and triumphed in that particular role.

With a Great West showdown looming against a Southern Utah team that has won three games after going winless last season, the Mustangs will need to be wary of one the most improved teams in FCS.

The Thunderbirds owe a lot of their success to a strengthened passing game (199 yards per game) and improvement against the pass on defense (229 yards per game).

The offense is led by the passing presence of quarterback Cody Stone (1,367 yards passing, 12 TDs, 11 interceptions), while junior linebacker Robert Takeno (team-leading 71 tackles) has taken charge on defense.

Cal Poly earned an impressive 42-28 road win at South Dakota State last week, marking their first win over a ranked opponent this season. The Mustangs offensive showcase was in full force against the Jackrabbits, topping the 400- yard plateau (419 yards vs. SDSU) for the fifth time in 2008.

Jonathan Dally (986 yards passing, nine TDs and an interception, 250 yards rushing and five TDs) is one of the nation's most versatile quarterbacks, while Ramses Barden (22 yards per catch and eight TD receptions) continues to be the nation's leading wideout.

The Mustang defense, which has been strong against the run (109 yards per game, 27th in FCS), is led by defensive end Sean Lawyer (team-leading six sacks) and linebacker Ryan Shotwell (3.5 sacks).

Southern Utah is making strides, but not enough to slow down the Mustangs in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Cal Poly 28, Southern Utah 10

No. 8 Montana (6-1, 3-1 Big Sky) at Northern Colorado (1-5, 1-3 Big Sky), 2:05 p.m.

Montana finally showed a killer instinct in its 43-7 win over Sacramento State last week. But the Grizzlies may have more difficulty when they take on a much improved Northern Colorado team.

In one of his best outings of his Montana career, quarterback Cole Bergquist (1,677 yards passing, 17 TDs and four interceptions) completed 17-of-19 passes for 290 yards, four passing TDs, one rushing TD and no interceptions.

Bergquist has had the good fortune of throwing to two of the league's top receivers, in Marc Mariani (40 catches, 20.6 average and a team-leading 11 TD catches) and Mike Ferriter (27 catches, 17.6 average, six TDs).

On defense, Montana has improved its pass rush over the past two weeks, allowing 314 yards and 199 yards through the air in wins over Eastern Washington and Sacramento State. Safety Colt Anderson continues to be the stalwart of the unit, with a team-leading 50 tackles.

Northern Colorado has gotten its act together over the past two Saturday's, with a respectable showing in a 17-10 loss at league-leading Weber State and a 29-9 home win over Idaho State. The offense, which only mustered 142 yards against a stingy Wildcats defense last week, will look to rebound and build upon its 403-yard effort in the win over Idaho State.

University of Florida transfer Bryan Waggener (1,335 yards passing, 11 TDs and seven interceptions) will do his best to test an unstable Montana secondary, while the Bear defense will rely on its strong pass defense and heralded leading linebacker Cristian Sarmento (team-leading 76 tackles and six sacks) to try and deliver the Bears' first win over the Grizzlies in 32 years.

But while Northern Colorado is obviously improving, Montana should be too talented to stumble against the Bears.

Montana 34, Northern Colorado 24

Georgetown (1-5) at No. 9 Richmond (5-3), 3 p.m.

Richmond steps outside the grueling CAA league slate, hosting Patriot League foe Georgetown for the first time 73 years, marking the just the seventh meeting between the two institutions.

Georgetown head coach Kevin Kelly, who is working hard to rebuild a moribund program, has deep FCS roots, serving on the staff of arguably the most dominant FCS champion Marshall in 1996. He also served under former Georgia Southern coach Paul Johnson at Navy, before garnering his first head coaching post at Georgetown in 2006.

Kelly brought the old Georgia Southern option with him, but the Hoyas are also using some more conventional sets. Georgetown ranks 113th in total offense (255 yards) and 115th in scoring (11.7 points per game).

Leading that attack is sophomore quarterback Keerome Lawrence (255 yards passing, one TD and four interceptions, and a team-best 310 yards rushing).

The Hoya defense, which ranks 80th overall in FCS (378 yards), has been led by linebacker Nick Parrish (team-leading 46 tackles and two interception returns for TDs).

