Western Illinois and Central Arkansas added to the total of FCS victories over FBS teams on Saturday. This continues the theme of regional FCS wins.
The Western Illinois Leathernecks of the Missouri Valley Conference landed on the shores of Northern Illinois not only to find themselves surrounded on all sides by cornfields, but also to find another one of the regional FCS victories over FBS teams that have been so prevalent in 2016. Western Illinois won 28-23 and is now undefeated at 3-0. They led 28-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Northern Illinois, a regular bowl team recently, has yet to find their footing this season. The Huskies are 0-4. One wonders just how much the Huskies left on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming, in the first game of the season. That was a triple overtime, weather delayed, affair that ended in the wee hours of the morning with a 40-34 Wyoming win. The overtime started at about two in the morning. Added to that, some Northern Illinois players complained of not being able to catch their breath at the 7,000 foot plus stadium. Wyoming has “7220 Feet” painted right on the field for maximum psychological impact. Regardless, it was a tough start to the season. And now this.
Western Illinois adds another Missouri Valley win to the FCS victories over FBS teams and Northern Illinois adds another loss for the MAC in the same. Those conferences and the regional nature of the match-up are themes that have been visited before in 2016. Both of these teams now head in to conference play.
Another card-carrying member of the annual bowl game field, Arkansas State, is also off to a horrible start. The Red Wolves are off to a 0-4 non-conference start, and fell on Saturday to Central Arkansas. Again, the theme of a regional match-up was present as the Bears of the Southland Conference went in to Jonesboro and knocked-off the Sun Belt’s Arkansas State, 28-23. Wow, these scores are even in theme territory. Arkansas State put up almost 500 yards of total offense, but lost the turnover battle 4-0. Central Arkansas is 3-1 overall and 2-0 in conference for an excellent start to the season.