Professional Handicapper Kelso Sturgeon

It's a 3-0 NBA Playoff Sunday for Kelso Sturgeon! The Wizards (+4½) get the outright stunner on the road against the Bulls, 102-93 for a 50-Unit winner! Mavericks (+9½) hung tough against the Spurs and got the cover in their 90-85 loss, while the Blazers/Rockets shootout went way over 214½ (242)! Kelso also wins his two big games on the diamond: Personal Best clients walked away with a 50-Unit winner last night with the Red Sox (-170) over the Orioles, 6-5, and Chairman's Club bettors got the money with the Reds (-130) over the Cubs, 8-2!
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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.

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FCS Preview: Week 10

Philadelphia, PA. (Sports Network) - Here are the predictions for the top 25 games and other notable contests from week 10 of the FCS season.


Wagner (3-5, 1-3 NEC) at Sacred Heart (7-1, 3-1 NEC), 7 p.m.

Sacred Heart has been one of the biggest surprise stories in FCS this season. The Pioneers are off to their best start since 2001, when they won the Sports Network Cup as the top mid-major team in FCS, when they went 11-0.

The Pioneers have been sparked by a pair of talented offensive performers, sophomore quarterback Dale Fink (1,794 yards passing, 19 TDs, 10 interceptions) and senior running back Evin Jones (932 yards rushing, 11 TDs). Steve Tedesco is Finks favorite target with 60 receptions and seven scores. Those players have helped the attack pile up 32 points per contest.

Sacred Hearts defense ranks 25th in scoring, allowing just 20.8 points per game. Brian Flumere and Chansler Davis have combined for 10 sacks. Flumere has 10.5 tackles for loss. Linebacker Rich Marone has 54 tackles and two interceptions.

Wagner graduated several high-shelf players and has been in a bit of a rebuilding mode this season. The Seahawks have dropped four their past five games, including last weeks 35-3 loss to Robert Morris.

An inability to put points on the scoreboard has been the biggest difficulty for Wagner, which is averaging only 17.5 points per game (104th nationally). The Seahawks also rate 113th nationally in turnover margin.

Shane Smith has contributed 533 yards rushing, while Matt Abbey has thrown for 792 yards and four TDs. Robert Brown (five sacks, four quarterback hurries, 31 tackles) is one of the premier defensive lineman in FCS.

Sacred Heart, despite a loss to Albany, has hopes of earning a share of the NEC title and a win in this one would keep the Pioneers heading in that direction.

Sacred Heart 35, Wagner 10


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

James Madison has quickly become the Cardiac Dukes, sporting back-to-back CAA wins over Top 10 FCS teams, with wins over Richmond and Villanova on a punt return by Scotty McGee, and last week's converted Hail Mary that provided a 23-19 win over Villanova.

This will mark the 18th meeting between the CAA rivals, with the Blue Hens holding a 11-6 all-time series advantage.

In a season in which the Blue Hens have been mired in hardships, both on the field and off, the Blue Hens took a drastic approach entering last week's game against Hofstra.

The Blue Hens, with seemingly nothing to lose and down to no experienced starters in the quarterback role, called on two veteran receivers into action to bail them out and help pull the program back on its feet, at least temporarily.

Talented tight end Robbie Agnone and wide receiver Aaron Love split snaps in their new role, combining to complete - passes for and lead the Blue Hens to a 17-0 win over the Pride, their inaugural league win of the season.

The ground attack has been Johnathon Smith (366 rushing yards and eight TDs), although Junior Jabbie (237 and a TD) really had his breakout game of the season with 155 yards rushing and a TD in the win over Hofstra.

The Delaware defense (313 yards per game, 23rd in FCS) has been victimized by the offense's ineffectiveness. But the Blue Hens surrendered just 179 yards of total offense against Hofstra. It was Delaware's first shutout on the road in 25 years, and its first overall since the 40-0 title-game win over Colgate in 2003. Safety Charles Graves (team-leading 60 tackles) recorded two of his team- leading four interceptions in the victory over Hofstra.

James Madison has cleared all of its FCS hurdles so far, including wins over four top-10 FCS teams (Massachusetts, Appalachian State, Richmond and Villanova), three of which have come by a combined 14 points.

The Dukes saw their vaunted rushing attack (250 yards rushing per game, fifth in FCS) struggle against Villanova. JMU was limited to 169 yards on the ground its lowest rushing output of the campaign. Though he didn't put up the numbers he is used to, senior quarterback Rodney Landers (930 yards rushing, eight rushing scores, 867 passing yards, 11 TDs and three interceptions) made his big play just in the nick of time with his 35-yard Hail Mary to beat Villanova.

The James Madison defense (308 yards per game, 19th in FCS), on the other hand, turned in one of its best efforts of the 2008 season, holding the Wildcats to 48 yards through the air on the rain-soaked day and yielded a total of 277 yards. Buchanan candidate Marcus Haywood's (team-leading 66 tackles and four interceptions) 11-tackle performance led the Dukes' defense once again.

Delawares makeshift offense may have worked against Hofstra, but isn't likely to fool the top-ranked team in FCS.

James Madison 28, Delaware 10

Idaho State (0-8) at No. 4 Cal Poly (5-1), 9:05 p.m.

Cal Poly begins the home stretch of its season, hosting Big Sky member Idaho State in its second game against a member from one FCS' most successful league's through the years.

The Bengals have struggled during head coach John Zamberlin's two seasons at the helm, but his successful track record (66-57 as a head coach) has Bengals fans confident he will get things turned around sooner than later in Pocatello.

The Idaho State offense has weapons, especially wide receiver Eddie Thompson (team-leading 55 catches, 10 yards per catch and a TD), who will not only finish as one of the best in school history, but will also be remembered in Big Sky lore. However, Thompson will miss the Cal Poly game with a knee injury.

