Week 8 FCS Football Preview & Predictions
2022 Predictions Record: 55-17 (Last Week: 8-2)
We predict the top FCS Football games on the Week 8 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 #11 Mercer @ #10 Chattanooga this weekend, which is why that matchup is not listed in our predictions below.***
Princeton @ Harvard (6pm/CT; ESPNU)
Princeton enters this game with an undefeated record and could take a strong lead in the Ivy League race this season with a win on Friday night. Ryan Butler (8 Rushing TDs) has emerged as an explosive weapon for the Princeton offense and will look to make a strong run for the Jerry Rice Award. The Harvard secondary will have an extremely tough challenge against Andrei Iosivas (447 Receiving Yards) & Dylan Classi (476 Receiving Yards) as they look to slow down one of the best wide receiver duos in the country.
The rushing attack will be important for the Crimson offense this weekend behind the legs of Aidan Borguet (620 Rushing Yards) who currently leads the Ivy League in rushing this season. The defensive line will be the key for Harvard this weekend as the Crimson look to get pressure on Princeton who has allowed 17 sacks this season. Thor Griffith (6.5 Tackles For Loss) and Truman Jones (8.5 Tackles For Loss) are the names to watch as the Crimson have three players who rank Top-5 in the Ivy League in tackles for loss.
Prediction: Harvard (20-16)
Sacred Heart @ Merrimack (12pm/CT; NEC Front Row)
Merrimack will be eligible for the NEC championship for the first time since their transition from the D-II level. The rushing attack has been explosive for the Warriors this season behind the legs of Victor Dawson (473 Rushing Yards; 9 TDs) and Tyvon Edmonds Jr. (382 Rushing Yards; 3 TDs). The defensive front does an excellent job in playing behind the line of scrimmage as the Warriors have 58 tackles for loss and 22 sacks this season. James Nyamwaya (5.5 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) and Brandon Roberts (6 TFLs; 3.5 Sacks) are the two names to watch in this matchup for the Warriors.
Sacred Heart is looking to win their 3rd straight NEC championship, but will have arguably their toughest conference matchup of the season this weekend. Malik Grant (507 Rushing Yards; 6 TDs) will be the key this weekend as the Pioneers are 0-2 this season when Grant does not rush for 100 yards, but undefeated when Grant hits the 100-yard mark. Grant will also create opportunities for Marquez McCray (1313 Passing Yards) in the passing game against a talented Merrimack secondary.
Prediction: Sacred Heart (24-21)
North Carolina Central @ South Carolina State (12:30pm/CT; ESPN3)
Trei Oliver told the media that this season was going to be special and the Eagles have looked the part through the first six games of their season. Davius Richard (1618 Total Yards; 21 Total TDs) is making a case to run away with the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year. The Central offense is averaging over 41 points per game and that could put major pressure on a South Carolina State offense that is averaging just over 21 points per game. Quantez Mansfield (5 TFLs; 2.5 Sacks) will be a player to watch on the defensive side of the ball this weekend for the Eagles.
South Carolina State will look to start their defense of the MEAC Championship with a much needed win against North Carolina Central. Shaquan Davis (392 Receiving Yards; 5 TDs) is the most dangerous offensive weapon for the Bulldogs, but quarterback uncertainty has slowed the offensive production. The rushing attack will need to be more consistent against a talented North Carolina Central defensive front and Kendrell Flowers (184 Rushing Yards) will be the key player in making that happen.
Prediction: North Carolina Central (34-20)
#6 Holy Cross @ Lafayette (2:30pm/CT; ESPN+)
Holy Cross is fighting to be a Top-8 seed in the FCS Playoffs as the Crusaders look to continue their undefeated season this weekend. Matthew Sluka (1781 Total Yards; 20 TDs) has been one of the most impressive players in the country this season and currently leads the Crusaders in both passing & rushing. Jalen Coker (603 Receiving Yards; 7 TDs) continues to be the #1 receiving target for Sluka, but another name to watch is Ayir Asante (4 Receiving TDs) who is quietly putting together an impressive season.
