FCS Football Preview

Story posted February 18, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Cole Koffler

Ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not there is still some football being played.

The FCS season is upon us and we have some quality games going on this week.

The top game this week is between the No. 2 ranked South Dakota State Jackrabbits and the No. 6 Northern Iowa Panthers. Last year, the two teams played twice and split the series with South Dakota winning in the regular season and Northern Iowa traveling to Brookings to beat the Jackrabbits in the playoffs.

This matchup is a defensive battle but features perhaps the best quarterback in the Missouri Valley Conference. Northern Iowa quarterback Will McElvain is only a sophomore but last year he set a school record for the most passing yards by a freshman.

No. 21 Elon hosts Davidson in an interesting matchup for FCS fans.

Last year, Elon was a wild card team but should be much better this year. With Davidson’s big play capability, Elon quarterback Davis Cheek has the ability to match the Wildcats play for play.

Davidson is a solid team all around. The Wildcats return left handed quarterback, Tyler Phelps who is a playmaker with his arms and legs, and defensive line that is great stopping the run.

The University of North Dakota will host No. 16 Southern Illinois in Grand Forks on Saturday.

The defense of North Dakota’s motto seems to be “bend don’t break.” They do not have a strong defensive line as the Fighting Hawks run a 3-4 defensive front. With nine different players coming up with interceptions last year, the pass rush is going to be important to stop the Salukis.

With the pass rush being North Dakota’s strength, the running game for Southern Illinois is going to pose a large threat to the Hawks. Javon Williams and Romeir Elliot are one of the best running back combos in the nation and are going to be a lot to handle with a struggling rush defense. If the offense cannot produce, the defense is littered with playmakers for the Salukis.

FCS powerhouse North Dakota State welcomes the Youngstown State Penguins to the Fargodome on Saturday.

Led by potential first round pick Trey Lance, the Bison are doing what they do best. North Dakota State has already played a game and beat Central Arkansas, 39-28.

This North Dakota State team is too talented all around for Youngstown State to handle. There are playmakers all over the field and a stout defense that comes with that high powered offense.

Youngstown State lost most of its production from last year at wide receiver and at running back. On the opposite side of the ball is where the Penguins have enough experience to compete. Led by Zaire Jones, DeMarko Craig Jr., and Terry Bryant, it will be easier to soothe the transition to find playmakers on the offensive side.

Two teams that are in the same situation are Missouri State and Illinois State.

After a strong 2019 season the Illinois State Redbirds have lost plenty of production from last year's team. The Redbirds’ defense was ranked third in the nation in sacks and has lost practically the entire defensive front.

Missouri State is coming off of a combined one win in two seasons. The Bears are in hibernation.

But with Missouri State already playing two games this season, it will prove to show that they are more experienced in this matchup.

Cole Koffler is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email colekoff13@gmail.com.