CAA News & Notes: Monster Matchups Headline Week 3

HIGHLIGHTS: Delaware at Rhode Island

On the heels of a spectacular week of football in the CAA, we're heading into what figures to be an even better slate of games in Week 3, with Towson heading to Maine and Delaware hosting North Dakota State atop the marquee.

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Straight from the CAA news desk, here's what's on tap for Week 3:

Several Big Games On Week 3 Slate

The Week 3 slate is filled with big games, including a pair of Top 25 matchups. No. 7/9 Towson travels to No. 8/8 Maine and Richmond entertains No. 25 Elon in the CAA opener for all four squads. The non-conference schedule is highlighted by No. 18 Delaware hosting top-ranked and defending national champion North Dakota State.

Triple OT Thriller In CAA Opener

The opening CAA Football game of the 2019 season was a thriller as Delaware edged Rhode Island, 44-36, in triple overtime last Saturday. It was the longest conference game since Oct. 8, 2015 when Richmond got past UAlbany, 36-30, in 3ot. An overflow crowd of 8,511 was on hand at Meade Stadium for the first game since 1972 to be played under the lights.

Topping 200 

Last Saturday’s action featured a 200-yard rushing performance and a 200-yard receiving effort. UAlbany junior Alex James ran for 229 yards on only 12 carries in a win over Bryant. It was the most rushing yards in FCS this season. Rhode Island senior Aaron Parker set career-highs with 12 receptions for 227 yards against Delaware. It was the second-most receiving yards by an FCS player in 2019.

Strong Start In Non-Conference Play

CAA Football teams are 12-2 against non-conference FCS foes this season. The league compiled a 22-9 (.710) record against non-conference FCS competition last year and went 26-6 (.813) in non-conference games against FCS opponents in 2017, which was the best winning percentage by any FCS conference.

CAA Looks To Extend Success Against FBS Foes

New Hampshire travels to FIU on Saturday as the CAA looks to extend its streak of four straight years with a FBS win. CAA Football teams have posted multiple victories over FBS opponents in each of the past three seasons. In 2018, Villanova beat Temple, 19-17, and Maine beat Western Kentucky, 31-28. CAA Football has posted 38 wins over FBS foes in its history and has won at least one game against an FBS team in 11 of the past 13 years. Since 2013, seven different teams (UAlbany, JMU, Maine, New Hampshire, Richmond, Towson and Villanova) have recorded a FBS victory.

Elon's Willoughby Earns National Honor

Elon defensive end Marcus Willoughby was honored as the STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 9. The senior made a career-high 14 tackles, 2.0 TFL and a sack as the Phoenix beat The Citadel, 35-28. Elon held the Bulldogs’ triple-option attack to just 156 yards on the ground, which was their fewest since facing Clemson in 2017. It was the second straight National Defensive Player of the Week honor for the CAA as Villanova’s Jaquan Amos got the award on Sept. 2.

Six CAA Teams Ranked Nationally This Week

Six CAA Football teams are ranked in this week’s STATS FCS Top 25 poll and five are ranked in AFCA Coaches Poll. In the STATS poll, JMU is ranked No. 2, followed by No. 7 Maine, No. 8 Towson, No. 18 Delaware, No. 22 Villanova and No. 25 Elon. The AFCA poll includes No. 2 JMU, No. 8 Towson, No. 9 Maine, No. 18 Delaware and No. 23 Villanova. The six ranked teams is the most of any FCS conference. Stony Brook received votes in both polls.

Lighting Up The Scoreboard

All 13 CAA Football teams that have posted victories in the first two weeks have scored at least 28 points, with 12 tallying 30 or more points.  


UAlbany

•  Rolled past Bryant, 45-3, in their home opener last Saturday. It was UAlbany’s largest victory margin since 2010.

•  RB Alex James rushed for a career-high 229 yards and a TD on 12 carries vs. Bryant. He had runs of 80 and 83 yards.

•  RB Karl Mofor added a career-high 123 yards on the ground on 18 attempts. It was the third 100-yard effort of his career.

•  QB Jeff Undercuffler threw for 2 TD’s and ran for another against Bryant. He has four TD passes and no interceptions in 2019.

•  UAlbany forced three turnovers against Bryant and is +5 in turnover margin in 2019.

