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There’s little clarity in wide-open FCS

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The best way to become top-ranked in the FCS might be to lose impressively to an FBS team.

Jacksonville State will put that concept to th test Monday after Sam Houston State moved up to the top spot last week in the wake of rolling up the offense but falling to Texas Tech.

It makes little sense, of course, but neither does what is transpiring in this young season.

Top 10 showdowns seem to bring out the best in Jacksonville State. A week after slipping past Chattanooga in an FCS Top 10 matchup, the defending Ohio Valley Conference champion nearly took down FBS national power Auburn, falling 27-20 in overtime after holding a last-minute lead.

But nothing with the FCS is a given. Starting with four-time defending national champion North Dakota State’s loss at Montana in the season’s first game, there’s been little clarity within the Top 25. An amazing 10 teams received No. 1 votes in the STATS FCS Top 25 last week.

While the second full weekend of action did little to clear up the national picture, it suggested once again that the FCS may have the best of both worlds this year – both a dynasty (NDSU) and a season with parity.

The Top 25 voting was so close near the top among No. 1 Sam Houston State, No. 2 NDSU and No. 3 Coastal Carolina that Sam Houston’s hold on to No. 1 appears precarious even though it was on a bye. Whether that is right is another story, but there’s no room for standing still in this jumbled picture, and Jacksonville State, NDSU and Coastal might have increased support this week.

The only Top 10 teams without a loss to date are Coastal, which to its credit has won two road games, and No. 9 South Dakota State, whose two wins include its first over an FBS school (Kansas). In fact, only seven teams in the Top 25 remain without a loss (Harvard has yet to play), so the rankings will keep twisting and turning until teams get into conference play and build more definitive resumes.

Wide open, indeed.


Ten more observations from the FCS weekend:

– There are plenty of impressive teams yet to appear in Top 25, namely Samford, which has begun the Chris Hatcher era by defeating Central Arkansas and then Florida A&M with a school-record 752 offensive yards. In addition, Northern Arizona is clicking at 2-0 and sitting as the first team outside the rankings.

– The FCS game of the week lived up to the billing as No. 14 Northern Iowa edged No. 7 Eastern Washington 38-35 in a back-and-forth thriller. The shame of it was one of these two national powers had to fall to 0-2 following an opening-week loss to an FBS opponent. But it’s the kind of power matchup needed between power conferences. At least EWU has come to realize its passing attack hasn’t taken a step backward without quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. Jordan West and Reilly Hennessey have combined for 964 passing yards in two games.

– Following the four wins by FCS teams over FBS opponents last week, Jacksonville State’s near-miss at Auburn early Saturday afternoon overshadowed what followed the rest of the day. FCS teams lost all 25 matchups, and seven were shutouts decided by an average of 49.6 points. Ouch.

– Two years ago, Eastern Illinois led the FCS in scoring at 48.2 points per game. In two losses this season, the Ohio Valley Conference team has yet to score a touchdown. A 34-5 loss at Western Illinois was followed by a 41-0 blanking at Northwestern. There’s a big difference with Jimmy Garoppolo off to the NFL, but the Panthers are too talented to be a combined 5-9 under second-year coach Kim Dameron, who must be feeling some heat. It took a few games for quarterback Jalen Whitlow to get on a roll last season. The Panthers better hope the Kentucky transfer has a repeat.

– The two-year series between Bethune-Cookman and Grambling State, which Bethune swept following a 56-53 victory Saturday night, made a lot of sense when the two schools scheduled it. But the creation of the season-ending Celebration Bowl on top of the season-opening MEAC-SWAC Challenge probably means regular-season meetings between the two FCS conferences featuring historically black schools are unnecessary. Don’t tell that to Terry Sims, though. He earned his first win as the Wildcats’ coach.

– There must have been a few chuckles at Georgetown that it was the only Patriot League to win this weekend. Granted, the Hoyas played a non-scholarship program in Marist from the Pioneer Football League, but that seemed appropriate considering the Hoyas are the only Patriot program that doesn’t offer scholarships. Kyle Nolan and Justin Hill connected on two touchdown passes in the win.