FCS longest active streaks with a touchdown reception. pic.twitter.com/TOeyVH9yOM
— FCS Football (@FCS_STATS) October 20, 2022
Lafayette will have to find some offensive consistency if the Leopards are going to pull off the Top-10 upset this weekend. The defensive line for the Leopards could be the x-factor against an explosive Holy Cross offense. Malik Hamm (8.5 TFLs; 5 Sacks) is the unquestioned leader of the defense, but A.T. Ntantang (2 INTs; 6 PBUs) is a name to watch this weekend for the Leopards. The Leopards have also played three different QBs this season, which leaves the question about which player will take the first snaps this weekend against the Crusaders.
Prediction: Holy Cross (38-7)
Campbell @ #9 Jackson State (2pm/CT; ESPN+)
Jackson State is looking to make a huge statement on homecoming weekend for the Tigers as they look to continue their undefeated season. QB Shedeur Sanders (1998 Passing Yards; 22 TDs) has played at a high level all season, but Sy’Veon Wilkerson (475 Rushing Yards) could be an x-factor this weekend as the Tigers look to match the Campbell rushing attack. Nyles Gaddy (9 TFLs; 5.5 Sacks) and Devonta Davis (3 TFLs; 2 Sacks) are key pieces to the dominant defensive line for Jackson State.
Campbell has won three straight games since a 1-2 start to the season and have a chance to get a Top-10 win for the first time in program history. Running backs Bryant Barr (382 Rushing Yards) and NaQuari Rogers (215 Rushing Yards) lead a rushing attack that is averaging almost 200 yards per game on the ground. Josh Johnson (7.5 TFLs; 1.5 Sacks) and Brevin Allen (7.5 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) are the key players for the Camels as they look to force Shedeur Sanders into some mistakes on Saturday.
Prediction: Jackson State (31-20)
#19 Richmond @ Hampton (1pm/CT; FloSports)
Hampton won their first CAA game in program history last week against UAlbany and will look to make some waves with a Top-20 conference upset against the Spiders. The biggest offensive threat will be WR Jadakis Bonds (548 Receiving Yards; 8 TDs), while QB Malcolm Mays (1018 Passing Yards; 12 TDs) has been slowly improving throughout the season. DL KeShaun Moore (8 TFLs; 3.5 Sacks) is a player to watch defensively and will need to create some pressure on the Richmond offense.
133 receiving yards and counting for @_jakeherres on the day??#OneRichmond pic.twitter.com/E97OxoUjau
— Richmond Spider Football (@Spiders_FB) October 1, 2022
Richmond won an important conference matchup against Villanova last weekend and will look to keep pace in an extremely competitive CAA race. QB Reece Udinski (1605 Passing Yards; 14 TDs) has been the most accurate QB in FCS football this season and has one of the better wide receiver units in the country. The Spiders have their top playmakers in the front seven led by Tristan Wheeler (56 Total Tackles; 5 TFLs) and Marlem Louis (7 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) are the names to watch against the Pirates.
Prediction: Richmond (37-28)
#1 South Dakota State @ #20 North Dakota (3pm/CT; ESPN+)
The Jackrabbits achieved the first #1 ranking in school history after a massive win over North Dakota State last weekend. Isaiah Davis (740 Rushing Yards; 6 TDs) and Amar Johnson (270 Rushing Yards) are beginning to emerge as a dynamic duo in the South Dakota State backfield. Mark Gronowski (1271 Passing Yards; 14 Total TDs) will be an interesting piece this weekend against a North Dakota defense allowing over 285 passing yards per game. Adam Bock (57 Total Tackles) is the defensive leader for the Jackrabbits and will play a tremendous role against a solid North Dakota rushing attack.
North Dakota has played one of the most difficult schedules in the country, but can pick up a season-defining win this weekend. The offensive attack will be led by QB Tommy Shuster (1425 Passing Yards; 9 Total TDs) and RB Tyler Hoosman (473 Rushing Yards; 7 TDs). The question mark becomes whether the defense will be able to step up against a South Dakota State rushing attack averaging over 170 yards per game on the ground.
