Northwestern State (0-4, 0-2 Southland) at Incarnate Word (2-2, 1-1)
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Gayle & Tom Benson Stadium (6,000), San Antonio
SERIES: Northwestern State leads 1-0
STAT THAT MATTERS: Northwestern State has already given up six scoring plays of 40 yards or more — including runs of 81 and 88 yards.
NOTES: After starting three quarterbacks in the first three games, Demons coach Jay Thomas has settled on sophomore J.D. Almond. He played all but one snap of last week’s game with Central Arkansas, seemingly putting a stop to the quarterback carousel. Northwestern State has been ineffective on offense and defense so far; the Demons have been outscored 189-71 and outgained by an average of 542-307 even though they faced some top-notch competition — including nationally ranked Southeastern Louisiana (FCS) and Mississippi State (FBS). A whopping 51.5 percent of the 2,168 yards the Demons have allowed this season have come on just 29 explosive plays (plays that gain 20 yards or more).
McNeese State (3-0, 2-0 Southland) at Nicholls State (0-3, 0-1)
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: John L. Guidry Stadium (10,500), Thibodaux
SERIES: McNeese State leads 28-11
STAT THAT MATTERS: McNeese State leads all FCS schools in scoring defense in allowing just 6.7 points per game in its three outings.
NOTES: Nicholls State first-year coach Tim Rebowe finally gets to make his home debut after starting the season with three road games. The Colonels are 29-14 all-time in season openers and are 12-3 since 2000. McNeese has won six games in a row — matching its longest winning streak in the series — and has taken 14 of the past 16 meetings against the Colonels. With 32 more rushing yards, McNeese’s Daniel Sams will become the fourth quarterback in school history to reach 1,000 yards rushing for his career. McNeese’s defense has pitched a shutout in 10 of 12 quarters played this season and has yet to be scored on in the second or third quarters.
Georgia Southern (3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) at ULM (1-2, 0-0)
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Malone Stadium (30,427), Monroe
SERIES: Georgia Southern leads 3-2
STAT THAT MATTERS: Georgia Southern’s option offense leads all FBS schools with 358.0 rushing yards per game.
NOTES: ULM will have its hands full with Georgia Southern’s rushing attack, but the Warhawks held Georgia, which ranked 14th in the nation, and Alabama, which was 40th, below their season averages. The Warhawks have not been bad against the pass, ranking 15th in the FBS stats. They haven’t given up more 200 yards in a game since Nov. 8. ULM wide receiver Rashon Ceasar, who has 26 catches for 272 yards, has had a reception in 34 games in a row, the fourth-longest current streak in the FBS. Both of ULM’s wins in the series have come in Malone Stadium. Georgia Southern opened its Sun Belt schedule last week by beating Idaho and is 9-0 since joining the league last season.
Grambling (2-2, 2-0 SWAC) at Jackson State (1-3, 1-1)
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium (60,492), Jackson, Miss.
SERIES: Grambling leads 42-23-1
STAT THAT MATTERS: Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams threw seven TD passes in last week’s 70-54 win over Prairie View.
NOTES: Look for an air show in this one as Williams will duel with Jackson State’s LaMontiez Ivy. Williams ranks sixth among FCS passers with 1,175 yards after throwing for a career-best 429 yards last week, while Ivy, who has put together three consecutive 300-yard games, is third in the FCS with 1,313 yards. He had a career-high 370 yards in a win against Texas Southern last week. Grambling running back Martez Carter leads the league with 33.8 yards per kickoff return after having touchdowns of 100 and 88 yards against PVU last week. For his efforts, Carter was named the FCS STATS national special teams player of the week.