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10 Week 3 games with a big impact on the FCS Top 25

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - On Saturday, the schedule in FCS college football turns mainly to subdivision teams playing each other.

There's a banner lineup of games and the results may give a better read on teams than the many FBS and sub-Division I matchups to date.

While there hasn't been a huge amount of movement in the STATS FCS Top 25, bigger changes appear likely after Week 3.

Here are 10 game that could impact the national rankings come Monday:

Duquesne (1-0) at Youngstown State (2-0)

The visiting Dukes finished last season with their first-ever ranking (21) and they want back in, but they'll have to give the Northeast Conference its first-ever win over the Missouri Valley Football Conference (0-23 all-time). Youngstown is nine spots outside the Top 25, but a win here on top of two blowouts will go a long way toward securing a spot.

No. 1 North Dakota State (2-0) at No. 18 Delaware (2-0)

The FCS champion Bison are playing what could be the first of four straight games against nationally ranked opponents. They've been No. 1 in 18 straight polls since 2017. With an upset, Delaware would surely vault into the Top 10.

No. 8 Towson (2-0) at No. 7 Maine (1-1)

Call this CAA Football showdown a tossup, and the winner could push for Top 5 status. It's the first time Towson has been involved in an FCS Top 10 game during the regular season. While the Tigers are known for their potent offense, the defense has been more stout than expected. Maine is known for physical defense, but it's passing game has been better than advertised.

No. 4 Eastern Washington (1-1) at No. 17 Jacksonville State (1-1)

The STATS FCS Game of the Week (the previous two games also were in the running) features quarterbacks Eric Barriere of EWU and Zerrick Cooper of JSU. The visiting Eagles, national runners-up last season, may not even move up with a win, but the Gamecocks, who have made 76 straight appearances in the national rankings, could move up or down considerably depending on the outcome.

Abilene Christian (1-1) at No. 14 Central Arkansas (2-0)

UCA is one of two FCS teams with an FBS win this season and hosts the first Southland Conference game of the season. An Abilene Christian upset would underscore the depth in the conference because the Wildcats aren't even one of its four ranked teams.

No. 24 Sam Houston State (1-1) at North Dakota (1-1)

UND is not one of the 50 teams receiving a vote for the national rankings, but there aren't 50 teams better than the Fighting Hawks, who slipped past Sam Houston 24-23 down in Texas last September. Both teams seek a boost to their playoff resume; the loser should be worried about their postseason chance.

Samford (0-2) at No. 21 Wofford (0-1)

These two Southern Conference teams are coming off byes, which doubled up their time to dwell on a poor start to the season. Samford won't move into the rankings with a win, but Wofford, the preseason favorite in the SoCon, will fall out with a loss.

Eastern Kentucky (1-1) at Indiana State (0-2)

If it wasn't for Duquesne-Youngstown State, it would be easy to say the winner here should jump into the rankings. Indiana State is only one spot outside at No. 26, but considering it lost at home to Dayton, the jury is still out on last year's most-improved team in the FCS. EKU finished strong last season like the Sycamores, but hasn't been nationally ranked since 2015.

Alcorn State (1-1) at McNeese (1-1)

McNeese opened the season by defeating 2018 SWAC runner-up Southern and now takes aim on the defending SWAC champ. Both teams play aggressive defense, and it's one of the better matchups of the week. The winner won't quite leap into the national rankings, but it will be knocking at the door.

The Citadel (0-2) at Georgia Tech (1-1)

Huh, you wonder. The Citadel deserves a second look if it pulls an upset (although it's unlikely). The Bulldogs led Towson in the fourth quarter and were tied midway through the fourth with Elon, which vaulted back into the rankings after beating them. They're in the conversation for "best 0-2 team" and their schedule is much more manageable after this one.

Updated September 12, 2019

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