•  DB Jarren Williams tallied a 63-yard pick-six in the second quarter. It’s the second straight week that UAlbany has had a defensive TD as Eli Mencer returned a fumble 52 yards for a score against Central Michigan.

•  The victory over Bryant was UAlbany’s sixth straight win in a season opener.

Delaware

•  Rallied for a 44-36 triple OT win at Rhode Island in their CAA opener. It was the 700th victory in program history.

•  QB Pat Kehoe was picked off three times in the first half, but threw a career-high 5 TD passes in the second half and overtime.

•  RB Andre Robinson rushed for a career-high 111 yards and a TD on 20 carries at URI.

•  TE Bryce De Maille made a career-best five catches for 61 yards and 2 TDs at URI. He entered the game with 6 career receptions.

•  LB Johnny Buchanan recorded a career-high 12 tackles at Rhode Island.

•  DB Justis Henley made 9 tackles, broke up 2 passes and ended the game with his first career interception on 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard line in the third OT.

•  Delaware has now won four of its last five CAA road games.

•  The Blue Hens host defending national champ North Dakota State on Saturday.

Elon

•  Defeated The Citadel 35-28 in their home opener.

•  Davis Cheek threw for 226 yards and a TD vs. The Citadel. It was his 2nd straight 200-yard passing effort. Cheek has thrown 161 consecutive passes without an interception.

•  Jaylan Thomas ran for 135 yards and 2 TD’s vs. The Citadel. It was the third 100-yard outing of his career.

•  Kortez Weeks caught a 27-yard TD pass vs. Citadel. He’s had TD catches in both games this year after not having one since 2017.

•  Brelynd Cyphers ran for 80 yards vs. Citadel, including a game-winning 30-yard TD run with 6:07 left. It was his most rushing yards in a game since the 2017 season.

•  Elon had five scoring drives of at least 75 yards vs. Citadel. All eight scoring drives in 2019 have been at least 69 yards and all have resulted in touchdowns.

•  Elon held Citadel to 156 yards rushing, its lowest total since facing Clemson in 2017.

James Madison

•  Beat St. Francis (Pa.) 44-7 to capture their 17th straight home opener.

•  Ben DiNucci was 16-of-21 passing for 221 yards and 2 TD’s and added 51 yards on the ground vs. SFU. He’s completing a league-best 70.7% of his passes in 2019.

•  Solomon Vanhorse led JMU in rushing for the 2nd straight game with a career-high 86 yards and 2 TD’s on 14 carries.

•  Brandon Polk made a team-high 6 catches for 95 yards vs. SFU. He’s 4th in the CAA in receptions (10) and receiving yards (161).

•  JMU’s defense forced SFU into 10 consecutive 3-and-outs.

•  The Dukes held SFU to 69 total yards and no points through the first three quarters.

•  Ethan Ratke was 3-for-3 on field goals vs. SFU. With 36 career FG’s, he’s just four shy of JMU’s all-time record.

•  The Dukes are 23-1 at Bridgeforth Stadium over the past three seasons.

Maine

•  Dropped a 26-18 decision at FBS foe Georgia Southern.

•  Chris Ferguson was 23-of-47 passing for 286 yards and a TD at GSU. He ranks 6th in FCS in passing and has thrown for 250+ yards in three straight games.

•  Maine’s top 3 receivers - Jaquan Blair (12-218), Earnest Edwards (7-157) and Devin Young (9-175) - are all averaging better than 18 yards per catch and have 5 total TD’s.

•  Emmanuel Reed ran for a team-high 53 yards on 14 attempts at GSU. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season.

•  Maine ranks 4th in FCS in passing offense and 20th in total offense.

•  The Black Bears held GSU to 3-of-13 on 3rd down and forced seven fumbles, but recovered only one.

•  DB Joshua Huffman recorded a career-high seven tackles at GSU.

•  Maine ranks 4th in FCS in passing defense (83.5 ypg).

New Hampshire

•  Edged 13-10 at Holy Cross in their season opener.

•  Carlos Washington, Jr. rushed for a team-high 107 yards on 18 carries at HC, including a 19-yard TD run that gave UNH the lead with 6:52 to play. It was his 4th 100-yard effort in the past five games.

•  Charles Briscoe made 4 catches for a team-best 71 yards in his collegiate debut.

