NCAA Football

Six FCS teams that need a Week 2 do-over

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - The biggest cliché in college football this week is being voiced by coaches who say the biggest improvement of the season occurs between the first and seconds games.

Some FCS teams whose play was surprisingly poor in their first game truly hope the sentiment rings true.

Here are six teams that are embracing a Week 2 do-over:

No. 18 Jacksonville State

The highest-ranked team (preseason No. 6) to lose in Week 1, the Gamecocks dropped a 35-14 debacle at Southeastern Louisiana in which they made mistakes from the start and struggled with adjustments. With a home opener against Chattanooga, the Ohio Valley Conference kingpin faces a dangerous rival, but quarterback Zerrick Cooper is talented enough to lead improvement, which includes a decrease in penalties and sacks allowed.

"One game does not identify this team and will not define the legacy of this team and luckily it was our first game, so we have another game," coach John Grass said. "Our team will respond and they will respond in a good way."

No. 13 Montana State

The Bobcats felt the heat of the 99-degree weather and the passing attack at Texas Tech, falling 45-10, but they're back in cooler Bozeman, set to host No. 12 Southeast Missouri in the STATS FCS Game of the Week. New starting quarterback Casey Bauman has to lift his play and the Bobcats have to be more physical in the run game and the front seven of their defense.

UIW

Last year's Southland Conference co-champion was 0-for-10 on third-down attempts and 0-for-3 on fourth-down conversions at UTSA, so maybe the Cardinals should have lost even bigger than 35-7. They're going to have to defend the run better moving forward because the defense is going to be on the field often with quarterback Jon Copeland and the offense having quick-strike capability. They should rebound well in their home opener against Texas Southern.

Sacred Heart

The Pioneers also are defending co-champs - in the Northeast Conference. They weren't expected to keep alive their three-game winning streak against nationally ranked opponents, but in a blowout loss at Maine, they were outscored 42-7 (the final score) and outgained 487-65 in the first half. Although Bucknell is usually strong defensively, the Pioneers should be able to get their excellent running game going with the Jordan Meachum and Julius Chestnut tag-team.

Howard

No team in Division I had a bigger loss than Howard with its 79-0 disaster at Maryland. It got so bad that first-year coach Ron Prince pulled quarterback Caylin Newton, the 2018 MEAC offensive player of the year, because the Bison offensive line couldn't keep the Maryland pass rush from swarming him. It will get easier in Week 2, but only somewhat because the Bison visit a Youngstown State squad that impressed against Samford and could be headed to a 4-0 nonconference mark.

Idaho

The second-worst defeat in Division I also was Idaho's second-biggest ever, 79-7 at Penn State. The $1.45 million paycheck was terrific, but the loss was too big for a Vandals squad that was in the FBS just two years ago. The Vandals need to regain their confidence at home against Central Washington and get into offensive rhythm behind quarterback Mason Petrino. He has a strong receiving corps, led by Jeff Cotton.

Updated September 5, 2019