It is unprecedented times in college football and opportunity for all-new coverage elements from FootballScoop.
One such item we plan to make a fixture in the coming weeks is a spring college football roundup.
There’s a lot of good ball being played, incredible performances and remarkable coaching. Not to mention the sporadic kickoff-off-the-face of an opposing player and Deion Sanders flashing his new rides.
Let’s dive into this week’s initial offering on the heels of 38 Football Championship Subdivision games, multiple ones going into overtime, and numerous other clashes at the NCAA Division II and III levels, among others.
Perhaps this is what’s known as a ‘humble brag.’ Yet it also is Deion Sanders – with the benefits of decades of stardom – showing his players tangible evidence of what Sanders hopes to see his Jackson State players achieve.
In a video Sanders shared on his Twitter feed, the first-year JSU coach showed off a pair of new courtesy vehicles provided to him.
Sanders then openly discussed the impending NCAA Name, Image and Likeness legislation that has been advanced throughout the collegiate ranks and at the state and federal levels to allow student-athletes potentially to profit off their likenesses.
“Why can’t it happen,” Sanders asked his players. “Why not us?”
Why Not us! Why can’t we be blessed,promoted,endorsed & identified as game changers! Why not Jackson State University football Team. I BELIEVE! Do u ? pic.twitter.com/aBfVHt2Zjk
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) March 14, 2021
By the way, JSU improved to 3-0 and 2-0 in the Southwest Athletic Conference with a resounding throttling of rival Mississippi Valley State, 43-7.
SCORES ON SCORES
Notre Dame College, a private, Catholic school in Ohio with barely more than 2,000 students, is making the most of a scheduled five-game spring season. With lots and lots of points.
The Falcons erupted for 70 points – 63 in the game’s first 29 minutes – in a 70-7 shellacking of West Liberty in an NCAA Division II conference clash.
Notre Dame had two defensive scores, led 35-0 barely 11 minutes into the game.
Perhaps most impressive? It was the first game of the Mickey Mental era atop Notre Dame College football. A longtime assistant in the program, Mental was elevated to head coach in December 2019 and waited some 15 months to make his head coaching debut.
BEST FCS START ANYWHERE?
The University of North Dakota is off to perhaps the most remarkable start of any team at any level.
The Fighting Hawks are now 4-0 after Saturday’s 38-21 win at Western Illinois, and three of their first four wins are against ranked opponents.
North Dakota opened its season with a 44-21 win against No. 24 Southern Illinois. A week later, against perennial FCS power South Dakota State, the Hawks secured a 28-17 win.
They followed up that win with a 21-20 triumph against South Dakota before the win at WIU.
The Fighting Hawks have surged as high as No. 2 in the national FCS rankings.
It isn’t just that Virginia Military Institute is 3-0. It isn’t just that the Keydets are off to such a start and no player on the roster had been born the last time such an opening unfolded.
VMI is 3-0 for the first time since 1981 – 40 years ago and older than multiple members of the Keydets’ coaching staff.
After upsetting then-No. 10 Furman in its season-opener two weeks ago, VMI has ripped through both Western Carolina and Mercer in back-to-back weeks.
Last week we shared a look at how Scott Wachenheim and staff have built their program.
Three FCS clashes went into bonus sessions this weekend, including a double-overtime shootout between Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri State.
The Govs, under new coach Scotty Walden, needed 15 fourth-quarter points to force overtime before winning in the second session. Draylen Ellis tossed six touchdown passes and Brian Snead rushed for 138 yards and a score in the win for AP, which has won two in a row after opening its spring season with a loss at Tennessee Tech.
Walden was hired away from Southern Miss, where he was the interim coach, in late-October to oversee the Govs’ program.
Jacksonville State is no stranger to FCS dominance, and the Gamecocks have roared out of the gates in their spring season.
They’ve won each of their first three games by at least 17 points and are averaging 34 points per game.
They had one of the wildest kickoff recoveries in recent memory during Saturday’s 37-20 win against UT-Martin, a game in which the Gamecocks erased an early 10-0 deficit to comfortably win the Ohio Valley Conference clash.
Crazy way to recover your kickoff.
Jacksonville State’s Alen Karajic. pic.twitter.com/HOfs7EQbND
— FCS Football (@FCS_STATS) March 14, 2021
COVID CLEARED, NEW ERA BEGINS
After a lengthy search for a new leader, Maryville College (NCAA Division III) in late-January tabbed Ben Fox as head coach of the USA South Conference program.
But in this unprecedented era of COVID-19 complications, the Scots’ scheduled spring season was dramatically altered by coronavirus protocols within the program.
They were scheduled to open their season the last weekend of February. Then last week, MC had an opportunity to pick up a game against USA South foe North Carolina Wesleyan.
Though hardly artistic, the Scots won their first game since November 9, 2019, in a 13-6 win at Wesleyan in Rocky Mount, N.C.
Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere was sensational in EWU’s comeback-win against Idaho State.
Barriere gashed the ISU defense to the tune of 455 passing yards and five touchdowns, as No. 16 Eastern Washington rolled up 29 second-half points in the rally.
Barriere now has claimed back-to-back Big Sky Player of the Week honors for the Eagles, winners of two in a row.