Sophomore quarterback Russel Hill (2,322 passing yards, 14 TDs, 13 interceptions) leads the nation's seventh-best passing attack, but he continues to sometimes make poor decisions throwing the football (28 TDs and 28 interceptions in two seasons as a starter).

On defense, the Bengals have gotten three interceptions in the last two games from D.J. Clark (40 tackles and three interceptions), and he might get a few more opportunities in covering 6-6 behemoth Ramses Barden (leads FCS with 42 catches for 883 yards and 10 TDs), who torched ISU for 268 yards in a 48-28 Cal Poly win last season in Holt Arena. Linebacker Ryan Phipps leads the Bengals' defense in total tackles (71) and sacks (three).

Both Barden and quarterback Jonathan Dally (1,396 yards passing, 15 TDs and an interception) are coming off huge performances in the Mustangs' 69-41 win over Southern Utah. Dally passed for 410 yards and six TDs in the win, while Barden caught 12 passes for 217 yards and two scores.

On the other hand, Cal Poly's pass defense (284 passing yards allowed per game, 111th in FCS) must improve if it wants to be a serious FCS title contender. The Mustangs will get a good prepper against the Bengals.

Cal Poly 58, Idaho State 17

No .5 Northern Iowa (6-2, 4-1 MVFC) at No. 12 Western Illinois (5-2, 3-1 MVFC), 1:05 p.m.

Had it not been for cornerback Darrell Lloyd's right hand that blocked Youngstown State's potential game-tying extra point last week, Saturday's contest between Northern Iowa and Western Illinois might not have such a championship-like fervor surrounding it.

However, the Panthers were able to escape the Ice Castle with a 21-20 win setting up a titanic tilt between the Panthers and Leathernecks. The winner of the looming contest will go a long way in deciding the Missouri Valley Football race and have a firm grasp on the league's title.

The Leathernecks have lost four of their last five to the Panthers and haven't played this much on the line since the 2003 campaign. Western Illinois completed that season with a 9-4 mark and an appearance in the FCS quarterfinals.

Last week, the Leathernecks won their fourth-straight game with a 56-0 blanking of Indiana State on Homecoming to enter as one of the hottest teams in FCS. Offensively, it was again the Herb Donaldson (1,091 rushing yards and 16 TDs) show, as he rushed for 137 yards and two scores to continue his bid to win the Payton Award. He is the ringleader of the nation's fourth-ranked rushing offense (268 yards per game).

Quarterback Matt Barr (980 yards, five TDs and an interception) has done what has been asked of him in regards to managing the Leathernecks' offense. Barr rested a minor injury last week against the Sycamores in order to ready himself for the monumental matchup.

The Western Illinois defense (295 yards per game) again lived up to its No. 13 national ranking in total defense, and allowed a season-low 135 yards to the Sycamores.

Leading the unit is linebacker and Buchanan Award candidate Jason Williams (45 tackles, team-best 12 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks), who had four tackles- for-loss alone in the win over Indiana State.

Northern Iowa, by virtue of Lloyd's FCS-best fifth blocked kick of the season to help the Panthers escape with their fourth-straight victory.

Like Western Illinois' Matt Barr, UNI starting signal-caller Pat Grace (1,104 passing yards, nine TD passes and five interceptions) was sidelined with an injury last week, suffering a sprained knee in the win over North Dakota State. The status of Grace for Saturday's game is unknown, meaning redshirt freshman Zach Davis (162 yards passing and a TD vs. Youngstown State) could garner his second consecutive start.

Star running back Corey Lewis (672 yards rushing and three TDs) ran wild in the Panthers' 42-3 win in the UNI Dome last season, finishing the contest with 166 yards and two rushing scores and a TD reception. But Lewis seems to be recovering well from an ankle injury suffered three weeks ago after rushing for 97 yards last Saturday.

The Panthers' defense, which afforded Western Illinois just 163 yards in last season's meeting, was the only FCS team to hold Donaldson (80 yards in '07 meeting) under 100 yards last season.

This should be a tight, defensive-oriented game, with WIU holding a slim advantage playing at home.

Western Illinois 17, Northern Iowa 16

No. 19 Northern Arizona (6-2, 4-1 Big Sky) at No. 6 Montana (7-1, 4-1 Big Sky), 2:05 p.m.

Having a six-game winning streak snapped on Homecoming to Big Sky leader Weber State, 42-14, could have a demoralizing effect on Northern Arizona as it heads to the unfriendly confines of Washington-Grizzly Stadium to face Montana, a place where the Lumberjacks have historically struggled.

The Lumberjacks' offense (season-low 257 yards) looked impotent for the first time all season, while the normally stout defense surrendered a season-high 408 yards total offense to an FCS foe),including the nation's No. 1 ranked run defense (season-high 113 yards yielded vs. Weber State), was exposed in every way imaginable in a game that was far from matching its billing.

The normally potent quarterback combo of Lance Kriesien (1,288 yards passing, eight TDs and three interceptions) and Michael Herrick (564 yards passing, three TDs and two interceptions) were both sluggish against a formidable Weber State front seven, and susceptible to mistakes against its pass rush.

Kriesien connected on just 5-of-10 throws for a season-low 36 yards and two interceptions, while Herrick connected on 10-of-15 passes for 102 yards and a pick. Kriesien led the rushing efforts with 64 yards, while leading rusher Deonte Williams (767 rushing yards and nine TDs) was limited to 58 yards by the staunch Wildcats' run defense. Williams left the game with an injury, putting further pressure on an offense that had already lost Alex Henderson.

Safety Cyrus Igono (team-leading 35 tackles and an interception) teamed with Buchanan Award candidate K.J. Gerard (team-best five interceptions), to provide one of the few bright spots in the loss, igniting the raucous Walkup Skydome crowd with a 35-yard interception return for a score to pull the Lumberjacks within two scores in the second quarter.

