By Matt Noonan
The third week of the spring college football season is quickly approaching, so let’s revisit some news, notes, and stories from the past two weeks, as well as slowly look ahead to this week’s slate of games.
McNeese State outlasted Tarleton State University in its season-opener: The Cowboys of McNeese State kicked-off the FCS spring season last Saturday with a thrilling 40-37 win over the Texans in double-overtime.
Cody Oregon highlighted his team’s victory against Tarleton State with five touchdowns, including two on the ground. Oregon’s 19-yard rushing touchdown during the second overtime period clinched the opening day win for a McNeese, which has not participated in a spring season since the 1890s.
Last Saturday’s win was the first for first-year coach Frank Wilson and the Cowboys, which have dealt with a lot over the past few months, including two major hurricanes that left the squad without a home or facility for close to six months.
The Cowboys are idle this weekend but will return to the field at the end of the month for their home-opener against Incarnate Word on Saturday, February 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern.
Johnson ready to lead James Madison this Saturday: It’s been a little more than a year since the Dukes of James Madison University last played football, but the Purple and Gold will once again be a team to watch this spring – they enter their initial game against Morehead State on Saturday as the fourth-best team in FCS, per Hero Sports‘ preseason rankings.
Cole Johnson will be the team’s quarterback this spring after spending the past two years as the back-up to Bryan Schor and Ben DiNucci.
Johnson has certainly prepared for this moment, according to a recent interview with the Daily News-Record, and was able to secure the starting spot by beating fourth-year junior Gage Moloney.
Trinity (Texas) leads the SAA: It’s been a successful start to the Tigers’ 2021 spring season as the Maroon and White have won back-to-back games against Austin College and Millsaps College, thanks to some impressive play by its defense. The Tigers are currently in first place in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) with a 2-0 record.
Trinity’s defense has limited opponents to an average of just two touchdowns per game this month – last week, they held Millsaps to just one score while the offense produced three touchdowns, thanks to quarterback Tucker Horn. Ryan Merrifield and Anton Noble combined for three touchdown receptions while Michael Edmonson rushed for a game-high 99 yards on 18 carries and one score.
Michael Jewett led the Trinity defense with two sacks for a loss of nine yards while Ryan Arnold recorded just one interception against Millsaps quarterback Amryn Jeffrey, who ended the contest 7 of 20 for 184 yards.
Prior to their win over the Majors last weekend, the Trinity defense produced four sacks and seven tackles for a loss of 25 yards while registering five pass breakups.
Trinity will entertain Hedrix College this weekend with a kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern.
- The East Texas Baptist Tigers will be idle this weekend but have won two games this month, including a 44-16 win over Belhaven University last weekend. KJ Kelly highlighted his team’s second win by posting 10 total tackles, including five solo stops and two interceptions, and two pass break-ups.
- Mary Hardin-Baylor will enjoy its second bye week before returning to the field next Saturday, February 27 for an enticing matchup against Southwestern University.
The Pirates of Southwestern were initially scheduled to play this weekend, but their matchup with Belhaven has been postponed due to “extreme weather conditions” in Texas.
- Bryce Verble was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) offensive player of the week on Monday after setting a single-game school record for passing yards last weekend in his team’s 48-43 setback to St. Andrews University.
The Bluefield College signal-caller ended their second contest of the 2020-21 season with 432 passing yards and six touchdowns.
- Georgetown College outscored the University of Cumberlands, 17-7, during the final two sessions to secure an opening-day 27-20 win.
Chris Cline converted two field goals in the win, including a 38-yard boot in the opening quarter, while quarterback Hunter Krause completed 14 of 22 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Krause scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard keeper.