•  RS freshman Bret Edwards (7-18, 97 yds) and true freshman Max Brosmer (8-16, 106 yds) each played a half at QB in the opener.

•  UNH’s defense held Holy Cross to 62 yards rushing on 35 attemps (1.8 ypg) and allowed just two field goals in the game.

•  DB Pop Bush made a team-high 9 tackles at HC, including a big 4th-down stop at the 2-yard line with just two minutes to play.

•  LB Cameron Brusko recorded 7 tackles, 3.0 TFL and 1.5 sacks at HC.

•  UNH, which visits FIU on Saturday, owns six victories over FBS opponents.

Rhode Island

•  Fell 44-36 in 3ot to Delaware in their CAA opener.

•  Aaron Parker set career-highs with 12 catches for 227 yards and a TD vs. UD. It was the most catches for a URI player since 1994 and the most yards since 2009. Parker ranks 2nd in FCS in receiving yards per game and 4th in receptions per game.

•  Vito Priore was 30-of-48 passing for 430 yards and 3 TD’s vs. UD. He’s thrown for 250+ yards in 4 of his last 6 games and the 430 yards was the 8th-most in URI history.

•  Ahmere Dorsey had 199 all-purpose yards and 2 TD’s against UD, including a career-high 6 catches for 99 yards and a TD.

•  LB Branyan Javier-Castillo had a team-high 14 tackles, 2.0 TFL, a sack and an interception vs. UD. He leads the CAA with 22 tackles for the season.

•  CJ Carrick tied his career-high with 3 field goals vs. UD, including a career-long 44-yarder that sent the game to overtime.

Richmond

•  Suffered a 45-13 setback at ACC foe Boston College.

•  QB Joe Mancuso was 11-of-17 passing for 124 yards and a TD and ran for a team-high 70 yards at BC. He’s completing 69.4% of his passes and tops UR in rushing (147 yds).

•  Northwestern transfer WR Charlie Fessler caught 7 passes for 65 yards at BC. He ranks third in the CAA with 11 receptions and leads the league in punt return avg. (15.0).

•  Richmond leads the CAA and ranks 10th in FCS in rushing (267.5 ypg). The Spiders ran for 215 yards against Boston College.

•  RB Xavier Goodall suffered a knee injury at BC and is out for the season. He had rushed for 99 yards on 16 carries this season after missing all of last year with an ACL injury.

•  Freshman PK Jake Larson booted field goals of 36 and 45 yards at BC and is 3-for-3 on FG’s and 6-for-6 on XP’s this season.

•  DB’s Trent Williams and Daniel Jones each made 10 tackles at BC.

Stony Brook

•  Lost 62-7 at Mountain West member Utah State.

•  Reserve QB Jack Cassidy was 14-of-28 passing for a career-best 127 yards and a TD at Utah State.

•  RB Isaiah White caught a 3-yard TD pass at USU after running for two scores in the opener vs. Bryant.

•  WR Nick Anderson made a career-high six receptions for 44 yards at USU.

•  Seba Nekhet led SBU with a career-high 46 yards rushing on 14 carries at Utah State.

•  LB Reidgee Dimanche recorded a career-high nine tackles at Utah State.

•  DB Justin Burns made his first career start at Utah State and contributed a career-high seven tackles and a fumble recovery.

•  Stony Brook brings a 10-game home field winning streak into Saturday’s game with Wagner that dates back to Oct. 7, 2017.

Towson

•  Cruised past N.C. Central, 42-3, in their home opener. Off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2013.

•  Tom Flacco threw for 228 yards and 3 TD’s and also ran for a score. He’s passed for over 200 yards in 12 of his 14 career games and is tied for 9th in career TD passes (31).

•  Shane Simpson ran for a team-high 89 yards on just 12 carries (7.4 ypc) vs. NCCU. He’s 74 rushing yards shy of 2,000 for his career.

•  Shane Leatherbury caught TD passes of 11 and 21 yards in the victory.

•  Aidan O’Neill has 55 career FG’s, which is four shy of the CAA all-time record.

•  LB Keon Paye returned an interception 38 yards for a TD in the 2nd quarter. It’s the first pick six for the Tigers since 2015.

•  Towson held NCCU to 281 total yards and didn’t allow a TD in a game for the first time since 2017.