Montana was able to polish off its third-straight win, however, it had hoped it might get some help from the Lumberjacks last week to forge a tie with Weber State at the top of the league standings. Instead, Montana must keep winning and hope someone else slows down WSU, if the Grizzlies are going to keep their string of consecutive Big Sky titles, now at 10 years, intact.

Quarterback Cole Bergquist (1,920 yards passing, 19 TDs and four interceptions) and the Montana offense (413 total offense yards per game, 21st in FCS) certainly held up their end of the bargain, as Bergquist passed for 243 yards and two scores to help lead a Grizzlies offense that amassed 443 yards in a 41-20 road win over Northern Colorado.

Montanas running game was worthy of praise in the win, churning out a season- high 186 yards on the ground led by tailback Chase Reynolds' (team-leading 410 rushing yards and six TDs) 137 yards rushing and two scores.

The Grizzly defense, which ranks 42nd in FCS with a 334 yards per game yield, got a strong day from defensive end Jace Palmer (team-leading three sacks) and its pass rush, sacking Northern Colorado quarterback Bryan Waggener four times in the win.

Montana 35, Northern Arizona 28

No. 7 Villanova (5-2, 3-1 CAA) at Northeastern (2-6, 1-3 CAA), 1 p.m.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a team that is more disappointed than Villanova, which lost to No. 1 ranked James Madison on a final-play Hail Mary touchdown pass last weekend.

That loss increases the pressure on the Wildcats as they travel to the CAAs worst road venue. Northeasterns Parsons Field, a place where the Huskies have nearly upset ranked opponents from UMass and New Hampshire already this season.

The Wildcats shouldn't be discouraged by their efforts on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium last week against the Dukes, particularly on defense. Villanova limited JMU to 169 yards rushing, almost 100 yards below the Dukes normal output.

The Wildcat defensive unit (ranked 15th nationally at 312 yards per game) is buoyed by a defensive line that ranks among the elite fronts in FCS. The defensive end trio of Dave Dalesandro (18 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks), Tim Kukucka (19 tackles, five tackles-for-loss and three sacks and Greg Miller (36 tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks) has been a big reason for that success.

Due to the heavy rain last weekend, Villanova emphasized the run against JMU and the Wildcat offensive line dominated a good defense, rushing for 229 yards, including 112 yards from Aaron Ball (612 yards, six TDs this season).

Chris Whitney (631 passing yards, five TDs and an interception in five starts) started and played the entire game at quarterback after suffering a shoulder injury in Villanova's 44-7 win over Rhode Island a couple of weeks ago. Antwon Young (771 yards of total offense) will also see action in this game.

Northeastern has seen games slip through its grasp against New Hampshire and UMass at home and on the road at Georgia Southern. That could have provided a vastly different outlook for the Huskies at this point in the season, especially in handling late-game situations. However, the Huskies now have to build for next season.

Alex Broomfield has been a stalwart for the Husky offense, piling up 818 all- purpose yards. He has been responsible for 10 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Anthony Orio (1,540 yards passing, eight TDs and six interceptions) provides veteran leadership.

Northeasterns defense (426 yards per game, 105th in FCS) has been the most deficient unit in the CAA in 2008, struggling in particular against teams that throw the ball effectively (262 yards per game, 106th in FCS). The defense has been led by linebacker Phil Higgins (team-leading 75 tackles).

Villanova's offense also presents the Huskies with more problems to account for defensively, and that will should be the difference.

Villanova 31, Northeastern 14

Hofstra (3-5, 1-3 CAA) at No. 9 New Hampshire (6-1, 3-1 CAA), 12 p.m.

Hofstra appeared to be well on its way to the postseason with a No. 10 ranking and a perfect 6-0 mark, as it entertained 11th-ranked New Hampshire at Shuart Stadium last fall.

But the season took a bitter turn with a 40-3 home setback to the Ricky Santos- led Wildcats. From that point, the Pride lost four straight to finish 7-4 and out of the playoffs.

While there's no potential season-changing result at hand in this season's clash for Hofstra, avenging a 37-point home loss is important.

The most disappointing result of the season came last week for the Pride, who were blanked 17-0 by a Delaware team that had a tight end and a wide receiver taking all the snaps under center. The 179 yards of total offense were Hofstras second-lowest total of the season and the worst against an FCS team.

The Pride's limited offensive effort was powered by running back Everette Benjamin, who rushed for 71 yards on 13 carries while quarterback Steve Probst (206 yards passing, three TDs and two interceptions),in his first start since starter Cory Christopher's season-ending knee injury, connected on 11-of-21 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown against the Blue Hens. Hofstra has now lost two quarterbacks for the season, senior Bryan Savage to back surgery and now Christopher.

Though the Pride defense (342 yards per game, 48th in FCS) was solid in holding the Blue Hens to just 257 yards of total offense and is certainly the strength of the team , the inability to stop the run (196 yards per game) has been a problem all season. Safety Gregory Melendez (49 tackles, second on team), could pose some problems for the pass-happy Wildcats.

New Hampshire kept its offensive flow alive in a big way with a 42-14 win over Towson despite being out-gained in the contest, while its opportunistic defense also lent support by putting up points of its own. Quarterback R.J. Toman (1,784 yards passing, 19 TDs and six interceptions) led the nation's seventh- ranked scoring offense (37 points per game) with 292 passing yards and four TDs.

In an almost deja vu-like performance to the one it put on in the season-opener against Army, the defense again made the most of its scoring opportunities, especially safety Ryan Hinds (31 tackles, team-leading three interceptions) who intercepted two passes, one of which he returned 74 yards to pay dirt. For his efforts, Hinds received national defensive player of the week plaudits. Linebacker Matt Parent's 54 tackles continues to top a defense that has allowed just 21 combined points the past two weeks.