Richmond got a huge 30-15 road win at Massachussetts to stay alive in its bid for a postseason berth. The Spiders' offense was strong on the ground, with running back Josh Vaughn (team-leading 726 yards rushing and nine rushing TDs) rushing for 184 yards and three scores while catching 11 passes for 97 yards and a TD.

The Spider defense has been tough all season, ranking 11th overall in the FCS and 12th in points allowed (290 yards, 19 points). The unit has been keyed by defensive ends Lawrence Sidbury (32 tackles, nine tackles for loss and three sacks) and Sherman Logan (29 tackles, seven tackles for loss and cornerback Justin Rogers (team-leading four interceptions, two TD returns).

Richmond has too much to lose against a Georgetown team that lacks the talent of the Spiders, so don't expect a letdown in this game.

Richmond 49, Georgetown 14

Towson (3-4, 1-2 CAA) at No. 10 New Hampshire (5-1, 2-1 CAA), 12 p.m.

In its only two meetings with New Hampshire as a CAA member, Towson has fallen victim to Sean McDonnell's prolific offensive attacks, being outscored 124-54 in back-to-back meetings in 2004 and 2005.

Former Payton Award winner Ricky Santos tossed five first-half touchdowns in the Wildcats' 62-24 win at Cowell Stadium in 2005. Though Santos exercised his eligibility in 2007, it's doubtful the Tigers are looking forward to facing current New Hampshire signal-caller R.J. Toman (1,492 yards passing, 15 TDs and six interceptions). He is the ringleader of an offense averaging 432 yards per game (13th in FCS) and 368 yards per game (12th in FCS).

The New Hampshire defense is strong against the run, allowing just 109 yards per game to rank 26th in FCS. Cornerback Dino Vasso continues to lead the Wildcats' defense, with a team-leading 47 tackles and two interceptions.

Towson had an off-week to prepare for the Wildcats after getting its first CAA win a couple of weeks ago against Rhode Island (37-32). In the two previous matchups with New Hampshire, senior signal-caller Sean Schaefer (1,853 yards passing, 13 TDs and nine interceptions) who is the FCS active career passing yardage leader (10,211 yards), was out shined a bit by Santos.

Schaefer leads the nation's 19th-ranked passing attack (267 yards per game) and has one of the CAA's top receivers to throw to in junior David Newsom (13 yards per catch and 62 yards receiving per game).

The Towson defense, which yields 414 yards per game, has been paced by talented senior linebacker Jordan Manning, who leads the team with 58 tackles and six tackles-for-loss.

New Hampshire may struggle against the potent Towson passing attack, but the Wildcats should have too much offensively against the Tigers

New Hampshire 35, Towson 31

Nicholls State (0-4, 0-2 Southland ) at No. 11 McNeese State (4-2, 1-1 Southland), 8 p.m.

McNeese State enters Saturday's matchup with Nicholls State having won eight of the last 10 meetings and haven't fallen at home to the Colonels in a decade.

The Cowboys were impressive in a 28-17 road win over Sam Houston State last week, clearing a huge hurdle in hopes of claiming a third-consecutive league title. The offense continues to be at the pinnacle of the FCS rankings, leading the nation in both scoring offense (43 points per game) and total offense (493 yards per game).

There's no doubt that quarterback Derek Fourroux (1,232 passing yards, 12 TDs and three interceptions) has contributed to much of that success, however, the offense has also been buoyed by a veteran offensive front, that boasts only one non-senior starter in sophomore right tackle Corey Richter.

The McNeese State defense has had its share of struggles against the pass, ranking 102nd in FCS (254 yards per game), but have been solid in stopping the run (117 yards per game, 33rd in FCS). The defense continues to be paced by junior linebacker Deron Minor (team-leading 36 tackles), while cornerback Jeremy Haynes (team-leading three interceptions) had a game-breaking 83-yard interception return for a score against Sam Houston State.

Nicholls State has had plenty of problems moving the football this season, particularly throwing the football (87 yards per game, 116th in FCS), but the nation's 13th-ranked running game has been powered by quarterbacks Chris Bunch (170 yards on the ground) and .Vincent Montgomery (321 yards of total offense) for a team averaging 205 yards rushing per game (13th in FCS).

Defensively, things haven't been any better, as the Colonels are yielding 446 yards per game (109th in FCS). Nicholls State does boast Buchanan Award candidate Lardarius Webb at safety (18 tackles, one interception).

