MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Through one weekend of the college football season, the big story isn’t about Johnny Manziel, or the Alabama Crimson Tide. Instead, it’s a group of teams from the Football Championship Subdivision who jumped up and knocked off schools from big conferences.
The first sign that things were a little off for some Football Bowl Subdivision schools came when Towson not only beat UConn, but handled the Huskies winning 30-18 Thursday night.
Business really picked up on Friday night when North Dakota State traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to battle the Kansas State Wildcats.
Kansas State made its name feasting on bad teams during the 1990’s, but North Dakota State is no slouch. The Bison are a perennial FCS playoff team and one of the top ranked teams each and every season in the FCS.
The Wildcats were smacked in the face by just how well coached the Bison are on Saturday. The two-time defending national champion Bison walked out of Manhattan with a rare victory, knocking off Kansas State 24-21.
The FCS parade continued on Saturday with McNeese State demolishing a horrid looking South Florida Bulls team, 53-21. Northern Iowa continued the upset parade when it knocked off Big XII doormat Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.
But perhaps the biggest upset came thanks to Eastern Washington. Known more for its red turf than its football program, the Eastern Washington Eagles opened the season on the road in Corvallis, Oregon against the Oregon State Beavers.
Oregon State was ranked 25th in the country and looking at making a run at challenging the Oregon Ducks for state supremacy this year. However, Eastern Washington had plenty to say by the time the game was over.
Eastern Washington scored 23 points in the second quarter and led 29-17 at halftime against the Beavers. Despite a furious rally by the Beavers in the second half, the Eagles managed to nearly put the game out of reach with a late touchdown only to miss the extra point.
Oregon State drove the ball into field goal range and set up for a last second game-saving field goal. The kick went up and Eagles players immediately began to celebrate as the long field goal sailed wide to the right sealing the victory for Eastern Washington.
Make no mistake though, most FCS vs. FBS games end with a very ugly score. For example, Nicholls State lost to Oregon 66-3; Austin Peay lost to Tennessee 45-0; Wofford lost to Baylor 69-3; and Murray State lost to Missouri 58-14.
The games are often just big pay days for the FCS schools. For example, North Dakota State was paid $350,000 to play Kansas State and Eastern Washington got $450,000 to play at Oregon State.
For at least some FCS schools, the opening weekend of the college football season provided memorable victories over unsuspecting FBS schools. Now comes the difficult part for most of those teams, maintaining success for the next several years.
Plus, with North Dakota State’s success, head coach Craig Bohl will likely become a hot commodity among FBS schools looking to make a coaching change at the end of the season.