College Football: Upsets Abound at FCS Level in Week 7

Alan BlackAnalyst IIIOctober 15, 2012

Photo courtesy of Terre Haute Tribune Star
Photo courtesy of Terre Haute Tribune Star

Texas Tech dismantling West Virginia made for major headlines this weekend, providing the biggest upset of the season so far.  However, the FBS level of college football wasn't the only one to see major upsets this week, as the FCS level also saw several major upsets.

The biggest shocker in FCS football happened in Fargo, as the Indiana State Sycamores went into the Fargodome and stunned No. 1 North Dakota State.  Defensive back Johnny Towalid had two interception returns for touchdowns, leading the Sycamores to a 17-14 win despite the fact that Indiana State didn't score a single offensive touchdown in the game. 

The defending national champion Bison came into the game riding high after a dismantling of formidable Youngstown State last weekend, but were unable to avoid the letdown.  QB Brock Jensen had perhaps the worst game of his collegiate career, throwing for under 200 yards with no touchdown passes while getting picked off three times, including the two pick-sixes by Towalid that ultimately wound up costing the Bison the game.

The result of the game shook up the Missouri Valley Conference standings, as the heavy favorites NDSU now find themselves in fifth place in the conference.  South Dakota State took (at least for the moment) the spot at the top of the conference standings that has been locked down by NDSU for the better part of two years. The Bison and Jackrabbits face off in Fargo on November 10.

The SWAC also experienced a monumental upset, as previously unbeaten Alabama A&M lost at home to Alcorn State in front of over 16,000 fans.  The Braves, who came into the game with a 2-4 record, forced three turnovers by the Bulldogs while taking care of the ball on offense en route to a 21-20 victory.

The Bulldogs saw their homecoming game spoiled by an upset-minded Alcorn State team who gave first-year head coach Jay Hopson his first marquee win.  Braves QB John Gibbs tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Tavoris Doss with five-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter to take a 21-17 lead, and the defense did the rest of the work, holding Alabama A&M to only a field goal for the remainder of the game.



The Bulldogs still hold first place in the SWAC with a 5-1 conference record, but they are no longer a guarantee to win the conference.  Teams like Alabama State and Arkansas- Pine Bluff are now within striking distance.

One other major upset occurred in the Big Sky, where first-year conference member SUU went into Washington-Grizzly Stadium and knocked off traditional powerhouse Montana.  While the Grizzlies are having a tougher season than usual, they still came into the game as heavy favorites over a Thunderbirds team adjusting to their first year in a major conference. SUU showed that they are looking to make noise in their new conference, winning 30-20 in Missoula.

After Montana kicker Chris Lider booted a 42-yard field goal with eight minutes left in the game to tie the score at 20-20, SUU went on a 10-0 run to end the game.  Thunderbirds QB Brad Sorenson finished the game with 294 passing yards and two passing touchdowns, while avoiding any interceptions.  The solid effort gave SUU their first marquee win as a member of the Big Sky.

The upset will likely have little impact on the outcome of the Big Sky title race, as NAU, Cal Poly, Montana State, Sacramento State, and Eastern Washington are all quite a ways ahead of Montana and SUU.  However, it does put a severe damper on any remaining playoff hopes the Grizz may have had.