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2022 FCS First-Spherical Video games Ranked By Intrigue

The FCS playoffs kick off this weekend with eight first-round video games. We ranked them primarily based on essentially the most intriguing matchups.

8. Davidson at Richmond

Pioneer Soccer League AQ and triple-option-running Davidson brings the nation’s main speeding offense (350.5 YPG) to CAA Soccer at-large choice Richmond, which boasts the No. 11 passing offense within the FCS at 290 YPG. The Spiders will go so far as quarterback Reece Udinski (24 touchdowns to 4 interceptions, 3,152 passing yards) can take them, which ought to be previous the Wildcats in spherical 1 at house. Davidson wants its choice assault to confuse one of many CAA’s higher speeding defences, facilitating profitable time of possession and protecting Udinski on the sideline.

Davidson’s heavy underdog standing caps this sport’s nationwide intrigue, although there ought to be curiosity within the winner insofar as that group hitting the street for second-seeded Sacramento State’s second-round battle. Sac State had an argument for the No. 1 seed, however now, its mission is to exorcize playoff demons, and that effort begins with Davidson or Richmond. Davidson enters the first-round sport with the higher momentum, having held off Dayton 24-23 within the common season finale to clinch a 3rd straight PFL auto-bid whereas UR fell to eventual seed recipient William & Mary 37-26.

7. Gardner-Webb at Jap Kentucky

Gardner-Webb’s story in 2022 will not be completed but, because the Runnin’ Bulldogs will make their FCS playoff debut at a legacy program in Jap Kentucky. The Colonels, winners of the ASUN-WAC AQ out of the ASUN’s pool of groups, search to finish Large South champion GWU’s storybook 12 months unceremoniously. In fact, EKU has its personal feel-good story within the type of head coach Walt Wells’ comeback to the sidelines following a critical well being scare.

Wells has overseen the event of Colonels QB Parker McKinney, whose 318.36 passing yards per sport be part of solely Fordham’s Tim DeMorat and Incarnate Phrase’s Lindsey Scott on the 300+ YPG threshold. As a lot as Jap Kentucky would possibly wish to be within the FBS in some unspecified time in the future, whether or not EKU can capitalize on its present postseason alternative, its first since 2014, is of be aware for spherical 1 intrigue.

6. Saint Francis at Delaware

Delaware has been top-25-ranked all season, however skids into the FCS playoffs at 7-4. The Blue Hens managed to be the CAA’s fifth playoff qualifier by advantage of their FBS win at Navy and a runaway victory over fellow 7-4 finisher Rhode Island. Each of those triumphs got here in September, nonetheless, and UD is 2-4 in its final six, together with late-game losses to playoff Richmond and middling Villanova to shut the common season. Saint Francis takes its eighth-ranked scoring offense (37.6 PPG) to Newark, the place Purple Flash QB Cole Doyle, a Walter Payton Award finalist with the nation’s fourth-best passing effectivity (179.9), goals to crack the CAA’s main cross protection. Doyle is doing the reverse of the Hens’ late-season nosedive, heating up down the stretch with 14 passing touchdowns in his final three outings, two of which got here in opposition to a pair of the NEC’s higher groups in Sacred Coronary heart and Merrimack.

Delaware requires a robust, convincing displaying whereas internet hosting SFU to assuage doubts that it belongs within the area (UD was Sam Herder’s first group out in his ultimate bracketology on Choice Eve), but when it would not get itself collectively this week, even in a projected win, top-seeded South Dakota State can run it off the sector the next week with relative ease. Earlier than that comes into play, Saint Francis, a winner of 9 in a row and a group in possession of a aggressive loss to Richmond, seeks to duplicate the scare NEC mate Sacred Coronary heart delivered to Delaware within the opening spherical of the 2020-21 season’s spring brace.

5. Idaho at Southeastern Louisiana College

Welcome again to the FCS playoffs, Vandals. Idaho makes its first foray into the FCS dance since returning to the Championship Subdivision voluntarily from an FBS stint. In doing so, it should trek to Hammond to tussle with SLU, the Southland AQ. This sport matches top-25 scoring offenses and revered head coaches in Idaho’s Jason Eck and Southeastern’s Frank Scelfo. With Idaho and SLU every sporting a proficient offense, the winner units up a second-round date at Samford that might be as high-scoring as any of that day’s video games.

The Vandals beat Idaho State final week with out beginning QB Gevani McCoy, who was absent for precautionary causes. McCoy’s return, coupled with Idaho’s cross-country flight, makes this matchup one of many top-5 intrigue. It is most likely essentially the most underrated sport on this listing, however one other offensive-oriented sport awaits in…

4. Fordham at New Hampshire

Fordham nets a uncommon Patriot League at-large berth to obtain a ticket to Durham. The Rams rating 50.2 PPG, making them a enjoyable look ahead to any informal playoff observer. New Hampshire, nonetheless, has designs on stopping the Fordham fireworks on their tracks for CAA Soccer Coach of the Yr Rick Santos. UNH aspires to show {that a} considerably favorable CAA schedule was to not thank for the Cats’ share of the convention crown with league AQ William & Mary. New Hampshire performed such CAA opponents as Towson, Stony Brook, and rival Maine whereas avoiding within the rotation names together with playoff W&M and Delaware.

