Category Archives: Northern Iowa

LFN’s FCS Top 25, 10/3/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25And this wasn't a week where a lot of teams dropped out, but it was a week where there were a bunch of epic Top 25 clashes that caused some reshuffling in the ranks.

For example, Youngstown State humbled South Dakota State 19-7 at home in a defensive feast, Central Arkansas overcame Sam Houston State 41-30 in a shootout, and South Dakota continued their dominant early-season performance by jumping to a 38-6 lead and then holding off a furious Leatherneck rally to survive in a 38-33 win over Western Illinois.

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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/18/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

So this is the week that North Dakota State falls.

They fell in a thrilling defensive battle at home to South Dakota State in the game for the "Dakota Marker".

It was a great game, filled with drama and showed that the Jackrabbits are worthy of everyone's attention this week. In fact, South Dakota State's effective, time-consuming drive was in many ways pulling from North Dakota State's own trademark last-second comebacks, pulling together a drive for the ages, daring them to stop them yet consistently converting 3rd and 4th downs to set up the chance to win.

But then, therein lies the tricky part.  Where to rank the Bison, and where to rank the Jackrabbits?
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Excessively Feeling The Panthers’ Pain

I love the NCAA tournament, usually.

I play in the office pool, but more than just that, I emotionally get involved with the games.  Yes, that's not an exaggeration.  Emotionally involved.  I stand up and yell at the TV set for teams located in places I've never visited, becoming hoarse for schools I didn't attend, cheering for Cinderellas I didn't know existed a month before.

Like most of America, I have fallen in love with the underdog narrative - the plucky, underdog story we've all seen in Hoosiers and Little Giants and countless good, bad, and terrible sports movies over the last fifty years.

And as a fan of my alma mater, Lehigh, I guess I live this underdog story on a near-daily basis.  Lehigh is almost always the "smaller school" in all their NCAA athletics contests, whether it's wrestlers going against the semi-pros of Penn State and Iowa, or the football team going against the 100+ scholarshipped players of Yale or Princeton.

That has to be why, after standing up through two overtimes, yelling at my TV and imploring a bunch of college athletes I do not know to somehow take down one of the richest schools of the country, I felt sick.
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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 9, 11/3/2015

If you'd like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

Pity Dartmouth.

The Big Green and Harvard, whom I've had in my Top 25 all season, played a game last Friday that was as great as a game between Top 25 teams can be.

For 3 1/2 quarters, Dartmouth controlled the game, up 13-0 and the Big Green's defense, somewhat surprisingly, completely smothering Harvard's potent offense.

Then, in the span of about six and a half, Harvard, amazingly, pulled out the win.

One touchdown pass to WR Seitu Smith, one Dartmouth fumble and another touchdown throw from QB Scott Hosch to RB Justice Shelton-Mosley, and Harvard took their first lead of the game with 36 seconds left in the game.

It was a great game to watch, and amply showed that both teams were worthy of Top 25 status, but it is impossible, as a neutral fan, to not feel for the Big Green, who had them right there.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 5: 10/5/2015

If you'd like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

This week was a huge one in the Missouri Valley conference, as two battles between ranked teams took place.

While North Dakota State beating South Dakota State might not have been surprising, the relative ease of which the Bison dispatched the Jackrabbits was, a 28-7 game that really wasn't all that close.

And Illinois State, in a true "show-me" game, at least to me, really did show that they are as advertised, beating Northern Iowa 21-13.  While controversial RB Marshaun Coprich did play for the Redbirds, his 143 yards and 2 touchdowns were instrumental in their key conference win.

These two wins cleared a logjam in my Top 10 and established two clear frontrunners in the Missouri Valley race.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 4: 9/28/2015

If you'd like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

I don't ordinarily do do two things with my poll that I actually did this week:

1. I usually don't demote a team completely out of the Top 25 if they're a Top 5 team and they lose.

2. I usually don't demote a team from the No. 1 slot if they win their game.

But that's exactly what I did, after I looked at my poll with a fresh new set of eyes after some of the more interesting outcomes from the weekend.