With McNeese State still in the hunt for a Southland title and playing at home, the Cowboys should be too much for a Nicholls State squad still trying to overcome its hurricane-related problems.

McNeese State 41, Nicholls State 10

Southeast Louisiana (4-3, 1-1 Southland) at No. 13 Central Arkansas (6-1, 2-0 Southland), 2 p.m.

Though it was just the initial meeting between the two school's, last year's 37-33 Central Arkansas triumph over Southeastern Louisiana turned into a barn- burner.

Trailing 33-30 late in the fourth quarter, Central Arkansas running back Brent Grimes' one-yard scoring plunge with 29 seconds to go provided an epic ending to one of the wildest finishes in Southland play last season.

Needless to say, Saturday's matchup has plenty to live up to, but the potential for another offensive showcase by both teams is a possibility. The Bears haven't had much trouble putting up offensive numbers in 2008 (446 yards per game), including 290 yards through the air.

UCA quarterback Nathan Brown continues to pile up numbers, putting up 1,890 yards passing and 19 TDs with just one interception, while Grimes is again the key cog in the running game with 438 yards rushing and eight TDs.

The defense has exhibited a strong pass rush, anchored by defensive end Larry Hart, who has a team-leading nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

Southeastern Louisiana counters with a strong passing attack of its own (269 yards per game, 18th in FCS), led by junior quarterback Brian Babin (1,616 yards passing, 14 TDs and one interception).

Jay Lucas, who rushed for 1,239 yards and 12 TDs last season, has experienced a slow start with just 471 yards and three TDs. His yards per carry has dropped from 7.2 to 4.7 this season.

The Lion defense has been a problem this season (417 yards per game, 102nd in FCS overall), and has especially struggled against the pass (256 yards per game, 104th in FCS). Safety Tommy Connors has a team-leading 62 tackles and three interceptions.

Central Arkansas may get a challenge, but expect the Bears to come away with another win.

Central Arkansas 38, Southeastern Louisiana 21

No. 14 Southern Illinois (4-2, 3-1 MVFC) at Missouri State (3-3, 2-1 MVFC), 2:30 p.m.

Despite trailing in the all-time series 14-16, Southern Illinois will hope to continue recent success against Missouri State, gunning for its sixth- straight victory in the series and looking to continue its pursuit of a third conference title in six seasons.

Missouri State head coach Terry Allen knows what its like to experience success in one of FCS' toughest leagues, leading the Northern Iowa Panthers to seven Gateway titles during the 1990's.

In his third year of the rebuilding process, the Bears are in search of more than just their second consecutive winning season, they are still in contention for a league title.

The MSU offense has run the ball especially well (172 rushing yards per game, 30th in FCS), powered by the running back duo of Kingjack Washington (team- leading 473 yards rushing and two TDs) and Stephen Johnston (285 rushing yards and three rushing scores).

As good as the Bears have been at churning out yardage on the ground, they have been a stark contrast against the run defensively, ranking 118th in FCS (298 yards per game). Safety Roger Wright spearheads the Bears' defense with a team- leading 54 tackles to go with 3.5 tackles for loss.

Southern Illinois has won three of its last four, after losing much of the offensive weaponry from a team that advanced all the way to the FCS semifinals last season.

The Salukis have been a strong force running the ball (152 yards per game, 45th in FCS), led by the diminutive, yet elusive Larry Warner (533 rushing yards and five TDs).

However, the story of the 2008 Salukis has been the defenses ability to force turnovers (1.33 turnover margin, sixth in FCS).

The SIU defense boasts a solid linebacking contingent, that includes two of the league's best in Chauncey Mixon (33 tackles) and James Cloud (38 tackles and 4.5 sacks), while leading tackler Brandin Jordan (45 tackles and an interception) rounds out the talented trio.

Southern Illinois 17, Missouri State 14

No. 16 Weber State (6-2, 4-0 Big Sky) at No. 15 Northern Arizona (6-1, 4-0 Big Sky), 6:05

In the 44 previous meetings between Northern Arizona and Weber State, never has there been more on the line. The winner of this contest will be in the drivers seat to win the Big Sky championship.

Winners of six-straight, the Lumberjacks are in search of their first postseason appearance since 2003, and are off to their best start since that season. The offense has been among the most versatile in school history, rivaling such attacks as the Travis Brown/Archie Emerson unit back in 1996.

