FCS Spring Football 2021 Week 1: One Paragraph Previews, How To Watch, And Fearless Predictions

Courtesy Sioux City Journal

The CSJ Staff are proud to present this weekend guide to the games being played this weekend.

Odds are courtesy of DK Sportsbook where appropriate.

CSJ GAME OF THE WEEK: South Dakota State at Northern Iowa

Lincoln (MO) at Nicholls
TV: CST (check local listings)
Streaming: GeauxColonels.Com

DK Sportsbook: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Nicholls 56, Lincoln 0

South Dakota State at Northern Iowa
TV: Cedar Falls/NBC Sports Chicago+ (check local listings)

DK Sportsbook: South Dakota State -1.5


PRESTON: Northern Iowa was hit hard by transfers, and SDSU not so much. This game will ultimately be decided by how healthy SDSU quarterback J’Bore Gibbs is coming off of injury. SDSU 27, UNI 24

KENT: This is a rematch of the 2nd round playoff game in 2019.  The Panthers defeated a depleted Jackrabbits team 13-10 in that game to move onto the quarterfinals.  SDSU actually though won the regular season match-up 38-7.  Both games though were in Brookings.  UNI has an improving offense over what it had in 2019 and still a top end defense.  SDSU is in a similar mode also with a top defense but should have a more run style offense with an experienced offensive line.  The quarterback situation for the Jacks is not yet been settled and we probably won’t know until kickoff who gets the start J’Bore Gibbs or Keaton Heide–both were starters last year as Heide came into that role after Gibbs was lost for the season due to injury.  Without any prior games it is tough to say but I like SDSU to come in on the road and pick up the victory in a very low scoring game similar to the playoff game from a year ago.  SDSU 16 UNI 13

CHUCK: This seems to be a very popular place to pick South Dakota State, but don’t underestimate the advantage of UNI playing at home, even during a pandemic. I agree that this will likely be a close, field-goal-like game, but I think the Panthers have a few cards up their sleeves when it comes to replenishing their top players. UNI wins this one. UNI 27, SDSU 24

JAIMIE: Northern Iowa has struggled on offense recently. Will McIlwain is a good quarterback, but they could not get anything going in the FCS playoffs. The Jackrabbits haven’t named a starting quarterback yet. For all the offense talk, the better defense will win this game. UNI 20, SDSU 17

Morehead State at James Madison
TV: NBC Sports Washington (check local listings)
Streaming: Flo Sports ($)

DK Sportsbook: James Madison -42.5
Fearless Prediction: James Madison 66, Morehead State 7

Samford at East Tennessee State
TV: NexStar (check local listings)
Streaming: ESPN+

DK Sportsbook: Samford -6.5
Fearless Prediction (Jaimie): A couple of years ago both of these teams were hoping to be playoff teams. Now they are middle to bottom of the pack in the SoCon. Look for Quay Holmes to break a couple of big plays to pick up the win for ETSU. ETSU 31, Samford 27

Ben: I think Samford going to go in and take care of business. ETSU I think it is and has been over rated for a little while. Samford 34, ETSU 24

Mercer at Wofford
Streaming: ESPN+

DK Sportsbook: Wofford -16.5
Fearless Prediction: Wofford 30, Mercer 13

Southern Illinois at North Dakota
TV: MidcoSN (check local listings)
Streaming: ESPN+

DK Sportsbook: No Line
Fearless Prediction (Kent): The Salukis were a streaking team at the end of the 2019 season, winning five in a row before their last game with NDSU ended in a loss.  SIU did pick-up a win last fall over rival Southeast Missouri State with a last second field goal being the margin of victory over the playoff team from a year ago.  UND was a playoff team in 2019 as a FCS Independent, and will host their first Missouri Valley Football Conference game against SIU.  SIU has much of its team back from 2019 and is only getting better.  UND will understand the MVFC play right from the start.  I like SIU to pick up the road win here but UND will keep it fairly close in a moderate scoring game.  SIU 26 UND 17

Chuck: It’s amazing in this spring season how we go from “no football” to “critical game in regards to any possible Missouri Valley title hopes or at-large bid,” but that’s what we have here for SIU/UND.  I happen to think the Salukis could make a run at the leaders in the conference, while North Dakota has a tough defense and isn’t an easy out at the Alerus Center.  But SIU has a chance to make a statement right out of the gate, and I think they do.  SIU 31, UND 17

Davidson at Elon
TV: MV48 (check local listings)
Streaming: Flo Sports ($)

DK Sportsbook: Elon -19
Fearless Prediction: Elon 35, Davidson 31

Western Carolina at Furman
Streaming: ESPN+

DK Sportsbook: Furman -23
Fearless Prediction: Furman 45, Western Carolina 3

Courtesy Clarksville Now

Edward Waters at Jackson State
Streaming: ESPN+

DK Sportsbook: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Jackson State 42, Edwards Waters 13

Austin Peay at Tennessee Tech
Streaming: ESPN+

DK Sportsbook: Austin Peay -6.5
Fearless Prediction (Kent): Austin Peay was the Ohio Valley winner and advanced to the quarterfinals in the playoffs in 2019.  But a lot has changed since that time.  APSU played three games last fall with two being FBS opponents (Pittsburgh and Cincinnati) and also played in the Kickoff Classic versus Central Arkansas.  The Governors will be with their third coach since that 2019 playoff loss with former Southern Miss assistant Scotty Walden taking over now from interim coach Marquase Lovings who took over following the unexpected resignation of former coach Mark Hudspeth, who been the coach in 2019. 

Tennessee Tech has had its own turmoil starting with a tornado that hit near its campus around a year ago, but Dewayne Alexander remains as the Golden Eagles coach and looks to continue to turn things around in his third season after growing from just one-win in his first season to six-win season a year ago. 

For this game, Austin Peay still has much of its talent from that 2019 season but needs to replace its signal caller while the Golden Eagles also return much of its squad as well from an improving team.  APSU won their 2019 meeting 58-21 but I think this game will be much closer.  Still, the Governors have the better talent and will find a way to win this one on the road.  Austin Peay 35 Tennessee Tech 24 

Youngstown State at North Dakota State
TV: NBC North Dakota (check local listings)
Streaming: ESPN+

DK Sportsbook: North Dakota State -23.5
Fearless Prediction: NDSU 32, Youngstown State 15

Tarleton State vs. New Mexico State (El Paso, TX, Sun Bowl Stadium)
TV: Aggie Vision, Fox Sports Arizona (check local listings)
Streaming: Flo Sports ($), Fox Sports Go (subscription req’d)

DK Sportsbook: New Mexico State -1.5
Fearless Prediction: New Mexico State 49, Tarleton State 10

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