December 3, 2022

Photo Cred: Holy Cross Athletics

2022 Predictions Record: 60-22 (Last Week: 5-5)

We predict the top FCS Football games on the Week 9 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.

***We will be covering Elon v. #12 Delaware this weekend, which is why that matchup is not listed in our predictions below.***

San Diego @ St. Thomas (MN) (12pm/CT; TommieSports.com)

St. Thomas enters this matchup on a 25-game home winning streak, which stretches back to their time at the Division 2 level. The Tommies have been dominant on the ground (196.3 Rushing Yards Per Game) and have three players who have topped the 290-yard mark through the first seven games of the season. Luke Glenna and Grif Wurtz have combined for 4 interceptions and 8 pass breakups for the Tommies, while Trent Meyer (10.5 Tackles For Loss) will be a major factor this weekend against the Toreros. 

San Diego is facing a must-win game against the Tommies in an extremely tight Pioneer League race. Vance Jefferson (428 Receiving Yards) and Michael Carner (319 Receiving Yards) are the most explosive weapons for the Toreros, but QB Judd Erickson will have to play one of his best games of the season against a tough St. Thomas defense. The defensive front has been impressive for the Toreros behind Jacob Saewitz (10 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) and Muhindo Kapapa (9.5 TFLs; 6 Sacks). 

Prediction: St. Thomas (33-21)

Campbell @ North Carolina A&T (12pm/CT; ESPN3)

North Carolina A&T started the season with a brutal schedule, but have won four straight games entering this must-win conference matchup. The rushing attack will be key for the Aggies as RB Bhayshul Tuten (776 Rushing Yards; 6 TDs) is making a case for Big South Offensive Player of the Year. The linebackers, which are led by All-Conference LB Jacob Roberts (41 Total Tackles) and Tyquan King (63 Total Tackles), will play a large role against a solid rushing attack for the Camels. 

The Camels could take a major step towards their first conference championship in school history with a victory this weekend against the Aggies. QB Hajj-Malik Williams (1801 Total Yards; 14 TDs) will have to be electric against a North Carolina A&T defense allowing less than 265 yards per game. Brevin Allen (7.5 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) and Josh Johnson (8.5 Tackles For Loss) will need to have big games for the Camels, while linebacker CJ Tillman is going to be a key player against the rushing attack for the Aggies.

Prediction: Campbell (28-24)

Eastern Kentucky @ #15 Southeast Missouri State (1pm/CT; ESPN3)

Southeast Missouri State is one of the more balanced teams in the country as Paxton DeLaurent (1642 Passing Yards; 15 TDs) has been one of the most consistent QBs in the FCS this season. The Redhawks also have RB Geno Hess (714 Rushing Yards; 9 TDs) ranks Top-10 in the country and leads the OVC in rushing this season. The secondary will face one of their biggest challenges of the season and could be the x-factor as the Redhawks are allowing almost 300 yards per game through the air. 

Eastern Kentucky ranks 4th in the ASUN-WAC Power Rankings entering this matchup and a victory could help them close the gap on Stephen F. Austin for the autobid to the FCS Playoffs. QB Parker McKinney (2100 Passing Yards; 24 Total TDs) is having an outstanding season for the Colonels, while Jaden Smith and Dakota Allen are two targets that the Redhawks will have to scheme against this weekend. Matthew Jackson (36 Total Tackles; 4 PBUs) and TK McClendon (7 TFLs; 3 Sacks) are two names to watch defensively for the Colonels. 

Prediction: Southeast Missouri State (35-30)

#8 Incarnate Word @ Texas A&M-Commerce (2pm/CT; ESPN+)

Texas A&M-Commerce has had an excellent season in their first year at the FCS level as they sit atop of the Southland standings entering this weekend. Eric Rodriguez (1289 Passing Yards; 15 TDs) has emerged as an impressive weapon at QB as he leads the Lions in both passing & rushing yards. Wide receiver Andrew Armstrong (820 Receiving Yards; 12 TDs) will be the x-factor as he is on track to have an All-American caliber season. The defense will face their toughest test of the season, but have allowed less than 300 yards per game this season. 