Like past years, the quarterback position has been responsible for a large part of the offensive success, led by Lance Kriesien (1,252 yards passing, eight TDs and two interceptions) and Ole Miss transfer Michael Herrick (463 yards passing, three TDs).

The running game has also been the strength of Northern Arizona's offensive prowess, as the Lumberjacks rank 16th in FCS in rushing (196 yards). Tailback Deonte Williams (709 yards rushing and nine TDs) ranks 19th nationally and leads the Big Sky in rushing yardage.

The Lumberjacks lead the nation in rushing defense (11 yards per game) and rank 22nd in FCS in total defense (314 yards per game).

NAUs defensive line has been among the best in the FCS, led by defensive ends Michael Battiest (team-leading five sacks) and Kyle Wrath (4.5 sacks),while cornerback K. J. Gerard (five interceptions) was one of the most recent additions to the Buck Buchanan Award watch list.

Wildcat running back Trevyn Smith (team-leading 766 rushing yards and eight TDs) will offer the stiffest FCS challenge yet for the Lumberjack rushing defense. Smith had 170 yards in Weber State's 29-20 loss in Ogden last season.

Payton Award candidate Cameron Higgins (2,534 passing yards, 25 TDs and six interceptions) has flourished with a bevy of receivers, including Tim Toone (45 catches, 16.6 average, four TDs), Bryant Eteuati (38 catches, 1.091 all-purpose yards, six TDs) and tight end Cody Nakamura (30 catches, 15.6 average, six TDs)

The Weber State defense has been solid against the run (118 yards per game, 28th in FCS), and has been bolstered by defensive end Kevin Linehan (team- leading 6.5 sacks) and safety Beau Hadley (team-leading four interceptions).

Northern Arizona 35, Weber State 28

Bryant (4-3) at No. 17 Massachussetts (4-3), 1 p.m.

Massachussetts will step out of conference for the final time this season, facing provisional FCS foe Bryant for the first time in school history. The Minutemen have little margin for error the remainder of the season if they hope to make a third-straight postseason appearance.

UMass, coming off its first home loss (30-15 loss to No. 9 Richmond) in 16 games, have seen plenty of inconsistency on offense at times this season.

Senior quarterback Liam Coen (1,629 yards passing, 11 TDs and six intercept ions) has had to shoulder much of the offensive load, although leading rusher Tony Nelson (802 yards, six TDs) has done his part to alleviate some of that pressure.

The Minuteman defense is a far cry from Don Brown defenses that led the CAA in his first two years as head coach.

The 2008 edition ranks 69th nationally in total defense, allowing opponents 366 yards per game. Linebacker Josh Jennings (team-best 70 tackles) and cornerbacks Sean Smalls and Courtney Robinson lead the defense.

Bryant will be facing its toughest game on the schedule when it takes on the Minutemen.

The Bulldog offense is paced by junior quarterback Jay Graber (1,151 passing yards, 10 TDs, eight interceptions), while the running game has been buoyed by junior tailback Jerrell Smith (814 rushing yards, four TDs).

Defensively, the Bulldogs are led by a secondary that has intercepted 10 passes. Freshman cornerback Samad Wagstaff leads the team with five interceptions, while cornerback Bryce Martins has a team-leading 44 tackles and two interceptions.

Bryant will be a team to keep an eye on in the future, but the Bulldogs are not ready yet to stun UMass.

Massachussetts 42, Bryant 10

No.19 Tennessee State (6-1, 3-0 OVC) at Southeast Missouri State (2-5, 0-3 OVC), 2 p.m..

The last time Tennessee State paid a visit to Camp Giradeau, MO. in 2005, the Tigers dropped a 32-24 decision to Southeast Missouri State. But now, TSU controls its own destiny for a possible OVC championship.

Meanwhile, the Redhawks thought they had their first OVC win over perennial league power Eastern Illinois last week only to have comeback hopes dashed by the Panthers, 24-21.

The Redhawks displayed a better rushing attack in the loss to Eastern Illinois (133 yards), nearly matching their season-high of 140 yards against Indiana State. The backbone of that attack being Memphis transfer Henry Harris (249 yards rushing and four TDs in 2008).

