December 4, 2022

Photo Cred: Montana State Athletics

2022 Predictions Record: 86-28 (Last Week: 9-3)

We predict the top FCS Football games on the Week 12 slate right here. You can find more detailed previews of some of the biggest games each week on our YouTube channel and each week on our FCS Preview Show.

Yale @ Harvard (11am/CT; ESPNU)

Harvard will look to win back-to-back games over Yale for the first time since 2014-2015. Aidan Borguet (1120 Rushing Yards; 10 TDs) leads the Ivy League in rushing, but will face a Yale defense that is allowing less than 4.0 yards per carry on the ground this season. Charlie Dean (1872 Passing Yards; 16 TDs) could be the x-factor for the Crimson offense after his 4-touchdown performance last weekend against Penn. The Harvard front seven has been dominant as the Crimson are allowing less than 85 rushing yards per game and have racked up almost 30 sacks this season.

The rushing attack will be the key for the Bulldogs as Yale enters this matchup averaging over 230 yards on the ground per game. Nolan Grooms (682 Rushing Yards), Tre Peterson (650 Rushing Yards), Joshua Pitsenberger (585 Rushing Yards) have been a dangerous three-headed monster for the Bulldogs offense. Wande Owens (58 Total Tackles; 6 Sacks) and Reid Nickerson (7 TFLs; 5 Sacks) will be two players on the defensive side of the ball to watch for Yale this weekend. 

Prediction: Harvard (27-23)

Kennesaw State @ Eastern Kentucky (2:00pm/CT; ESPN+)

Kennesaw State has failed to live up to preseason expectations, but the Owls can finish above .500 with an upset win this weekend over the Colonels. The rushing attack for the Owls could be key against an Eastern Kentucky defense that has allowed over 200 yards per game on the ground. Xavier Shepherd (589 Rushing Yards; 11 TDs) and Preston Daniels (352 Rushing Yards; 4 TDs) will both be key pieces to establishing the rushing attack for the Owls. The Owls defense has forced 15 interceptions and that will be key against one of the best passing attacks in the conference this weekend. 

Eastern Kentucky enters a must-win situation as the Colonels need a victory and a Central Arkansas loss to potentially secure an auto-bid to the FCS Playoffs. Parker McKinney (3075 Passing Yards; 31 Total TDs) leads the ASUN in Passing Yards and is one of only three players averaging over 300 passing yards per game this season. TK McLendon (11 TFLs; 6 Sacks) and Matthew Jackson (60 Total Tackles) will be two key players against the triple option attack for the Owls. 

Prediction: Eastern Kentucky (34-24)

North Carolina A&T @ Gardner-Webb (11am/CT; ESPN+)

Gardner-Webb could win their first conference championship since the Runnin’ Bulldogs won back-to-back Big South titles in 2002-2003. Bailey Fisher (2191 Passing Yards; 17 TDs) has played extremely well the past two games as he has eclipsed the 350-yard mark in both matchups. T.J. Luther (851 Receiving Yards; 7 TDs) will the x-factor this weekend against an Aggies secondary that has forced 14 interceptions this season. Ty French (11.5 TFLs; 9 Sacks) will need to make a huge impact against an explosive North Carolina A&T rushing attack.

North Carolina A&T could win their first conference championship since the Aggies left the the MEAC after the 2019 season. Bhayshul Tuten (1255 Rushing Yards; 12 TDs) is having an outstanding season for the Aggies as Tuten currently leads the Big South in rushing by over 500 yards entering this weekend. The Aggies have one of the best LB duos in the country as Tyquan King (85 Total Tackles; 5.5 TFLs) and Jacob Roberts (62 Total Tackles; 2 INTs) have played big roles in helping the Aggies lead the Big South in Total Defense this season. 

Prediction: North Carolina A&T (31-24)

Saint Francis @ Merrimack (11am/CT; ESPN3)

Merrimack is ineligible for the FCS Playoffs, but could clinch their first NEC championship since their move from the Division-2 level. The Warriors will be led by Victor Dawson (680 Rushing Yards; 10 TDs) who ranks Top-5 in the NEC in rushing yards this season. The defense has been excellent in both phases of the game as the Warriors are allowing less than 3.5 yards per carry and have forced 10 interceptions while allowing only 9 passing touchdowns. Brandon Roberts (10 TFLs; 3.5 Sacks) and Garry Rosemond Jr. (4 INTs; 5 PBUs) will be key players to watch for the Warriors on defense in this matchup.

Saint Francis has already clinched the autobid to the FCS Playoffs, but need a win this weekend to also clinch the conference title for the first time since 2016. The Red Flash offense is extremely balanced, but the key this weekend will be the play of Cole Doyle (1437 Passing Yards; 16 TDs) who has thrown 9 touchdowns in the past two games. The rushing attack for the Red Flash is a committee approach with four different players topping the 300-yard mark for the season entering this matchup. Donnell Brown (11.5 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) will play a large factor this weekend on the defensive line for the Red Flash. 