– One of the Patriot losses was No. 16 Fordham’s 14-7 defeat to No. 6 Villanova. The game featured a matchup of the FCS’ two returning national award winners, and 2014 offensive player of the year John Robertson of ‘Nova had the upper hand on 2014 freshman of the year Chase Edmonds of Fordham. Robertson had 210 yards of total offense and two total touchdowns, while Edmonds was limited to 74 rushing yards and 10 receiving yards and was kept out of the end zone

– It was a reality check for some teams that had improved in such fast fashion. Idaho State fell to Portland State 34-14 In a surprising Top 25 matchup within the Big Sky, Western Carolina dropped its Southern Conference opener 28-10 to The Citadel and Bucknell, a Patriot League title contender, fell to Northeast Conference hopeful Duquesne 26-7.

– Just as impressive as The Citadel’s triple option in victory was Cal Poly’s in defeat. The Mustangs followed up their win over Montana with a 35-21 loss at Arizona State – a game that was tied at 21 with eight minutes remaining. If coach Tim Walsh can get his defense to a high level, the unique offense won’t have any problems giving trouble to opposing teams.

– Illinois State players are wearing a patch on their uniforms with the initials of the seven people who died in a plane crash about five miles from campus as they flew back from the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in April. Associate men’s basketball coach Torrey Ward and deputy athletic director Aaron Leetch were among the victims from the Illinois State family. Before the Redbirds’ 67-14 victory over Morgan State, Illinois State held a private dedication for the families at a memorial set up outside Redbird Arena and then a pregame moment of silence.


No. 1 Sam Houston State (0-1), Idle

No. 2 North Dakota State (1-1), beat Weber State (0-2), 41-14

No. 3 Coastal Carolina (2-0), beat South Carolina State (1-1), 41-14

No. 4 Illinois State (1-1), beat Morgan State (0-2), 67-14

No. 5 Jacksonville State (1-1), lost to Auburn (1-1), 27-20 in OT

No. 6 Villanova (1-1), beat No. 16 Fordham (1-1), 14-7

No. 7 Eastern Washington (0-2), lost to No. 14 Northern Iowa (1-1), 38-35

No. 8 Montana (1-1), Idle

No. 9 South Dakota State (2-0), beat Southern Utah (0-2), 55-10

No. 10 Chattanooga (1-1), beat Mars Hill (0-2), 44-34

No. 11 Montana State (1-0), Idle

No. 12 New Hampshire (1-1), beat Colgate (0-2), 26-8

No. 13 James Madison (2-0), beat Lehigh (1-1), 55-17

No. 14 Northern Iowa (1-1), beat No. 7 Eastern Washington (0-2), 38-35

No. 15 Liberty (1-1), lost to West Virginia (2-0), 41-17

No. 16 Fordham (1-1), lost to No. 6 Villanova (1-1), 14-7

No. 17 Youngstown State (1-1), beat Robert Morris (0-2), 21-14, in OT

No. 18 Cal Poly (1-1), lost to Arizona State (1-1), 35-21

No. 19 Eastern Kentucky (1-1), lost to North Carolina State (2-0), 35-0

No. 20 Southeastern Louisiana (2-0), beat Florida Tech (0-2), 28-17

No. 21 Indiana State (1-1), lost to Purdue (1-1), 38-14

No. 22 Richmond (1-1), beat Hampton (1-1), 31-28

No. 23 Idaho State (1-1, 0-1 Big Sky), lost to No. 24 Portland State (2-0, 1-0), 34-14

No. 24 Portland State (2-0, 1-0 Big Sky), beat No. 23 Idaho State (1-1, 0-1), 34-14

No. 25 Harvard (0-0), Idle


As conference play begins to pick up in the third full week of FCS action, the highlight game will come from the Southern Conference as defending champion Chattanooga visits Samford on Saturday.

Also in conference showdowns: CAA Football, Delaware at Villanova and New Hampshire at Stony Brook; MEAC, Florida A&M at South Carolina State (Thursday) and Howard versus Hampton at RFK Stadium in Washington (Friday); Ohio Valley, Tennessee State at Jacksonville State; Southland, Lamar at Sam Houston State and McNeese State at Stephen F. Austin; and SWAC, Jackson State at Southern and Grambling State at Alabama State.

Some of the best matchups are out-of-conference: Montana State at Eastern Washington (this doesn’t count toward the Big Sky standings), Montana at Liberty, Northern Iowa at Cal Poly, Western Illinois at Coastal Carolina, Illinois State at Eastern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State at Indiana State and North Dakota at North Dakota State.

The Ivy League kicks off its 60th season of football with out-of-conference matchups Brown hosting Bryant, Yale at Colgate and Harvard at Rhode Island.