The passing game has been the calling card for the Southeast Missouri offense most of the season, led by quarterback Houston Lillard (1,479 yards passing, 10 TDs and seven interceptions).

Nick Stauffer is one of the OVC's premier linebackers (team-leading 76 tackles and 4.5 tackles-for-loss), while cornerback Eddie Calvin's three first half interceptions in last week's setback to the Panthers were one of the main reasons the Redhawks were afforded a chance for the win. Calvin has totaled a team-high four interceptions.

Tennessee State is blessed with a litany of weapons on both sides of the ball. On offense, names like quarterback Antonio Heffner (1,560 passing yards, nine TDs and eight interceptions) and running back Javarris Williams (694 rushing yards and 11 TDs) have been regular nominees for various defensive player of the week plaudits, highlighting an offense that averages 412 yards per game.

Defensively, the Tigers have been particularly stingy against the run (130 yards per game), and have been led by Eugene Clifford who leads the team in tackles (41) and interceptions (three), including one which he returned 61 yards for a score.

Tennessee State has established itself as the team to beat in the OVC, while Southeast Missouri State is still trying to build.

Tennessee State 42, Southeast Missouri State 21

No. 20 Liberty (6-1, 2-0 Big South) at Charleston Southern (3-4, 1-1 Big South), 3:30 p.m.

Coming off its first setback of the season, Liberty steps back into conference play when it faces Charleston Southern, as it continues to march towards a second Big South title and its inaugural FCS postseason appearance.

The Buccaneers have dropped 13 of the previous 15 meetings, with Liberty holding the distinction of posting the most victories against the Buccaneers in Charleston Southern's football history.

Clemson transfer quarterback Tribble Reese (1,212 yards passing, 11 TDs and six interceptions) has led a veteran Buccaneers' offense that returned all but three starters from the previous campaign.

He has one of the league's top receivers to throw to in Markus Murray (16 receptions, team-best15 yards per catch). Antwan Ivey (team-leading 222 rushing yards and two TDs) has been the top running threat.

The defense, which has surrendered 368 yards per outing, has been anchored by junior linebacker Andrew McKain (team-leading 40 tackles), who has helped pick up some of the slack with the graduation of All-American linebacker Jada Ross.

Liberty missed out on a number of opportunities in last week's loss to Lafayette, which is rare for an offense that boasts a Payton Award candidate in Rashad Jennings at running back (873 rushing yards, nine TDs), and the league's top signal-caller Brock Smith (1,412 yards passing, 11 TDs and five five interceptions).

The Flames, which have the Big South's second-ranked total defense (339 yards per game), will be challenged against Charleston Southern's passing attack, and that has been the chink in the armor for the Flames' defense this fall (223 passing yards per game). The defense is led by senior linebacker Nick Hursky, who leads the team with 49 tackles and 8.5 tackles-for-loss.

Liberty 28, Charleston Southern 17

Rhode Island (2-6, 0-4 CAA) at No. 23 William & Mary (4-2, 2-1 CAA), 1 p.m.

Off to its best start since 2004, William & Mary will look to enhance its postseason aspirations against a Rhode Island team that it has between it just twice in 11 meetings and never at Zable Stadium.

With Jake Phillips (1,163 yards passing, 13 TDs and nine interceptions) back from a foot injury at quarterback, and one of the nation's best all-purpose running backs in freshman Jonathan Grimes (171 yards per game, eighth in FCS), the Tribe has fielded a potent offense (424 yards per game, 16th in FCS).

The defense has been nearly equally impressive for the Tribe, ranking 23rd in the nation in total defense (314 yards per game). Defensive end Adrian Tracy ranks third in FCS and leads the CAA with 6.5 sacks.

Rhode Island, gave an early scare to league-leader Villanova, jumping out to a 7-0 lead before watching the Wildcats rolled up 44 unanswered for the road win.

The Rams passing attack, which ranks 16th in the country (270 passing yards per game), has been led by converted option quarterback Derek Cassidy (2,064 yards passing, 13 TDs and nine interceptions).

The Rams' defense, however, has been a work in progress for new coach Darren Rizzi. The Rams are 105th in FCS in total defense (433 yards per game) and 93rd in points allowed (31 points per game). URI has allowed 244 yards per game through the air, something that doesn't bode well facing the Tribe's talented passing game, which averages 253 yards through the air per contest.