The best supply of intrigue on this sport, past the regional bragging rights and stature at stake in pitting a Patriot vs. CAA at-large, is whether or not Tim DeMorat and Fordham can earn a rematch with No. 8 seed Holy Cross within the second spherical. The Rams misplaced an instant-classic shootout to HC within the common season; that defeat, nonetheless slim, value Fordham the Patriot League AQ, provided that the Crusaders would stay unbeaten the remainder of the best way.

3. Elon at Furman

The groups’ mixed expertise on paper smacks of a later-round sport, however Elon and Furman discover themselves paired for the primary spherical. The Phoenix has a high-end resume in rising from CAA Soccer: Its 8-3 general mark features a fairly aggressive loss at improved FBS P5 Vanderbilt, a win over Large South champion Gardner-Webb, and a trio of now-ranked CAA wins over William & Mary, Richmond, and Delaware. Elon’s Week 12 bye to conclude the common season offers it the impact of a playoff seed rest-wise, albeit not the positioning for the rest of the bracket. Within the close to time period, although, it might assist in tangling with Furman, who brings QB Tyler Huff and his 242.2 yards of whole offense per sport (fourth within the SoCon) to the desk. Intrigue factors added to this one for the CAA-vs.-SoCon factor.

The SoCon actually wants Furman on this sport as its lone at-large qualifier. Chattanooga was among the many first groups on the skin trying in on Choice Sunday and Mercer fell shy, too. The onus is on the Paladins to signify their convention nationally (this week, anyway), which is intriguing with a formidable Elon coming to city.

2. Southeast Missouri State at Montana

OVC coin-flip victor and AQ SEMO, which had the superior resume to UT Martin anyway, travels to Montana, which snuck within the playoff again door at 7-4 coming off a Brawl of the Wild blowout loss and swiftly has ESPN2 eyes on its first-round sport. Clouding the matchup is the query of how a lot the committee’s normal or peripheral consciousness of common internet hosting bid quantities positioned by colleges interprets to an acknowledgment of that consideration as a range standards. Hypothesis runs rampant on the subject of historically well-off bidders akin to Montana and Delaware. It is no secret these packages reliably bid extremely for first-round house video games at massive FCS venues, however these greenback figures are, by rule, to not be found till after choices are made and thus are solely to be recognized if essential.

Setting the discernment of potential host establishments’ bidding’s affect apart, SEMO/Montana is a captivating sport in a number of respects. The Redhawks take a prolonged journey into one of many FCS’s most imposing home-field benefits in prime time. QB well being is a narrative on each side. SEMO starter Paxton DeLaurent has been in a strolling boot prior to now two video games, making star operating again Geno Hess’s position all of the bigger (FCS-leading 19 speeding TDs ties Sac State QB Asher O’Hara).

If DeLaurent continues to be questionable, that would assist Montana key on Hess, however the Grizzlies have to select up the items on run protection after being gashed by Montana State for 439 Bobcat speeding yards.

For UM, Lucas Johnson has missed time at QB this season, however he performed in Bozeman final week, the location of ESPN’s Faculty GameDay. As one of many final two groups within the area, Montana acquired some committee advantage of the doubt for useful time the Griz spent with out Johnson obtainable. It is a completely different offense when he is in motion, undoubtedly for the higher.

1.North Dakota at Weber State

A Missouri Valley/Large Sky contest (MVFC-Large Sky Problem, anybody?) tops the “intrigue rankings” in spherical 1. Weber State lands the house first-round sport after a daily season that some thought might be seedable (9-2 general with 8 DI wins, together with an FBS win by 4 touchdowns at Utah State). The Wildcats welcome a UND squad that went 7-4 however picked up key, shut triumphs over Northern Iowa, Youngstown State, and WAC contender Abilene Christian all through the marketing campaign to earn an at-large spot because the Valley’s third group in.

Including to the intrigue is UND believing it had the upper bid to host, however playoff committee Jermaine Truax stated the committee awarded Weber the house sport primarily based on efficiency.

Video games akin to this are handy avenues to evaluating the MVFC and Large Sky past their top-4-seed quartet composed of “the XDSUs” and the BSC’s Sacramento State and Montana State. Which is the deeper league? Which might lay declare to extra nationwide, deep postseason threats? Consider UND/Weber as a barometer on this debate, particularly in a semi-down 12 months for the Valley (three whole playoff groups for the league). One may nonetheless argue it is a extra vital sport for the Large Sky to take with Weber State at house and a Dakota Marker sport in Frisco on the desk. WSU ought to be favored in Ogden with its FCS No. 6 scoring protection (18.3 PPG).

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