New Hampshire has more to play for as it tries to stay in contention for the CAA title and a playoff berth and the Wildcats also have too many weapons for an injury-hampered Hofstra squad.

New Hampshire 35, Hofstra 10

No. 11 Central Arkansas (7-1, 3-0 Southland) at Nicholls State (1-4, 1-2 Southland), 2 p.m.

Nicholls State has to be feeling a lot better about its season after getting its first win of the campaign, 38-35, over three-time defending league champion McNeese State. Unfortunately, there's no rest or time for celebration as the Colonels will face a Central Arkansas team that's looking more and more like the league favorite.

In the victory, the Colonels' offense came alive for the first time all season, as Nicholls State outscored the Cowboys 16-11 in the second half and churned out a well-earned 326 yards of total offense in the dramatic win.

A large part of the successful offensive night came from the efficiency quarterback Chris Bunch (195 yards passing, three TDs and no interceptions), who has split time with Vincent Montgomery (278 yards passing, two TDs and four interceptions).

Bunch, also the team's leading rusher,(208 yards and two TDs), was responsible for all four of the Colonels' TDs in the win (two passing and two rushing), making him one of the most versatile signal-callers in the Southland.

Another weapon for the Nicholls State offense is wide receiver Antonio Robinson (10 receptions 31.8 yards per catch and a team-leading five TDs), who finished the win over McNeese State with two scoring receptions, including a 58-yarder in the fourth quarter.

The Nicholls State defense held McNeese State to its season low in total offense, led by linebacker Garrick Spain, who has a team-leading 41 tackles this season. Buchanan Award candidate Lardarius Webb had six solo tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a sack and two pass break-ups in addition to 96 yards of returns last week.

Central Arkansas was locked in a battle of its own last week, earning a 28-21 home win over Southeastern Louisiana. The potent Bear offense (438 yards per game) is powered by quarterback Nathan Brown (2,046 yards passing, 21 TDs and an interception), while he has the two of the top receivers in the Southland in Willie Landers (team-leading 33 receptions17.6 yards per catch and six scoring catches) and Marquez Branson (27 catches, 19.2 yards per catch and six TDs).

The Bears' defense (392 yards allowed per game) was tested by Southeastern Louisiana's multiple offensive weapons last week, but will primarily be faced with stopping the run against the option-based Colonels. That's something the Bears have been effective in doing so far in 2008, allowing just 131 yards per game on the ground.

UCA defensive unit is strong in its in nearly every aspect, particularly the defensive front where defensive end Larry Hart leads the way (team-leading 17 tackles-for-loss and 10.5 sacks), while safety Pieri Feasell captains a strong secondary (team-leading 40 tackles, four tackles-for-loss).

The Bears should continue their march towards a possible Southland title, though the Colonels are always tough at home.

Central Arkansas 28, Nicholls State 14

Portland State (3-4, 2-2 Big Sky) at No. 13 Weber State (7-2, 5-0 Big Sky), 3:05 p.m.

Weber State and Portland State combined for the highest scoring game in NCAA history last year, with WSU hanging on for a 73-68 victory. Both teams have high-powered offenses again this year, but defense should be the determining factor in this one.

One of the biggest reasons Weber State has risen to the top of the Big Sky standings in 2008 has been the play of its defense (315 yards per game, 27th in FCS in total defense) - far removed from the unit that Portland State scorched last year.

If an improved defense isn't enough to frighten Jerry Glanville's Vikings, a Weber State offense (433 yards per game, 12th in total offense) that has proved nearly unstoppable against FCS defenses this season might be.

The Wildcats are led by Payton Award candidate Cameron Higgins (2,861 yards, 29 TDs and seven interceptions), who continued to enhance his reputation with a 334-yard, four TD passing performance in a 42-14 win at Northern Arizona last week.

The Wildcats were seemingly unaffected by the suspension of talented wide receiver and kick returner Bryant Eteuati. Tim Toone (team-leading 49 catches, 16.8 yards per catch and five TD receptions) and tight end Cody Nakamura (34 receptions, 16.7 yards per catch and a team-best seven TD catches) give Higgins good receiving options.

The Wildcat defense, which limited Northern Arizona to a season-low 257 yards last week, continues to lead the league against the pass (197 yards per game), as evidenced by limiting Lumberjacks' starting signal-caller Lance Kriesien to just 38 yards through the air on 5-of-10 passing. The ringleader is defensive end Kevin Linehan (team-leading 8.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss).

To take another step towards winning a Big Sky title for the first time in 17 years and advance to the FCS postseason, Portland State will prove to be no easy out. The Vikings' run-and-shoot attack is orchestrated by the great Mouse Davis.

Portland State is first in FCS in passing, averaging 422 passing yards per game. But the Vikings' defense has struggled against the potent Big Sky offenses (459 yards surrendered per game, 115th in FCS).

The offense continues to be powered by the tandem of Drew Huble (1,973 yards passing, 11 TDs and seven interceptions) and Tygue Howland (968 yards passing, five TDs and four interceptions), while the defense has been paced by Buchanan candidate Andy Schantz (team-leading 66 tackles and nine tackles-for-loss).

Weber State 52, Portland State 30

North Dakota (5-2) at No. 14 Southern Illinois (5-2), 3 p.m.

Ex-North Dakota coach Dale Lennon hosts his former team when Southern Illinois entertains the Fighting Sioux. Southern Illinois enters a home stretch with a favorable schedule, playing three of its last four in Carbondale, IL., beginning with this week's matchup with FCS rookie member North Dakota.

The Salukis' third-straight win didn't come easy last week, as Southern Illinois gutted out a 23-17 road win over Missouri State with a touchdown on the final play. Offensively, the Salukis were amassed a season-high 498 yards, led by a balanced offensive effort (255 yards rushing and 243 yards passing).