There are 17 FBS-FCS matchups, including Idaho State at Boise State Friday night and Saturday matchups with Southeastern Louisiana at Ohio, Northwestern State at Mississippi State, William & Mary at Virginia, Maine at Tulane, Wofford at Idaho and The Citadel at Georgia Southern.

2019 All-American Bowl roster

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The future of college football will be on display in San Antonio on January 5th (1:00 P.M. ET) as the top high school recruits in the country participate in the All-American Bowl.

Here’s the roster for this year’s big event, and don’t miss a second of the action on NBC and the NBC Sports app.

No. First Last Pos. Ht. Wt. High School City State
1 Jadon Haselwood WR 6’3″ 195 Cedar Grove High School Ellenwood GA
2 Eric Gray RB 5’11” 195 Lausanne Collegiate School Memphis TN
3 Jaden Payoute DB 6’2″ 195 Lloyd C. Bird High School Chesterfield VA
4 David Bell WR 6’2″ 195 Warren Central High School Indianapolis IN
5 Chris Hinton DL 6’4″ 280 Greater Atlanta Christian School Norcross GA
6 Trey Sanders RB 6’2″ 215 IMG Academy Bradenton FL
7 Tyrique Stevenson DB 6’2″ 200 Miami Southridge Senior High School Miami FL
8 Dominick Blaylock WR 6’0″ 190 Walton High School Marietta GA
9 Frank Ladson WR 6’4″ 185 South Dade Senior High School Homestead FL
10 Kyle Hamilton DB 6’3″ 190 Marist School Atlanta GA
11 Mohamoud Diabate LB 6’4″ 220 Auburn High School Auburn AL
12 Taulia Tagovailoa QB 5’11” 205 Thompson High School Alabaster AL
13 Wandale Robinson WR 5’9″ 180 Western Hills High School Frankfort KY
14 Ronnie Hickman DB 6’2″ 200 DePaul Catholic High School Wayne NJ
15 Jay Bramblett P 6’2″ 190 Hillcrest High School Tuscaloosa AL
16 Graham Mertz QB 6’4″ 215 Blue Valley North High School Overland Park KS
17 Sam Howell QB 6’2″ 215 Sun Valley High School Monroe NC
18 Ramel Keyton WR 6’3″ 185 Marietta High School Marietta GA
19 Kane Patterson LB 6’1″ 220 Christ Presbyterian Academy Nashville TN
20 Nick Cross DB 6’1″ 210 DeMatha Catholic High School Hyattsville MD
21 Nolan Groulx WR 5’11” 190 William A. Hough High School Cornelius NC
22 Steele Chambers LB 6’2″ 225 Blessed Trinity Catholic High School Roswell GA
23 Tiawan Mullen DB 5’10” 160 Coconut Creek High School Pompano Beach FL
25 Cameron Smith DB 6’1″ 180 Westwood High School Blythewood SC
27 Quavaris Crouch RB 6’2″ 230 Harding University High School Charlotte NC
28 Alex Felkins K 6’4″ 190 Holland Hall School Tulsa OK
29 Chez Mellusi RB 6’1″ 205 Naples High School Naples FL
30 Quashon Fuller DL 6’4″ 270 Lehigh Senior High School Lehigh Acres FL
31 Tyron Hopper LB 6’2″ 210 Roswell High School Roswell GA
34 Keontra Smith DB 6’0″ 200 Chaminade-Madonna College Prep Hollywood FL
38 Diwun Black LB 6’4″ 225 Osceola High School Kissimmee FL
40 George Karlaftis DL 6’5″ 270 West Lafayette Junior / Senior High School West Lafayette IN
42 Nolan Smith DL 6’3″ 230 IMG Academy Bradenton FL
43 Jestin Jacobs LB 6’3″ 210 Northmont High School Clayton OH
44 Travon Walker DL 6’5″ 275 Upson Lee High School Thomaston GA
47 Byron Young DL 6’4″ 280 West Jones High School Laurel MS
51 William Putnam OL 6’4″ 285 H.B. Plant High School Tampa FL
52 Lance Dixon LB 6’3″ 210 West Bloomfield High School West Bloomfield Township MI
53 Quentin Skinner LS 6’0″ 245 Buford High School Buford GA
55 Dontae Lucas OL 6’4″ 350 IMG Academy Bradenton FL
56 Antonio Alfano DL 6’5″ 285 Colonia High School Colonia NJ
71 Andrew Kristofic OL 6’6″ 275 Pine-Richland High School Gibsonia PA
73 Caedan Wallace OL 6’5″ 305 The Hun School of Princeton Princeton NJ
74 Doug Nester OL 6’7″ 310 Spring Valley High School Huntington WV
75 Charles Cross OL 6’5″ 270 Laurel High School Laurel MS
76 Harry Miller OL 6’4″ 300 Buford High School Buford GA
77 Xavier Truss OL 6’7″ 330 Bishop Hendricken High School Warwick RI
81 Cornelius Johnson WR 6’3″ 195 Brunswick School Greenwich CT
88 Tyler Fromm TE 6’4″ 225 Warner Robins High School Warner Robins GA
93 Zach Harrison DL 6’6″ 245 Olentangy Orange High School Lewis Center OH
99 Khris Bogle DL 6’5″ 220 Cardinal Gibbons High School Fort Lauderdale FL