The Rams' defensive strength has been a solid group of linebackers, headed up by sophomore Matt Hansen (team-leading 74 tackles and six tackles-for-loss).

William & Mary 31, Rhode Island 10

No. 24 Lafayette (5-1, 1-0 Patriot League) at Fordham (3-3, 0-2 Patriot League), 1 p.m.

Lafayette, which has established itself as one of the Patriot League title favorites, travels to defending league champion Fordham, hoping to avenge its 34-23 loss to the 2007 champs. That loss proved fatal for the Leopards hopes of a fourth-straight league title and postseason berth.

Lafayette is coming off its most complete win of the campaign, going on the road to get a 35-21 win over 14th-ranked and previously unbeaten Liberty.

Of particular note was the play of the Leopards' defense, which had two goal line stands, and limited a balanced Flames offense to 17 points below its average and just 338 yards of total offense.

Lafayette's defense, which ranks second nationally in scoring defense (13 points per game), and is 12th in both rushing defense (86 yards per game) and total defense (293 yards per game), has been led by Buck Buchanan Award candidate Andy Romans (66 tackles, a blocked punt and an interception). In the win over the Flames, Romans blocked a punt and had a 21-yard run on a fake punt in the fourth quarter to contribute to the win on both sides of the ball.

The Leopards are powered offensively by a strong running gam e,boasting a solid backfield tandem in Tyrell Coon (239 yards and one TD) and Maurice White (team- leading 469 yards rushing and two TDs). Coon got a majority of the reps in Lafayette's win last week, as White sat out with an injury.

Fordham was able to bring an end to a two-game losing streak with a 12-10 win over Yale last week, but remain in search of its first league win after back- to-back losses to Colgate and Lehigh.

The Rams' offense, relies heavily on the passing game (266 passing yards per game, 21st in FCS), and quarterback John Skelton (1,547 yards passing, seven TDs, six interceptions), has been the benchmark for success over the past two seasons in the run-oriented league.

The Rams have been rock-solid on defense, ranking 17th nationally in total defense (305 yards per game) and 36th in scoring defense (22 points per game). Defensive tackle Greg Demarco (team-leading four sacks and 9.5 tackles-for- loss) and linebacker Nicholas Magiera (3.5 sacks) lead a strong Fordham pass rush.

Fordham 14, Lafayette 13

No. 25 Harvard (4-1, 1-1 Ivy League) at Princeton (2-3, 1-1 Ivy League), 12:30 p.m.

With a three-game winning streak in tow and a Top 25 ranking, Harvard will be in search of its 10th win in its last 13 encounters with Princeton.

Harvard has won three straight, this season with quarterback Chris Pizzotti (1,504 yards passing, nine TDs and three interceptions) throwing six of his nine TDs, with just one interception. Pizzotti is also responsible leading one of the nation's top passing attacks (301 yards per game, fifth in FCS).

His favorite target when going to the air has been Matt Luft (16 yards per catch and team-leading four passing TDs), while Gino Gordon (201 yards rushing and a TD) continues to solidify the running game.

The defense has been impressive in the Crimson's three-straight victories, yielding just 271 yards per game. The unit has been unified under the leadership of safety Collin Zych, who has a team-leading 37 tackles and an interception.

Princeton is coming off its worst setback of the campaign - a 31-10 setback at home to Brown. The Tigers gained a season-low 197 yards.

The Tigers have relied on a balanced attack (146 yards rushing and 183 yards passing), and quarterback Brian Anderson (901 yards passing, six TDs and three interceptions) has managed the passing game, while Jordan Culbreath (481 yards rushing and four TDs) has helped a successful running game.

Princeton's success against the pass (186 yards per game, 37th in FCS) could prove to be vital against Harvard's juggernaut passing game. The defense is keyed by sophomore linebacker Steven Cody, who as registered a team-high 48 tackles.

The Crimson should take another step towards getting back into the Ivy League race against a Princeton club still trying to solidify its identity.

Harvard 28, Princeton 14

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 1 James Madison (6-1, 4-0 CAA) at No. 7 Villanova (5-1, 3-0 CAA), 3:30 p.m.

Villanova, which had never beaten a No. 1-ranked team with try to beat the top- rated team for the second time this season when the Wildcats entertain James Madison.