Leading the ground game in the win over the Bears was Larry Warner (1,166 yards passing, 11 TDs and six interceptions), who went for a season-high 168 yards on 26 rush attempts, while quarterback Chris Dieker connected on 19-of-30 passes for 243 yards, two TDs and a couple of interceptions in the six-point decision.

The Salukis were also strong defensively, limiting the Bears to 285 yards and holding their third consecutive opponent under 300 yards of total offense. Southern Illinois' defense, which ranks 33rd in FCS, allowing just 322 yards per game, got another double-digit tackle effort from linebacker Brandin Jordan (team-leading 56 tackles), who had 11 tackles and three tackles-for-loss in the win.

North Dakota enters its first matchup with Southern Illinois off of a 34-21 Great West Conference loss at UC Davis. The Fighting Sioux have a quality quarterback in Danny Freund (1,578 passing yards, 17 TDs, three interceptions).

The North Dakota defense (368 yards per game), is still cutting its teeth against some high-powered FCS offenses. It has been anchored by linebacker Rory Manke (team-leading 41 tackles, three tackles-for-loss and a safety).

Southern Illinois 34, North Dakota 20

No. 15 Massachusetts (5-3, 2-2 CAA) at Rhode Island (2-7, 0-5 CAA), 12 p.m.

UMass and Rhode Island will meet for the 82nd time Saturday in one of the CAAs oldest rivalries. The two teams have squared off in every campaign since 1946. UMass has won 18 of the past 21 contests, but four of the past five games between the two schools have been decided by a touchdown or less.

The two teams went into overtime last season, with the Minutemen winning 12-6 decision. In a game played amidst horrendous conditions dictated by Hurricane Noel, UMass' FCS-record three safeties accounted for half of its 12 points.

UMass enters this matchup with some confidence coming off a 42-7 win over Bryant. One of the main morale boosters in the UMass win was the play of the offense, which rolled up a season-high 593 yards of total offense and 448 through the air, and a running game that boasted 146 yards despite having to compensate for an injury to leading rusher Tony Nelson (809 yards and seven TDs).

UMass Quarterback Liam Coen (2,018 yards passing, 16 TDs and six interceptions) became the second CAA signal-caller this season and just the 21st in FCS history to reach the 10,000-yard passing milestone, with his 389-yard passing performance in last week's win.

Victor Cruz (team-leading 49 catches, 16.2 yards per reception and four TD receptions) has been Coens favorite target, although Jeremy Horne (35 receptions, 18.1 yards per catch, seven TD grabs) has proven to be the team's top down-the-field threat.

Linebacker Josh Jennings (75 tackles, six tackles-for-loss, an interception and a sack) continues to lead the CAA in total tackles and is part of a defense (347 yards per game, 52nd in FCS) that surrendered a season-low 165 yards in the win over Bryant.

Rhode Island played tough in a 34-24 loss on the road at 16th-ranked William & Mary last week. Quarterback Derek Cassidy (2,289 passing yards, 15 TDs and 12 interceptions) found his passing rhythm, throwing for 225 yards, as well as rushing the football for a season-high 59 yards. He also accounted for all three of Rhode Island's TDs in the loss.

Jimmy Hughes (41 receptions, 12.4 yards per catch and two TD receptions) was again Cassidy's favorite target, catching nine passes for 69 yards, while Shawn Leonard (35 receptions, team-leading 15.6 yards per catch and two TD grabs) led in receiving yardage with four catches for 71 yards and a score.

The Rams' defense, which has been among the nation's worst units (104th in FCS in total defense, 425 yards per game), held a top-25 FCS team under 400 yards total offense for the first time this season, limiting the Tribe's prolific offense to 368 yards. Linebacker Matt Hansen (team-leading 82 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss and two interceptions) led the defense with eight tackles, a tackle-for-loss and an interception.

UMass 35, Rhode Island 21

No. 16 William & Mary (5-2, 3-1 CAA) at Towson (3-5, 1-3 CAA), 12 p.m.

Winners of three straight and sporting its highest ranking since the 2005 season, William & Mary heads to Towson looking to make it six-for-six in the all-time series ledger with the Tigers and put the Tribe a step closer to its first postseason appearance since the 2004 season.

To do that, the Tribe must stop the NCAA's active career passing leader, Sean Schaefer (2,162 passing yards, 14 TDs and 11 interceptions this year and 10,520 career yards), one last time in order to clear another hurdle in their march towards the postseason.

Schaefer passed for 317 of the Tigers' 446 total offensive yards in last week's 42-14 setback at New Hampshire. Schaefer commandeers an offense that is averaging 342 yards per game, to go along with a passing offense that ranks 15th nationally with 274 yards per game.

His top aerial targets have been David Newsom (33 receptions, 13.1 yards per catch and a TD) and Steve Holmes (team-leading 35 catches, 11.0 yards per catch and a TD catch) and preseason All-CAA pick Markus Lee leads the team with four TD receptions to go with 34 catches.

The primary leader on the Tigers' defense has been veteran linebacker Jordan Manning (team-leading 66 tackles and seven tackles-for-loss). He paced the Tigers with eight tackles in the loss to New Hampshire. The Tigers have fared pretty well against the pass this season, yielding an average of 201 yards per game.

William & Mary was able to gut out another win last week, 34-24 over Rhode Island. Quarterback Jake Phillips (1,370 passing yards, 14 TDs and 10 interceptions) led the way by passing for 207 yards and score, while the running game was powered by Jonathan Grimes (603 rushing yards and six TDs), who had 111 yards and a touchdown on 19 rush attempts.

Meanwhile, the much-improved William & Mary defense ranks 29th nationally, allowing a respectable 318 yards per game, including ranking 19th in FCS in pass defense (163 yards per game). Strong safety David Caldwell sports a team- leading 50 tackles, while defense end Adrian Grady (team-leading seven sacks and 12.5 tackles-for-loss) is one of the nation's top pass-rushers.