Prediction: South Dakota State (28-21)
#21 Elon @ #25 New Hampshire (12pm/CT; FloSports)
This may be a must-win game for both teams, but Elon will have to bounce back from a loss to Rhode Island last weekend. The Phoenix struggled last week offensively and Matthew McKay (1813 Passing Yards; 17 Total TDs) will need to have a big game against a New Hampshire defense that has struggled with dynamic QBs this season. Elon will also look to utilize their terrifying wide receiver duo in Bryson Daughtry (588 Receiving Yards) and Jackson Parham (498 Receiving Yards).
New Hampshire will lean on their dominant defense, which is led by a defensive line that has had 23 sacks in their first seven games. Josiah Silver (10.5 TFLs; 7 Sacks) and Dylan Ruiz (6.5 TFLs; 6.5 Sacks) will be the players to watch as the Wildcats look to make McKay extremely uncomfortable in the pocket. New Hampshire will look to establish their rushing attack behind Dylan Laube (573 Rushing Yards; 6 TDs) who currently ranks Top-5 in the CAA in rushing yards this season.
Prediction: Elon (23-20)
#7 Montana @ #2 Sacramento State (10pm/CT; ESPN2)
Sacramento State achieved their highest ranking in program history this week and will look to continue that momentum with a Top-10 win. The Hornets offense is averaging over 240 per game on both the ground and through the air, which will present a unique challenge for the talented Griz defense. RB Cameron Skattebo (740 Rushing Yards) and QB Asher O’Hara (11 Rushing TDs) are the two biggest rushing threats, while TE Marshel Martin (362 Receiving Yards) is a matchup nightmare week in and week out.
Marshel Martin… making it look easy for a 45-yard TD! Four catches for 87 yards for the junior… 31-0 lead in the third quarter for the Hornets! #StingersUp @BigSkyConf pic.twitter.com/eoU17RbwF7
— Sac State Football (@SacHornetsFB) October 9, 2022
Montana suffered their first loss of the season to Idaho last weekend, but the Griz still have all their goals in reach and a win this weekend will build some much needed momentum. Lucas Johnson (19 Total TDs) will be the key for the Griz offense Linebackers Patrick O’Connell (11 TFLs; 7.5 Sacks) and Marcus Welnel (8 TFLs; 4.5 Sacks) will have to have huge games for the Griz against a dominant Sacramento State rushing attack. The Griz have one of the best rushing defenses in the country as they allow less than 80 yards per game on the ground.
Prediction: Sacramento State (30-24)
#5 Weber State @ #3 Montana State (2pm/CT; ESPN+)
Montana State will bring one of the most potent rushing attacks in the country into this Top-5 matchup against a Weber State defense that ranks Top-10 against the run this season. Elijah Elliott (353 Rushing Yards) and Lane Sumner (406 Rushing Yards) will be the names to watch at running back for the Bobcats. Quarterbacks Tommy Mellott (255 Rushing Yards) and Sean Chambers (622 Rushing Yards; 16 TDs) both can be major threats with their legs as well. Sebastian Valdez (9 TFLs; 7 Sacks) has been the most dominant defensive piece for the Bobcats and will be a major key this weekend against the Wildcats.
INTERCEPTION No. 5️⃣ for @_princeuno!
? ESPN+#WeAreWeber pic.twitter.com/hPOryy0d9J
— Weber State Football ? (@weberstatefb) October 9, 2022
Weber State has an extremely balanced offensive attack, but has utilized a Top-10 defense to stifle opposing offenses this season. The Weber State defense is allowing less than 12 points per game and less than 280 yards per game. Maxwell Anderson (5 INTs; 5 Pass Breakups) and Eddie Heckard (1 INT; 6 Pass Breakups) have had outstanding seasons for the Wildcats and both are key pieces this weekend. A matchup nightmare will be Ty MacPherson (501 Receiving Yards; 6 TDs) and his ability to make explosive plays could be key against a Montana State team who will look to control the time of possession this weekend.