Incarnate Word will bring one of the top offenses in the country into this matchup as the Cardinals rank 2nd in the country in Total Offense (564.8 Yards Per Game). Lindsey Scott Jr. (2808 Passing Yards; 42 Total TDs) has made a strong case to be the Walter Payton Award favorite after the first eight weeks. The key for the Lions will be slowing down the dynamic duo of Taylor Grimes (752 Receiving Yards) and Darion Chafin (733 Receiving Yards) at the WR position. The defense has done a great job of generating pressure on the QB this season as the Cardinals are tied for 2nd in the country in Total Sacks (28.0 Sacks). 

Prediction: Incarnate Word (41-28)

Southern @ #9 Jackson State (1pm/CT; ESPN3)

Southern will look to get their 9th win over Jackson State in the last 10 matchups. The Jaguars will try to utilize a strong rushing attack against the Tigers, which is led by Jerodd Sims (356 Rushing Yards) and Karl Ligon (323 Rushing Yards). The x-factor will be QB Besean McCray (1304 Passing Yards; 17 Total TDs) who will have to play his best game of the season. The defensive front for the Jaguars will have to be dominant behind Trey Laing (10 TFLs; 3.5 Sacks), Tahj Brown (9.5 TFLs; 6.5 Sacks), and Jordan Lewis (5 TFLs; 4 Sacks). 

Jackson State brings one of the most impressive defenses in the country into this matchup against the Jaguars. The defense is allowing less than 200 yards per game and 10.1 points per game this season for the Tigers. Aubrey Miller Jr. (45 Total Tackles; 4.5 TFLs) is fresh off his FCS Defensive Player of the Week performance against Campbell. Shedeur Sanders (2231 Passing Yards; 23 TDs) has been impressive in his sophomore campaign, while Sy’Veon Wilkerson (593 Rushing Yards) has emerged as a major threat on the ground for the Jackson State offense. 

Prediction: Jackson State (27-13)

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

The Redbirds enter this matchup on a 3-game win streak and will look for their first win against the Bison in their last 11 meetings. The defense will be a major key for the Redbirds as Zeke Vandenburgh (12 TFLs; 7.5 Sacks) and Deandre Lamont (48 Total Tackles; 3 PBUs) have been the leaders through the first eight weeks of the season. RB Wenkers Wright (413 Rushing Yards) has been the most consistent offensive weapon for the Redbirds and will need to have a big day this weekend against the Bison. 

The Bison have won 37 straight games following a bye week since 2005 and will look to continue their streak against the Redbirds this weekend. Hunter Luepke (538 Rushing Yards; 11 Total TDs) is the x-factor for the Bison offense and can make a significant impact on the ground and as a receiving threat. The defense will look to make the Redbirds one dimensional behind the talented LB duo of James Kaczor (45 Total Tackles) and Nick Kubitz (34 Total Tackles). 

Prediction: North Dakota State (34-20)

#18 Rhode Island @ #10 William & Mary (12pm/CT; FloSports)

Will there be a hangover for the Rams this weekend after a 7-overtime thriller against Monmouth last weekend? RB Marques DeShields (664 Rushing Yards; 8 TDs) will look to establish the rushing attack for the Rams against a Tribe defense allowing less than 4 yards per carry this season. The offensive line must protect Kasim Hill (1734 Passing Yards; 15 Total TDs) and allow him to be the dynamic weapon that he can be for this offense. The secondary for the Rams have been the strength of the defense with 8 interceptions this season, while allowing less than 210 passing yards per game. 

William & Mary will look to take control of a competitive CAA race with a win this weekend against the Rams. The Tribe are averaging over 250 rushing yards per game this season; led by running backs Bronson Yoder (611 Rushing Yards) and Malachi Imoh (409 Rushing Yards). The defensive side of the ball has been led by John Pius (15.5 TFLs; 10.5 Sacks) who is making a strong case for the Buck Buchanan Award through the midpoint of the season. The Tribe have also held opponents to under 27% on 3rd downs, which will be a key statistic to watch in this matchup. 

Prediction: William & Mary (26-21)

#22 Fordham @ #5 Holy Cross (12pm/CT; ESPN+)

Fordham is on a historic pace on the offensive side of the ball behind QB Tim DeMorat (3023 Passing Yards; 33 TDs) who currently ranks #1 in the country in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. Wide receivers Fotis Kokosioulis (800 Receiving Yards) and MJ Wright (747 Receiving Yards) will test an extremely talented Holy Cross secondary, while Dequece Carter (629 Receiving Yards) is another offensive weapon to watch for the Rams. The biggest question mark will be whether the Fordham defense can make enough stops to win this game as they rank last in the Patriot League in Total Defense (472.7 Yards Allowed Per Game). 