William & Mary 42, Towson 31

No. 17 Liberty (7-1, 3-0 Big South) at Presbyterian (3-5, 0-1 Big South), 1:30 p.m.

Liberty got back on the winning track, making a statement with a 42-0 win over league-rival Charleston Southern. The Flames, who had an 11-game winning streak snapped the previous week against Lafayette, will look to even its series with Big South foe Presbyterian at three apiece

The story of the win over the Buccaneers was the play of the Flames' offense, which rolled up 475 yards, getting big days from the usual suspects in quarterback Brock Smith (1,681 yards passing, 13 TDs and six interceptions) and running back Rashad Jennings (1,000 rushing yards and 11 TDs). Smith connected on 17-of-27 pass attempts for 269 yards and two touchdowns, while Jennings recorded his 19th career 100-yard rushing performance, with 127 yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, the Flames (31st in the FCS in total defense at 320 yards per game), limited Charleston Southern to just 191 yards, led by a strong pass-rush that was credited with seven quarterback hurries, six tackles for a loss and two sacks. The pass rush was led by Trey Jacobs (team-leading four sacks and six quarterback hurries) with two of those sacks.

Presbyterian comes off a bye week following two wins in its past three outings. For the second consecutive season, the Blue Hose have seen their quarterback go down with a significant injury. Starter Tim Webb's injury has forced one of coach Bobby Bentley's top recruits, Brandon Miley (580 yards passing, three TDs and eight interceptions), into action for the past two outings. Miley passed for 331 yards and a TD, but threw four interceptions in PC's loss to Gardner- Webb.

Miley has benefited from having All-Amercan receiver Terrance Butler (41 receptions, 12.7 yards per catch and six TD catches) to throw to. S.J. Worrell has rushed for 420 yards and four TDs and is a receiving threat with 39 catches for 238 yards and a score.

Presbyterian's defense is still a bit undersized as a provisional FCS team, has been led by linebacker Antwan Thomas (team-leading 70 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for- loss and 2.5 sacks).

With Libertys strengths playing into Presbyterians weaknesses, the Flames should keep alive their hopes of an at-large playoff berth with a win.

Liberty, 52, Presbyterian 20

No. 18 Furman (6-3, 3-2 SoCon) at Samford (4-3, 2-2 SoCon), 3 p.m.

Furman tries to stay alive for a potential playoff berth, while Samford tries to continue to open eyes in its first swing through the Southern Conference.

Furman has dominated the series of late, winning the last four meetings dating back to 1969, including winning two of those games at Samford's Seibert Stadium.

Samford has wasted little time turning predictions of a last-place conference finish on their ear. Already boasting SoCon wins over The Citadel and Western Carolina, the Bulldogs could establish further credibility with a victory over Furman.

To do that, the Bulldogs will need another steady performance from freshman quarterback Dustin Taliaferro (923 passing yards, six TDs and three interceptions) and the nation's seventh-leading rusher, Chris Evans (897 rushing yards and nine TDs). Evans is coming off a week in which he earned SoCon Offensive Player of the Week plaudits for his 177-yard, two-TD effort in the 28-10 win over The Citadel.

Defensive end Patrick Hatcher (20 tackles and team-best four sacks) helped Samford sweep the SoCon's weekly awards, with three sacks. The nation's sixth- ranked rush defense (77 yards per game) was also bolstered by the team's leading tackler, linebacker Bryce Smith , who accounted for 12 tackles and a tackle-for-loss.

With its loss at Appalachian State last week, Furman's season has suddenly reached official playoff warning status, with games remaining against Georgia Southern and at Wofford after Saturday. The Paladins 26-14 loss at No .2 ranked Appalachian State marked the second time this season the team has committed costly turnovers in the red zone (three versus Appalachian State and twice in a 31-10 loss to Elon).

The offense finally found its footing running the ball against the Mountaineers (227 yards), as it was powered by the tandem of Tersoo Uhaa (game-high 99 yards and two TDs) and Mike Brown (83 yards), on a day where quarterback Jordan Sorrells (18-of-33 for 147 yards and an interception vs. Appalachian State) was limited more than usual.

Brown (704 yards rushing and five TDs) continues to lead the Furman ground game, while Sorrells is the league's second-rated passer (1,912 yards passing, 15 TDs and six interceptions).

The Paladin defense had its best game of the season, limiting the Mountaineers 154 yards under their rushing average, 12 points under their scoring average and 127 yards under their total offense average. Furman also held Payton Award candidate Armanti Edwards to a career-low 16 yards rushing.

Led by the play of a vastly improved secondary, due in large part to the play of cornerback William Middleton (71 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions) and safety Max Lerner (60 tackles and three interceptions), the Paladins will need to put up that same type effort against another of the nation's most dangerous rushers in Evans Saturday if they want to stay in postseason conversations.

Furman 21 Samford 17

No. 20 McNeese State (4-3, 1-2 Southland) at Southeastern Louisiana (4-4, 1-2 Southland), 7 p.m.

When McNeese State opened the season with an impressive performance at FBS member North Carolina, dominating the Tar Heels in nearly every statistical category aside from the final score, the Cowboys appeared to have announced their candidacy as a national title contender. Now, at 4-3, the Cowboys are fighting just to make the postseason.

Southeast Louisiana sports one of the league's more versatile offensive attacks (345 yards of total offense), but it is far removed from the pass-happy Hal Mumme era. Jay Lucas 521, and three TDs on the ground, while quarterback Brian Babin (1,886 yards passing, 17 TDs and two interceptions) leads the passing attack.