Prediction: Saint Francis (30-23)

#5 Incarnate Word @ Northwestern State (1pm/CT; ESPN+)

Incarnate Word has a chance to be co-champions in the Southland & could earn a Top-8 seed with a win this weekend. Lindsey Scott Jr. (3409 Passing Yards; 45 TDs) has been one of the most explosive offensive players in the country and could be the 1st Incarnate Word player to win the prestigious award. The Cardinals defense has been an underrated aspect of this team as the Cardinals lead the Southland in rushing defense and rank 2nd in passing defense. Steven Parker (10 TFLs; 7 Sacks) and Donte Thompson (1 INT; 14 PBUs) are two players to watch this weekend for the Cardinals defense. 

Northwestern State will look to bounce back from their first conference loss of the season last weekend. Zachary Clement (2259 Passing Yards; 18 TDs) ranks 2nd in the conference in passing yards and passing touchdowns, but must be more efficient against an Incarnate Word secondary that has forced 10 interceptions. The major concern this weekend will be the rushing defense for the Demons, which ranks last in the Southland entering this matchup. Isaiah Longino (7.5 TFLs; 3 Sacks) and Jared Pedraza (66 Total Tackles; 10 TFLs) will be key pieces for the Demons on the defensive side of the ball.

Prediction: Incarnate Word (55-17)

#20 Delaware @ Villanova (12pm/CT; FloSports)

Villanova will look to rebound from their two-game losing streak with a major Top-20 win to end their season. The Wildcats will need to establish the rushing attack behind the legs of TD Ayo-Durojaiye (676 Rushing Yards; 2 TDs) and Connor Watkins (407 Rushing Yards; 7 TDs) who have played large roles in Villanova being ranked Top-3 in the CAA in rushing. Shane Hartzell (64 Total Tackles; 7 TFLs) and Antonio Montero (42 Tackles; 6.5 TFLs) will need to have big games and spark a Wildcats pass rush that has only totaled 10 sacks this season. 

Delaware needs a win to solidify their resume for the FCS Playoffs after losing 3 of their last 6 games, including a loss to Richmond last weekend. The Blue Hens will need Nolan Henderson (2587 Passing Yards; 25 TDs) to rebound from a tough performance last weekend. The rushing attack could be key piece for the Blue Hens against a Villanova rushing attack that is allowing over 215 yards on the ground entering this matchup. Kyron Cumby (442 Rushing Yards) and Marcus Yarns (324 Rushing Yards) are players who could have big games on the ground for the Blue Hens in this matchup. 

Prediction: Delaware (35-20)

#24 UC Davis @ #2 Sacramento State (4pm/CT; ESPN+)

UC Davis enters on a 5-game winning streak, but need another win this weekend to potentially secure an at-large bid to the FCS Playoffs. The rushing attack for the Aggies exploded for 5 rushing touchdowns against the Vandals last weekend and I expect Ulonzo Gilliam Jr. (1132 Rushing Yards; 12 TDs) to be a key player for the UC Davis offensive attack this weekend. The rushing defense will face on of the toughest test of the season and will need to slow down a Top-5 rushing attack in the country. Zach Kennedy (8.5 TFLs; 4 Sacks) and Rex Connors (81 Tackles; 4 INTs) will need to have big games for the Aggies defense against the Hornets. 

Sacramento State can secure a Top-2 seed with a win this weekend and the Hornets could be primed for a run to Frisco for the first time in school history. Cameron Skattebo (1154 Rushing Yards; 5 TDs) and Asher O’Hara (747 Rushing Yards; 17 TDs) lead a Hornets rushing attack that has topped the 200-yard mark in seven games this season. Armon Bailey (12.5 TFLs; 6 Sacks) and Marte Mapu (57 Total Tackles; 4.5 TFLs) are key players to watch against the Aggies powerful rushing attack this weekend. 

Prediction: Sacramento State (30-17)

#19 Mercer @ #9 Samford (12pm/CT; ESPN3)

Mercer is facing a must-win situation this weekend after losing two of their last three games and potentially could miss the FCS Playoffs with a loss to the Bulldogs. Fred Payton (2505 Passing Yards; 30 TDs) has been a key piece to the Bears offensive attack, but Devron Harper (862 Receiving Yards; 10 TDs) and Ty James (754 Receiving Yards; 11 TDs) could be the key players against a Samford secondary allowing over 250 yards per game through the air. The Mercer defense will face their biggest challenge of the season, but have been excellent against the pass by forcing 17 interceptions and allowing less than 10 passing touchdowns.