The Holy Cross defense enters this game leading the Patriot League in both Total Defense (309.1 Yards Per Game Allowed) and Scoring Defense (16.3 PPG Allowed). Devin Haskins (3 INTs; 8 PBUs) and Walter Reynolds (2 INTs; 4 PBUs) will be some key players to watch this weekend against a potent Fordham passing attack. QB Matthew Sluka (1888 Total Yards; 21 Total TDs) leads the Crusaders in both passing and rushing yards this season, which makes him an important piece for the Holy Cross offensive attack. 

Prediction: Holy Cross (37-30)

#7 Chattanooga @ #24 Furman (1pm/CT; ESPN3)

Chattanooga is coming off one of the biggest wins in program history last weekend and will look to continue that momentum in another Top-25 SoCon matchup. The defense has been dominant for the Mocs as they lead the SoCon in most major defensive categories, but the major key this weekend will be the rushing defense (86.0 Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed) against a strong Furman rushing attack. RB Ailym Ford (823 Rushing Yards) will be a major offensive weapon to watch this weekend for the Mocs, while WR Jamoi Mayes (358 Receiving Yards) is coming off his most impressive performance of the season. 

Furman might be the perfect dark horse in a crowded SoCon race this season and could cause some chaos with a win this weekend over the Mocs. RB Dominic Roberto (789 Rushing Yards; 8 TDs) leads the #1 rushing attack in the conference into this matchup, while TE Ryan Miller (8 Receiving TDs) could be a matchup nightmare for the Mocs defense. The Paladins defense has been stout against the run and a key piece to that has been LB Braden Gilby (51 Total Tackles; 8.5 TFLs) who will be a player to watch this weekend. 

Prediction: Chattanooga (35-23)

#11 Montana @ #5 Weber State (2pm/CT; ESPN+)

Montana is going to have to end their 2-game losing streak, but will face their 3rd straight Top-25 team in the last three weeks. The biggest question for the Griz will be the health of Lucas Johnson who left last week’s game against Sacramento State with an injury. If Johnson does not play, then it will be Kris Brown stepping into the QB1 role for Montana. The defense will be led by Patrick O’Connell (11.5 TFLs; 7.5 Sacks) and Marcus Welnel (8.5 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) who will both be major keys against a solid Weber State rushing attack. 

Weber State will look to rebound from their first loss of the season last weekend to Montana State after setting the NCAA-record for most safeties allowed. The rushing attack has been the key for Weber State as the Wildcats have three players that have topped the 300-yard mark on the season. Ty MacPherson (570 Receiving Yards; 7 TDs) is another player to watch on the offensive side of the ball for the Wildcats. Maxwell Anderson (5 INTs; 5 PBUs) and Eddie Heckard (2 INTs; 7 PBUs) have been dominant in the secondary and could make things difficult for the Griz through the air. 

Prediction: Weber State (30-24)

#14 Idaho @ #2 Sacramento State (8pm/CT; ESPN+)

Idaho will look to make a huge statement with their 2nd Top-5 upset of the season, which will put the Vandals firmly in the race for a Top-8 seed in the FCS Playoffs. QB Gevani McCoy (1607 Passing Yards; 16 TDs) has been electric for the Vandals this season, but keep an eye on his two biggest targets in Jermaine Jackson (677 Receiving Yards; 4 TDs) and Hayden Hatten (457 Receiving Yards; 5 TDs) in this matchup. The rushing defense will be the biggest key for the Vandals, which will be led by linebackers Fa’Avae Fa’Avae (63 Total Tackles; 3.5 TFLs) and Paul Moala (38 Total Tackles; 5 TFLs). 

Sacramento State enters this matchup on a 15-game Big Sky winning streak and will look to win their 2nd straight Top-15 matchup after their comeback win over Montana last weekend. The rushing attack for the Hornets has been unstoppable this season as the Hornets have topped 160 rushing yards in every game this season. Cameron Skattebo (851 Rushing Yards; 5 TDs) and Asher O’Hara (480 Rushing Yards; 13 TDs) are the x-factors in this matchup against a Vandals defense allowing less than 110 rushing yards per game. 

Prediction: Sacramento State (24-21)

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