Justin Berendzen (@jrberendzen on Twitter) with my matchup preview of the first round FCS Matchups which will be ranked on competitiveness and intrigue but it’s the playoffs in each matchup either team could win in matchup 1-8.
1.University of Northern Iowa at Eastern Washington University
This is by far the toughest matchup and I think whoever wins will cause problems for Montana who gets to face the winner. The Eagles offense has redshirt junior wide receiver Andrew Boston who has 791 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. For Northern Iowa’s defense they have Benny Sapp III who has 49 tackles, 4 interceptions and 3 PBUs. Offensively for the Panthers they have redshirt junior wide receiver Isaiah Weston who has 792 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. Defensively for the Eagles they have redshirt junior defensive back Calin Criner who has 75 tackles, 7 PBUs and 2 interceptions.
2.Florida A&M University at Southeastern Louisiana University
The Rattlers come to meet the Lions in Louisiana. Southeastern Louisiana has senior quarterback Cole Kelley who has 4,382 passing yards and 38 passing touchdowns and 442 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. Defensively for the Rattlers they have redshirt junior defensive back BJ Bohler who has 46 tackles, 9 PBUs and 4 interceptions. Redshirt senior running back Bishop Bonnett has 934 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns for Florida A&M. For the Lions defense freshman defensive back Zy Alexander has 36 tackles, 6 PBUs and 6 interceptions.
3.UC Davis University at South Dakota State University
This should be a fun, competitive matchup. The Jackrabbits offense has junior wide receiver Jaxon Janke who has 894 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensively for UC Davis they have junior defensive back Jordan Perryman who has 57 tackles, and 12 PBUs. Junior running back Ulonzo Gilliam Jr has 828 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns for the Aggies. The Jackrabbits defense has sophomore linebacker Graham Spalding who has 39 tackles, 3 PBUs and 2 interceptions.
4.Davidson College at Kennesaw State University
The Wildcats come to Georgia to see the Owls. Kennesaw State’s offense has grad wide receiver Caleb O’Neal who has 314 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns in 2021. For Davidson’s defense they have junior defensive back Kaedon Jenkins who has 38 tackles and 9 PBUs. Junior running back Dylan Sparks has 796 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. Defensively for the Owls they have senior defensive back Cole Loden who has 31 tackles and 4 PBUs.
5.Stephen F. Austin University at University of Incarnate Word
This is going to be a battle in Texas. Incarnate Word’s offense has junior wide receiver Taylor Grimes who has 923 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Defensively for the Lumberjacks they have senior defensive lineman Rayshad Nichols who has 47 tackles, 13.5 TFLs and 8.5 sacks. Offensively for Stephen F. Austin they have sophomore wide receiver Xavier Gipson who has 1,266 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Defensively for the Cardinals they have grad defensive back Rashon Davis who has 41 tackles, 12 PBUs and 3 interceptions.
6.University of Tennessee-Martin at Missouri State University
The Skyhawks come to Springfield to play the Bears. Missouri State’s offense is led by redshirt junior quarterback Jason Shelley is a dual threat quarterback who has 3,068 passing yards and 19 passing touchdowns and 349 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Defensively for the Skyhawks they have freshman defensive back Oshae Baker who has 54 tackles, 8 PBUs and 3 interceptions. And Tennessee-Martin’s offense has grad tight end Rodney Williams II who has 333 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensively for Missouri State they have junior defensive end Kevin Ellis who has 57 tackles, 12 TFLs and 8 sacks.
7.Southern Illinois University-Carbondale at University of South Dakota
The Salukis are going to have to bring there best to South Dakota if they expect to come out of this on top. The Coyotes offense has redshirt freshman wide receiver Carter Bell who has 648 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. Defensively for the Salukis they have sophomore defensive back PJ Jules who has 60 tackles, and 5 PBUs. The Salukis offense has senior wide receiver Landon Lenoir who has 830 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. South Dakota’s defense has senior linebacker Jack Cochrane who has 92 tackles, 9 TFLs, 6 PBUs and 4 interceptions.
8.Sacred Heart University at College of the Holy Cross
Don’t get me wrong this is not a bad matchup it just doesn’t have the excitement and intrigue of the others. Senior running back Peter Oliver has 726 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. Defensively for Sacred Heart they have senior defensive lineman Kevin Peprah who has 46 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, 4 PBUs and 4 forced fumbles. Offensively for the Pioneers junior running back Malik Grant has 1,288 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. The Crusaders defense has senior linebacker Liam Anderson who has 67 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, and 3 interceptions.