•  The Tigers rank 4th in FCS in scoring defense (12.0 ppg).

Villanova

•  Improved to 2-0 following a 38-10 win over Lehigh in their home opener. VU has scored 30+ points in its first two games for the first time since 1998.

•  Dan Smith threw for 175 yards and 3 TD’s vs. Lehigh. He has 6 TD passes and no interceptions over the first two games.

•  Justin Covington rushed for a team-high 109 yards and a TD on only 8 carries vs. Lehigh. He’s the first VU player to post back-to-back 100-yard games since 2014. 

•  Jalen Jackson added 95 yards on 10 carries and is averaging 7.6 ypc for the season.

•  Elijah Trent had a 36-yard interception return for a TD vs. Lehigh, marking the 2nd week in a row that VU had a pick-six.

•  LB’s Forrest Rhyne and Amin Black each made a career-high 10 tackles vs. Lehigh. It was the first time since 2007 that the Wildcats had two players with 10+ stops.

•  Villanova ranks 4th in FCS in scoring defense (12.0 ppg) and 16th in rush defense.

William & Mary

•  Dropped a 52-17 decision at ACC foe Virginia last Friday.

•  Albert Funderburke rushed for 50 yards and a TD on only 5 carries at UVA.

•  Zach Burdick made two receptions for 65 yards at UVA and is averaging 31.2 yards per catch for the season.

•  LB Arman Jones had 47-yard pick-six in the third quarter vs. UVA. It was one of three Tribe interceptions in the game.

•  W&M leads FCS with eight caused turnovers, forcing four in each of the first two contests.

•  LB Trey Watkins recorded a team-high 10 tackles for the second straight game. He’s second in the CAA with 20 stops.

•  All-CAA DL Bill Murray has blocked 7 kicks in his career, including one this season.

•  Freshman Bronson Yoder leads the CAA and ranks 7th in FCS in kickoff return average (29.7).

Dominant Defenses Collide At Bridgeforth When JMU Hosts UNI

James Madison and Northern Iowa meet in Friday’s national quarterfinals with a similar look – and we’re not just referring to purple-gold-and-white uniforms. 

JMU's Ron'Dell Carter Named Finalist For Buck Buchanan Award

Ron'Dell Carter Has Arrived

James Madison senior defensive end Ron’Dell Carter has been voted one of three finalists for the 2019 STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding defensive player at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level.

JMU Is Hitting On All Cylinders Heading Into Quarterfinal Round

Rashad Robinson's Ready For His Close-Up

No. 2 overall seed James Madison kicked off its 2019 FCS Playoffs in a fashion indicative of how the Dukes have played all season. 

JMU Crushes Monmouth As Myriad Program Records Fall

CAA champion James Madison piled up a program playoff record 623 yards of total offense and hammered 14th-ranked Monmouth 66-21 in the second round of the FCS Playoffs.

Dukes By The Numbers: JMU Has Been Even More Dominant Than You Realize

HIGHLIGHTS: JMU vs William & Mary

Statistically speaking, James Madison has been one of the best teams in college football throughout the 2019 season. 

JMU's Offensive Line Is Paving The Way For A Title Run

Sessions playing Call of Duty can get pretty heated among the James Madison offensive line. 

UAlbany's Defense Is Flexing Its Muscle At The Perfect Time

In a season with running back Karl Mofor leading the Colonial Athletic Association in rushing, quarterback Jeff Undercuffler leading the nation in passing touchdowns, and wide receivers Juwan Green and Jerah Reeves making one spectacular grab after another, the UAlbany offense garnering attention stands to reason. 

The Future Of UAlbany Football Is Being Constructed As We Speak

Although only 180 miles separate their campuses, it took more than a century for the game born at Rutgers University in 1869 to make its way to UAlbany. 

Jeff Undercuffler Leads UAlbany To First FCS Playoff Win

Redshirt-freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler threw six TD passes and Juwan Green hauled in two TDs as the University at Albany football team rolled past Central Connecticut State, 42-12, in the program’s first-ever FCS Playoff win.

The Road To Frisco Runs Through Harrisonburg

Frisco, Texas, became the home of the FCS National Championship in 2010, and since, has been the one destination most every program has circled on its map.