The Lion defense has struggled (413 yards per game, 97th in FCS) this season as in year's past and hasn't show the ability to stop the pass in 2008 (249 yards per game, 105th in FCS). Heading up the unit has been safety Tommy Connors (team-leading 77 tackles and five tackles-for-loss).

Southeastern Louisiana's defensive woes become more of a concern considering it is facing the nation's second-ranked offense (482 yards per game). Leading the McNeese State attack has been paced by quarterback Derek Fourroux (1,448 yards passing, 13 TDs, three interceptions) and running back Toddrick Penland (803 yards rushing and eight TDs).

The Cowboy defense (364 yards per game, 70th in FCS) has struggled against teams with offenses similar to Southeast Louisiana's attack, having surrendered 610 yards to Texas State earlier this season in a 45-42 setback. Jamelle Juneau (18 tackles and an interception) is a veteran leader in the secondary, while linebacker Deron Minor continues to lead Cowboy defense in total tackles with 42.

McNeese State 41, Southeast Louisiana 31

No. 21 Lafayette (7-1, 2-0 Patriot League) at Colgate (6-2, 3-0 Patriot League 6-1, 3-0 Patriot League), 1 p.m.

Lafayette and Colgate, two teams with strong rushing attacks, will meet with a share of the Patriot League lead on the line. The two will square off for the 52nd time in a series that the Raiders have dominated recently, claiming 11 of the last 12 encounters.

Colgate has been one of the hottest teams in the nation of late, having won six-straight since dropping a 42-21 decision to 18th-ranked Furman.

Like its 2003 championship run, the Colgate offense has another record-breaking running back in Jordan Scott (971 rushing yards and 11 TDs), while the quarterback position has been managed by Greg Sullivan (1,121 yards passing, six TDs and four interceptions) who's taken over for injured incumbent starter Alex Relph.

Scott has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, but is expected to be back against Lafayette. He is 29 yards away from becoming one of a handful of backs to rush for 1,000 yards in fourth straight years. In his absence, freshman Nick Eachus has 480 yards and six TDs.

The Raider defense has struggled against the run. Colgate gave up an average of 182 yards on the ground in early-season losses to Furman and Stony Brook and will be challenged again by Lafayette. Mike Gallihugh's former leadership role on Biddle's defense has been assumed by safety Uzi Idah (team-leading 44 tackles and an interception).

Lafayette has done well to survive some significant injuries of its own. Both the Leopards' offensive and defensive side of the ball suffered some significant setbacks last week with injuries to the team's top two rushers, Tyrell Coon (245 rushing yards and a TD) and Maurice White (469 yards and two TDs), but both are expected to play for the Leopards on Saturday.

The Leopards' defense, which ranks second nationally in points allowed (13 points per game) and 16th in total defense (303 yards per game). After suffering hip and ankle injuries last week, outside linebacker Andy Romans (team-leading 66 stops, four tackles-for-loss and a sack) is expected to return.

This should be a game that goes down to the wire, with the defenses being at center stage.

Colgate 24, Lafayette 21

No. 22 South Carolina State (6-2,5-0 MEAC) at Delaware State (3-4, 3-1 MEAC), 1 p.m.

South Carolina State has to be on cloud nine after defeating nemesis Hampton in a key MEAC showdown last week. With the win over the Pirates, all the Bulldogs have to do now is take it a few steps further, starting with Saturday's encounter with Delaware State.

That's easier said than done, considering the Hornets were last season's MEAC champion and claimed a 17-16 win in Orangeburg. The Bulldogs look like a much more talented team on both sides of the ball in 2008 as they look to avenge that heartbreaking loss.

South Carolina State's offense has boasted the top running backs in the MEAC over the past few seasons, with Will Ford (974 rushing yards and nine TDs) continuing with that theme.

The quarterback position has been manned by Malcolm Long (1,356 passing yards, eight TDs and seven interceptions), leading an offense that ranks 52nd in FCS (362 yards per game) and 23rd in rushing offense (186 yards per game).

In Buddy Pough's tenure as the SCSU coach, he's been known for his prowess as a defensive mastermind. This season the Bulldogs haven't done anything to disprove those notions, ranking 17th nationally in total defense (303 yards per game). Junior linebacker 56 tackles and five tackles-for-loss).

Delaware State, off to a 3-4 start and coming off a 20-3 loss at Morgan State has seen its numbers actually improve on defense this season. The Hornets sport the nation's 18th-ranked defense (304 yards per game), after posting the nation's 33rd ranked unit (340 yards per game) in 2007. The strong unit has been solidified by junior linebacker Kevin Conner, who leads the team with 56 tackles.

The problem this season has been a Delaware State offense that has struggled to move the ball (308 yards per game, 89th in FCS). Senior quarterback Vashon Winton (804 yards passing, three TDs and 11 interceptions) has struggled, already throwing five more interceptions than he did in the Hornets' MEAC title run of 2008. Chris Strother (466 yards and a TD) has powered the running game.

South Carolina State 35, Delaware State 17

No. 23 Harvard (5-1, 3-1 Ivy League) at Dartmouth (0-6, 0-3 Ivy League), 12:30 p.m.

Dartmouth holds the distinction of being a part of some company teams wouldn't want to keep, with the third-longest losing streak in FCS at eight games. The streak isn't likely to end against 23rd-ranked Harvard.

Despite losing 10 of its last 11 to the Crimson, the Big Green played tough at Harvard last season, with just a seven-point loss (28-21).

To accomplish the unthinkable Saturday, the Big Green must get a solid effort from junior quarterback Alex Jenny (1,071 yards, five TDs, nine interceptions), while he needs leading wide receiver Sean McManus (team-leading 30 receptions, 10.7 yards per catch and three TD catches) to stretch a strong Harvard secondary. The only problem is that he'll need some help, considering he has accounted for three of the Big Green's four TD receptions this season.