Samford could make their final statement for a Top-8 seed in the FCS Playoffs by adding another ranked win to their resume this weekend. Michael Hiers (2836 Passing Yards; 31 TDs) has played elite level football in his first season for the Bulldogs and currently leads the NCAA in Completion Percentage (76.7%) entering this matchup. Kendall Watson (786 Receiving Yards; 9 TDs) and Chandler Smith (748 Receiving Yards; 10 TDs) have been the top two offensive weapons for Hiers and will test the Bears secondary this weekend. The Bulldogs have played elite red zone defense as Samford has only allowed 17 touchdowns on the 41 red zone attempts for their opponents this season. 

Prediction: Samford (38-27)

#16 North Dakota @ #4 North Dakota State (2:30pm/CT; ESPN+)

The Bison could be without leading rusher Hunter Luepke this weekend due to injury, which will thrust TaMerick Williams (476 Rushing Yards; 6 TDs) and Kobe Johnson (393 Rushing Yards; 3 TDs) into the spotlight this weekend for the Bison rushing attack. Cam Miller (1299 Passing Yards; 10 TDs) could have a huge day against a North Dakota secondary allowing almost 250 passing yards per game this season. Spencer Waege (12 TFLs; 6 Sacks) has been a force for the Bison defense after his recovery from a season-ending injury last season. 

North Dakota could solidify their FCS Playoffs resume with an upset win in the Fargodome this weekend. Tyler Hoosman (810 Rushing Yards; 12 TDs) and Isaiah Smith (330 Rushing Yards) will be x-factors against a Bison defense that has allowed 120+ yards rushing in eight games this season. Tommy Schuster (2393 Passing Yards; 16 TDs) will need to be efficient this weekend and his #1 target Bo Belquist (688 Receiving Yards; 6 TDs) could be a matchup nightmare for the Bison secondary. 

Prediction: North Dakota State (23-13)

#8 William & Mary @ #11 Richmond (11am/CT; FloSports)

Richmond could win a share of the CAA title for the first time since 2015. Reece Udinski (2875 Passing Yards; 22 TDs) is playing high-level football for the Spiders and has topped the 300-yard mark six times this season. Jakob Herres (768 Receiving Yards; 3 TDs) and Leroy Henley (611 Receiving Yards; 8 TDs) are two players to watch against a Tribe secondary allowing less than 200 yards passing per game. The rushing defense has played excellent, but will face their toughest test of the season and the Spiders need Tristan Wheeler (90 Total Tackles; 8.5 TFLs) to lead the front seven to a great performance this weekend. 

William & Mary will also look to win their first share of the CAA title under HC Mike London and potentially secure the CAA’s autobid into the FCS Playoffs. The rushing attack is the identity of this offensive attack as the Tribe is averaging 277 rushing yards and over 6.0 yards per carry this season. Bronson Yoder (972 Rushing Yards; 8 TDs) and Malachi Imoh (648 Rushing Yards; 9 TDs) both rank Top-10 in the conference in rushing entering this matchup. The defensive line could be the x-factor this weekend behind the presence of John Pius (17 TFLs; 10.5 Sacks) and Nate Lynn (8 TFLs; 4 Sacks) who look to pressure Udinski into some mistakes. 

Prediction: William & Mary (24-21)

#13 Montana @ #3 Montana State (1pm/CT; ESPN+)

The Brawl of the Wild will host College Gameday this weekend and it will be a potential must-win situation for the Griz as they sit on the bubble for the FCS Playoffs. Lucas Johnson (1720 Passing Yards; 25 Total TDs) is going to be the x-factor for the Griz who has played outstanding the past two weeks after returning from injury with 6 touchdowns over the past two games. The Griz will face the biggest rushing threat of the season, but have held opponents to less than 100 yards rushing per game this season and less than 3.0 yards per carry. Marcus Welnel (10.5 TFLs; 5.5 Sacks) and Alex Gubner (6.5 TFLs; 3.5 Sacks) will be key players to watch this weekend for the Griz. 

Montana State has been dominant rushing the football this season as the Bobcats have averaged over 316.6 yards per game on the ground while also dealing with multiple significant injuries in the running back room and along the offensive line. Tommy Mellott (705 Rushing Yards; 7 TDs) and Sean Chambers (16 Rushing TDs) are both healthy entering this matchup, but a player to watch could be Marqui Johnson (329 Rushing Yards) who exploded for four rushing touchdowns last weekend for the Bobcats. Callahan O’Reilly (68 Total Tackles; 4 INTs) and Ty Okada (55 Total Tackles; 7 PBUs) will be key pieces to slow down the Griz offensive attack this weekend. 

Prediction: Montana State (37-28)

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