2019 All-American Bowl FAQs

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All-American Bowl Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the All-American Bowl Presented by American Family Insurance?

A: The All-American Bowl is the premier high school All-American game played annually in San Antonio, TX, showcasing 100 of the nation’s top high school senior football players.


Q: Who is playing in this game?

A: The nation’s premier high school football players. All players move on to major Division I football programs, and then some to the NFL.


Q: What dividing line do you use to organize the East and West teams?

A: The Mississippi River is the rough dividing line, pending position needs.


Q: Where is the game played?

A:  The game is played annually in San Antonio, TX, at the Alamodome. The game has been played in San Antonio since 2002 and the Alamodome since 2003. The first game, the 2001 game, was played in Dallas, TX.


Q: Is this game similar to the McDonald’s All-American Basketball game?

A: Yes, in that both of these games showcase the very best in high school athletes for their respective sports.


Q: When is the game?

A: The game is Saturday, January 5th, 2019.


Q: Is the game on TV?

A: The game is broadcast live on NBC at 12:00 p.m. Central Time.


Q: Who is All American Games?

A: All American Games helps the next generation succeed through America’s finest training and showcase events. Established in 2000, America’s premier youth and prep sports marketing company owns and produces the All-American Bowl presented by American Family Insurance, Football University (FBU), and the FBU National Championship. We foster a culture of evolution and teamwork, blazing trails and producing opportunity. We create experiences for student-athletes to develop, reach their potentials and realize their successes.


Q: Who picks the All-American athletes?

A: All American Games and 247Sports make up the game’s official Selection Committee.


Q: Why San Antonio?

A: One of the main attractions of San Antonio is the Alamodome, which is a climate-controlled, covered dome that does not have an NFL team.


Q: How many years has this game been played?

A: The 2019 game will be the 19th consecutive game.


Q: Where can I get more information on the game?

A: More information on the Bowl and its related activities can be found by logging onto allamericangames.com, or by connecting with the Bowl through its multiple social media accounts.


Q: What are the NBC college announcements?

A:  Each year, All-American athletes announce what college they will be attending via a live announcement ceremony during the game’s broadcast. College announcements always add extra excitement to the game. During the course of the game the players select their college live on NBC, with no one from the general public having any previous knowledge of their intentions. In the past high school stars like Reggie Bush, Patrick Peterson, Odell Beckham Jr. and Adrian Peterson have announced their college decision on live television during All-American Bowl presented by American Family Insurance.


Q: Are there any other events associated with the All-American Bowl presented by American Family Insurance?

A: Yes, they are:

  • The 2019 National Combine at the All-American Bowl, January 4th (the top 600 underclassmen football players from across the country)


Q: How do I nominate underclassmen for the National Combine?


A: Nominations from football coaches for outstanding juniors and sophomores are accepted year-round. Nominating a player for the combine does not mean he is automatically registered. The game’s selection partners will narrow the list to 600 underclassmen. As a participant in the combine it also does not guarantee a spot in the next year’s Bowl game.


Q: Who provides the resources for the players to play the game (i.e. travel, uniforms, etc.)

A: Pursuant to the NCAA, All American Games provides all necessary and reasonable expenses for each athlete to play in the game. Those expenses include round trip airfare, lodging, meals and essential needs.


Q: Where are tickets available?

A: Tickets are available through the Alamodome Box Office or through ticketmaster.com, (210) 207-3663, or toll free (800) 884-3663.


Q: What is the host hotel for the game?

A: The host hotel is the:

Grand Hyatt

1148 E Commerce St
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 224-1234