The Big Green defense, which has yielded plenty to opposing offenses, will need to force turnovers against a Harvard offense that ranks among the nation's most potent passing units (292 yards per game, ninth in FCS). The defense has gleaned leadership from senior strong safety Ian Wilson, who boasts a team- leading 61 stops.

Winners of four straight, Harvard has been solid on both sides of the ball to garner its five wins. Chris Pizzotti (1,751 passing yards, 10 TDs and three interceptions) continues to make Harvard's offense one of the hardest units to stop in the nation (408 yards per game, 25th in FCS in total offense).

The Crimson defense, which ranks 19th nationally in scoring (20.3 points per game) and 46th in total defense (341 yards per game), is a unit that boasts plenty of talent in the secondary, with leading tackler Collin Zych (47 tackles and an interception) at safety and one of the nation's top cover-corners, Andrew Berry (32 tackles and two interceptions).

Harvard 40, Dartmouth 0

Tennessee Tech (3-6, 1-4 OVC) at No. 25 Tennessee State (6-2, 3-1 OVC), 6 p.m.

Tennessee State will look to avoid being on the wrong end of an upset for the second consecutive week, as it looks to regroup against intrastate rival Tennessee Tech. The Tigers were upended, 27-20 in OT, by Southeast Missouri State in one of the biggest upsets of the FCS season.

The Tigers' offense was able to amass 450 yards, however, four turnovers proved too costly to overcome in its first Ohio Valley setback of the season. Quarterback Antonio Heffner had one of his most forgettable performances this season, throwing three interceptions. Javarris Williams (819 rushing yards and 12 TDs) rushed for 125 yards and a score in the losing effort.

The normally sound Tennessee State pass defense (199 passing yards per game, 49th in FCS) was susceptible against the Redhawks, yielding 236 of Southeast Missouri's 293 yards through the air. The otherwise strong defensive effort was led by linebacker Redmond Willis (36 tackles, fourth on the team) who had eight tackles. Fellow linebacker Eugene Clifford continues to shoulder much of the load defensively, with a team-best 44 tackles.

Tennessee Tech has lost four straight after getting off to a promising 3-2 start. It's latest setback turned out to be Austin Peay's first win of the season, a 31-28 decision.

Record-setting passer Lee Sweeney (1,332 yards passing, eight TDs and 10 interceptions) could notch one of the best wins of his career with a victory over the Tigers. Henry Sales (397 rushing yards and four TDs) has been one of the league's most exciting players with his speed and elusiveness.

The Golden Eagles' defense (406 yards per game) continued glaring weaknesses against the run and pass in the loss to the Governors, giving up a total of 480 yards. One of the preeminent leaders on defense has been sophomore linebacker Charlie Seviers, who leads the pass-rush with five sacks.

Tennessee State 42, Tennessee Tech 7


No. 3 Wofford (6-1, 4-0 SoCon) at No. 2 Appalachian State (6-2, 4-0 SoCon), 8 p.m.

Halloween will definitely be more of a treat rather than a trick when Appalachian State hosts Wofford in a potential championship-deciding Southern Conference contest at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Appalachian State has won 39 of its 40 games at home between 2003 and 2008, but the Mountaineers last conference home loss before that was a 26-21 defeat by Wofford in 2002. That was the only time the Terriers have beaten the Mountaineers in Boone, N.C. since joining the SoCon in 1997.

Wofford's one loss (23-13 at South Carolina) was arguably more impressive than any of its five wins heading into its contest at No. 3 Elon last Saturday. But a 55-20 mauling of the Phoenix last week has given the Terriers a boost of confidence.

In the victory over Elon, Dane Romero (518 rushing yards and 11 TDs) led the charge with 87 yards and three touchdowns for a Wofford running game that ranks second nationally among the FCS ranks in total rushing output, at 349 yards per game.

Quarterback Ben Widmyer (44-of-64 passing, 742 yards, seven TDs and no interceptions) helped power an offense that also sports a No. 2 ranking on the FCS ledger in total offense amassed (480 yards per game). Widmyer completed 11- of-17 passes for 143 yards and a TD in the win, accounting for 202 yards of total offense and three TDs.

The Wofford defense, which limited a potent Elon offense to just 338 yards (62 yards rushing), currently ranks first nationally in turnover margin (2.14) and third nationally in sacks (3.17 per game), recorded four sacks and forced four turnovers in the victory over the Phoenix.

Talented linebacker Seth Goldwire (58 tackles, two interceptions and one TD) heads up the unit, while defensive end Mitch Clark (team-leading five sacks) anchors the nationally-acclaimed defensive line.

Appalachian State had its share of struggles in a 26-14 win over arch-rival Furman, getting out-gained 354-319. The biggest concern was the Mountaineers' inability to run the ball for just the second time this year (133 yards rushing, 154 yards below their average). Most of that limitation was due to signal-caller Armanti Edwards' (team-leading 561 yards rushing and eight TDs) career-low 16 yards rushing.

But lost in the mix was another solid game throwing the football (two TD passes in fourth quarter) for Edwards (1,456 yards passing, 15 TDs and two interceptions), as he connected on 16-of-24 passes for 186 yards and two TDs.

The running game was paced by Devin Radford (455 rushing yards and three TDs), whose 82-yard burst early in the second quarter set up Appalachian's second score of the contest.

The Mountaineer defense turned out one of its more impressive performances of the season, and linebacker Pierre Banks (48 tackles, four tackles-for-loss and two sacks in '08) finally had his breakout performance of the 2008 season, forcing two crucial red zone fumbles to go with his eight tackles and two sacks in the win.

Mark LeGree continued his stellar season in his first as a starter in the Appalachian secondary, notching his team-best fourth interception last week. The Mountaineers are tied for fifth nationally with 13 interceptions.

Appalachian State 24, Wofford 20

10/31/2008 12:01:08 PM