The Wildcats have won eight of their past nine games at Villanova Stadium, including a 26-20 victory over then-No. 1 Richmond in their last home game.

Defense, particularly against the run, has been Villanovas strength this season. The Wildcats are eighth nationally in rushing defense, allowing only 80 yards per game. Defensive end Greg Miller, who was added to the Buchanan Award watch list last week, is ranked fifth nationally in tackles for loss (11.5) and 10th in sacks (six).

On offense, quarterback Chris Whitney (583 yards passing, 118 yards rushing, combined seven TDs) suffered a sprain of his left, non-throwing shoulder in the 44-7 victory over Rhode Island last week, but Antwon Young (723 yards passing, six combined TDs) returned to action to lead the team to five touchdown drives, two on touchdown passes. The starter for JMU will be determined at game time.

Phil Atkinson and Matt Szcur are dangerous pass catchers and could challenge a sometimes suspect JMU secondary. Aaron Ball (513 yards, six TDs) and Angelo Babbaro (724 all-purpose yards) are breakaway threats in the backfield for a team averaging 30 points per game.

JMU had a week off to prepare for the Wildcats after rolling off six straight wins, including victories over three-time defending national champion Appalachian State and then-No. 5 Richmond.

The Dukes have given up just 312 yards per game on defense to rank 21st nationally, but the loss of senior linebacker D.J. Brandon (43 tackles) to a season-ending knee injury is likely to impact the already thin linebacking corps. Free safety Marcus Haywood (55 tackles, four interceptions), like Villanovas Miller, was named to the Buchanan watch list last week.

James Madison has been deadly with its rushing attack, averaging 262 yards and 38 points per game to rank fifth and sixth nationally. Quarterback Rodney Landers (1,489 yards of total offense, 16 combined TDs) is the biggest threat, but the Dukes also get production out of speedy tailback Eugene Holloman (424 yards, four TDs) and Griff Yancey (445 all-purpose yards, nine TDs), running behind a veteran offensive line.

Scotty McGee has been a game-changing force as a kickoff and punt returner, keying the wins over Appalachian State and Richmond with returns for touchdowns. He has a school-record five scoring returns in his college career.

This has all of the makings of one of the best games in FCS this season, but the ability of Villanova to step up its play to another level at home should make the difference in a tight game.

Villanova 28, James Madison 24

OTHER GAMES TO WATCH

Texas State (4-3, 1-0 Southland) at Stephen F. Austin (4-3,1-0 Southland), 3 p.m.

Two of FCS' proverbial 'Cinderella Stories' will square off in a key Southland Conference tilt, as Stephen F.Austin hosts an upstart Texas State club.

The Lumberjacks seemed a far cry from its past successes just a season ago, going winless, while the Bobcats also seemed far removed from a team that made an FCS semifinal appearance just two season's prior.

Stephen F. Austin, who hasn't made a playoff appearance since 1996, has been resurrected by a quarterback putting up Todd Hammel-like (1986-89) numbers. Leading the charges nearly two decades later is Jeremy Moses (2,299 yards, 27 TDs and 12 interceptions). He has one of the league's top pass-catchers in Dominique Edison (15 yards per reception, team-leading 34 receptions nine TD catches).

The Lumberjacks' defense ranks 112th in the nation in points allowed (380 yards per game), but rank 12th in the nation in sacks (three sacks per game). Leading that talented pass-rush is defensive end Tim Knicky, who has 7.5 sacks.

Texas State is off to solid 4-3 start and was extremely competitive in a home loss to 13th-ranked Central Arkansas last week.

The Bobcat offense has been explosive at times, especially the running attack which has one of the league's top backfield tandems in Karrington Bush (595 rush yards and five TDs), while Stan Zwinggi has served as a solid compliment (372 rush yards and three TDs).

TSU's defense, which ranked last in three of four major defensive categories last season, has seen improvement in its rushing defense (165 yards per game), but still rank last among the league's seven members in pass defense (303 yards per game) and total defense (368 yards per game). Those kind of numbers certainly don't favor the Bobcats, considering they are facing the nation's second-ranked passing attack.

Defensive end Donovan King continues to lead a strong pass rush (team-best four sacks), while linebacker Courtney Smith leads the defense with 65 tackles.

10/24/2008 3:09:42 PM