I'd been meaning to demote Villanova for some time, not only due to their sort-of lackluster performance over the beginning of the season, but for their seemingly lackluster play going back to last season when Sam Houston upset them in the FCS Round of 8 last season.  I was looking for a dominant performance against the worst team on their schedule, Penn, and instead the Quakers upset the Wildcats 24-13.

You could argue that they were getting things done with defense.  You could have said that with the loss of their Walter Payton Award-nominated quaterback, QB John Robertson, they'd suffer.  But the team that lost this past Thursday, simply, wasn't a Top 25 team in my opinion.  The confluence of all these factors had me dip them out of the Top 25 entirely.

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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/21/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/21/2013 follows below the flip.

But first, check out this great picture from New Hampshire of OL Ricky Archer and OL Joe Coccia celebrating what may have been the most thrilling game of the weekend, a thrilling 29-28 win by New Hampshire over Villanova that featured a tie and two lead changes in the final two minutes.  (Photo Credit: John Tully/Concord Monitor)

From the article:
The season’s playoff hopes were about dead after Villanova (4-3) scored two touchdowns in a span of 46 seconds to take a 28-21 lead with 1:09 left in the game. But UNH got a 35-yard kickoff return from RS Dalton Crossan, plus 15 yards on a late-hit personal foul, to take over at the 50 with 1:02 on the clock. New Hampshire survived a fumble on an attempted hook-and-ladder play, got a pair of catches from RB Chris Setian for 24 total yards, and then QB Sean Goldrich (21-for-28, 236 yards, touchdown) turned a broken play into a 4-yard touchdown scramble to pull his team within one, 28-27, with just under 14 seconds remaining.
That put the pressure on head coach Sean McDonnell to decide whether or not to go for two. He said that offensive coordinator Ryan Carty “was pretty adamant” about going for the win. 
“And I just felt, too, that if we were going to win it, we were going to win it there,” McDonell said. “Just felt like the momentum was there and I thought maybe they’d be a little bit on their heels.” 
It turned out that Villanova was ready for Setian, but the senior captain bulled to the game-winning conversion anyway, capping a stellar day – career-high 88 yards on 12 carries and three catches for 28 yards.

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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/14/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/7/2013 follows below the flip.

But first, check out this great picture from James Madison of QB Michael Birdsong as he's crossing the goal line against Richmond last week  (Photo Credit: Joe Mahoney/The Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The sad thing is, this picture was a great one - but Birdsong's ostrich-like touchdown pose would not count for any points, since it would be called back for holding.

James Madsion would go into halftime with a 7-6 lead, but both teams would erupt in the second half, ending in a 38-31 marathon.  Dukes KR Dejor Simmons would take the second-half kickoff for a 100 yard touchdown run, and James Madison wouldn't trail by any more than 5 after that point.

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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/7/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/7/2013 follows below the flip.

But firstcheck out this great picture from the Fargo Dome last weekend as the other battle of unbeatens, Northern Iowa against North Dakota State, unfolded.  (Photo Credit: David Samson/The Forum)

The battle of unbeatens in the Missouri Valley lived up to its billing, but also had an awful injury to Panther LB Jake Farley, who had to leave with UNI ahead 23-17 with 5 minutes remaining with a broken leg that will likely sideline the all-American candidate.

As if that wasn't bad enough for his father, head coach Mark Farley, he then had to then endure watching the Panther lead slip away in the final minutes, as the Bison completed the come-from-behind win to pull it out, 24-23.  It would be the Bison's first lead of the game, and one that would hold up.

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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 9/30/2013

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

But first, by all means, enjoy this great shot of a big Top 25 game last week, McNeese State at Northern Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Matthew Putney/The Waterloo Courier)

The picture tells the story of the game pretty well, as the Panthers in the UNI Dome took apart McNeese, 41-6.  In my poll last week, both were Top 10 teams.  Not this week, though I didn't drop the Cowboys too far.

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