FCS Top 10 Roundup: EWU’s defense holds off Northern Colorado rally


No. 2 Eastern Washington 26, Northern Colorado 18

CHENEY, Wash. — Vincent Gamboa’s interception with 2 minutes to play sealed Eastern Washington’s 26-18 win against Northern Colorado on Saturday in a game that saw the Eagles record seven sacks and get a key touchdown on a special teams trick play.

Despite a solid game by the defense, which also had eight tackles for losses, for Eastern Washington (7-1, 4-0 Big Sky Conference), the Bears (2-5, 1-3) were driving late in the game before Gamboa’s interception of a Sean Rubalcaba pass sealed the Eagles’ 14th consecutive league win.

Rubalcaba hit Malcolm Whye with a 30-yard touchdown and then ran in the two-point conversion with 10:14 left. He then guided the Bears from deep in their own territory to EWU’s side of the field before the pick.

EWU took a 20-3 lead early in the second half when Conner Richardson hit Terry Jackson II for a 15-yard touchdown on a fake field goal.

No. 1 North Dakota State 34, No. 23 Indiana State 17

FARGO, N.D. — Carson Wentz passed for two touchdowns, John Crockett ran for two more Saturday and North Dakota State beat Indiana State 34-17, extending its winning streak to 31 games and conference win streak to 16 games.

Wentz was a career-high 20 for 30 for 222, with TD passes of 48 and 3 yards to Zach Vraa, who grabbed a career-high nine catches for 119 yards. Crockett gained 101 yards on 20 carries, with TD runs of 2 and 3 yards. Adam Keller kicked a 19-yard field goal and a career-long 50-yarder.

The Bison (7-0, 3-0 Missouri Valley) outgained the Sycamores 431-227 and led 20-3 at halftime.

Indiana State (4-3, 1-2), the last team to beat the Bison, 17-14 on Oct. 13, 2012, scored on an 18-yard TD pass from Mike Perish to A.J. Johnson in the fourth quarter and a 72-yard TD run by Jordan Wallace after recovering a fumble.

No. 4 Villanova 35, No. 18 William & Mary 31

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — John Robertson threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yard strike to Kevin Gulyas with 52 seconds left, to lead Villanova to a 35-31 win against William & Mary on Saturday.

Trailing 31-28 with 2:01 remaining in the game, Robertson led the Wildcats on a 7-play, 69-yard drive, capped off by the touchdown to Gulyas.

Robertson added 63 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Clay Horne finished with 84 yards receiving for Villanova (6-1, 4-0 Colonial).

Steve Cluley threw for 350 yards and had three touchdowns passes for the Williams & Mary (4-3, 1-2). Tre McBride finished with 11 catches for 209 yards and two scores to lead the Tribe. Cluley’s 3-yard pass to Andrew Caskin gave William & Mary a 31-28 lead with 10:23 left in the fourth.

The win was Villanova’s sixth in a row since its double overtime loss to Syracuse in week one.

No. 6 Montana 42, UC Davis 28

MISSOULA, Mont. — Jordan Canada ran for 151 yards and three touchdowns, Jordan Johnson accounted for three additional touchdowns and Montana held off UC Davis 42-28 on Saturday.

Canada’s third touchdown, a 21-yarder, came one play after the Grizzlies (5-2, 3-0 Big Sky Conference) held the Aggies (1-6, 0-4) on downs.

A week after giving up 77 points and 737 yards in a loss to Montana State at home, the Aggies were tied with Montana at halftime 14-14 thanks to two Ben Scott touchdowns.

The Griz went up by two touchdowns in the third quarter when Jordan threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Saylor followed by a 74-yard TD run by Canada.

The Aggies looked poised to come back when Dalton Turay broke three tackles to score on an 11-yard TD pass from Scott. Canada made sure Montana kept its lead with a scoring run of 24 yards followed by 21-yard TD run to answer another Aggies score in the fourth quarter.

Scott finished with four touchdown passes. The Grizzlies finished with 490 yards, 280 through the air, while the Aggies (0-4, 1-6) had 394 yards, 257 by Scott.

No. 8 Southeastern Louisiana 41, Central Arkansas 24

HAMMOND, La. — Bryan Bennett ran 75 yards for a touchdown and Xavier Roberson dashed 30-yards for another less than three minutes apart in the fourth quarter as Southeast Louisiana pulled away from Central Arkansas for a 41-24 win Saturday night.

The win puts SE Louisiana (6-2, 4-0) in first place in the Southland Conference, handing Central Arkansas (4-4, 3-1) its first conference loss.

Wiillie Matthews returned a blocked SE Louisiana punt 15 yards for a touchdown to pull Central Arkansas within a field goal, 27-24, with 6:11 remaining.

But on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Bennett scored. The Lions then forced Central Arkansas into a three-and-out, and marched 34 yards in three plays, capped by Roberson’s run.

Bennett finished with 131 yards on 14 carries to lead SE Louisiana and Kody Sutton added 80 yards on 12 carries.

Ryan Howard was 16 of 25 for 171 yards to lead the Bears.

No. 9 Illinois State 37, Western Illinois 34

MACOMB, Ill. — Tre Roberson accounted for four second-half touchdowns and Nick Aussieker kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired, rallying Illinois State past Western Illinois 37-34 on Saturday.

The Redbirds (6-0, 3-0 Missouri Valley) faced a 27-6 deficit late in the third quarter, but stormed back as Roberson threw touchdown passes of 10 and 9 yards to James O’Shaughnessy and scored on a 6-yard run in between, tying it at 27.

Western Illinois (3-5, 1-3) responded with a 75-yard strike from Trenton Norvell to Lance Lenoir, but Illinois State once again answered with a 24-yard touchdown from Roberson to Cameron Meredith with 7:53 remaining.

Norvell drove the Leathernecks past midfield, but was intercepted by David Perkins with 2:28 left. A third-down completion from Roberson to Anthony Warrum set up Aussieker’s game-winner.

Marshaun Coprich had 114 yards rushing with a 69-yard touchdown.

Lenoir had 195 yards on 12 receptions with two scores.

No. 10 McNeese State 31, Abilene Christian 20

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Daniel Sams threw for three touchdowns and 184 yards to lead McNeese State to a 31-20 win against Abilene Christian on Saturday night.

McNeese State (4-2, 2-1 Southland), which was upset by Sam Houston State 38-22 last week, bounced back to defeat the Wildcats. The Cowboys finished with 507 total yards, rolling up 304 on the ground, while limiting Abilene Christian (4-4, 2-2) to 351 total yards.

Sams finished with 296 total yards, rushing for 112 yards on 13 carries.

Leading 24-6 at the half, the Cowboys had a 31-6 lead in the fourth quarter. Abilene Christian (4-4, 2-2) mounted a come-back as De’Andre Brown scored from the 23 and Parker McKenzie passed to Demarcus Thompson from the 8 to make the score 31-20 with 5:47 remaining. The ensuing onside kick failed, but the Wildcats did get the ball back only to be stopped on fourth down.

Scott Harrigan
Your #1 source for community and amateur sports related news on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and beyond! Send stories to scottharriganisn@gmail.com