2018 NCAA Division I FCS football season
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|2018 NCAA Division I FCS season|
|Number of teams||125|
|Duration||August 25 – November 17|
|Payton Award||Devlin Hodges, QB, Samford|
|Buchanan Award||Zach Hall, LB, Southeast Missouri State|
|Duration||November 24 – December 15|
|Championship date||January 5, 2019|
|Championship site||Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas|
|Champion||North Dakota State|
|NCAA Division I FCS football seasons|
The 2018 NCAA Division I FCS football season, part of college football in the United States, was organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. The FCS Championship Game was played on January 5, 2019, in Frisco, Texas. North Dakota State claimed its second consecutive FCS title, and seventh in eight years.
Conference changes and new programs
|School||Former conference||New conference|
|Idaho||Sun Belt (FBS)||Big Sky|
|Liberty||Big South||FBS Independent|
|North Alabama||Gulf South (D–II)||FCS Independentm|
|North Dakota||Big Sky||FCS Independent [a]|
- North Dakota will officially join the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020, and is classified as an FCS independent for 2018 and 2019. However, to accommodate pre-existing game contracts, it still plays its Big Sky Conference schedule and conference games still count for their opponents.
- June 13 – Major changes to redshirt rules in Division I football (both FBS and FCS) took effect from this season forward after having been approved by the NCAA Division I Council. Players can now participate in as many as four games in a given season while still retaining redshirt status. The only exception to this new rule is that players who enroll at a school in midyear and participate in postseason competition that takes place during or before their first academic term at that school will lose a full year of athletic eligibility.
- September 10 – The Northeast Conference (NEC) announced that Merrimack College would start a transition from the NCAA Division II Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) and join the NEC effective July 1, 2019. Merrimack's football team is expected to immediately start playing a full NEC schedule, but will not be eligible for the FCS playoffs until becoming a full D-I member in 2023.
- October 3 – Long Island University announced that it would merge its two current athletic programs—the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, full but non-football members of the NEC, and LIU Post Pioneers, a Division II program that is a full member of the non-football East Coast Conference and an NE-10 football member—effective with the 2019–20 school year. The new program will compete under the LIU name with a new nickname. The Post football team will become the LIU football team, playing in the NEC. There has been no definitive report as to when the new LIU football team will be eligible for the FCS playoffs.
- October 27 – Central Connecticut's Aaron Dawson ran for 308 yards in the second half, a record for a half throughout Division I, and 361 overall to lead the Blue Devils to a 49–24 win over Wagner.
- November 17 – In the final game of his college career, Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges set a new FCS record for career passing yardage, surpassing late Alcorn State and NFL great Steve McNair in the Bulldogs' 38–27 win over East Tennessee State. Hodges finished his career with 14,584 yards.
- January 4 – The NCAA and the Southland Conference (SLC) announced that the FCS championship game, which is currently co-hosted by the SLC, would remain at its current home of Toyota Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas through at least the 2024 season, with an option for the 2025 season.
Pre-season international exhibitions
|Date||Name||Location||NCAA team||Hosting Team||Score|
|May 26, 2018||Drake-China Ambassadors Bowl||UIBE, Beijing, China||Drake||China All-Stars
(AFLC, CAFL, & CBL)
One kickoff game was played during "Week Zero" on August 25:
FCS team wins over FBS teams
- August 30:
- September 1:
- September 2:
- September 8:
- September 22:
All times Eastern
Several games on the east coast were rescheduled, canceled, or moved due to Hurricane Florence:
- Coastal Carolina at Campbell moved up to Wednesday, September 12 at 2:00 p.m.
- Richmond at Saint Francis moved up to Thursday, September 13 at 5:00 p.m.
- Robert Morris at No. 2 James Madison moved up to Thursday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.
- Guilford at Davidson has been moved up to Thursday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.
- East Tennessee State at VMI moved up to Friday, September 14 at 2:30 p.m.
- Western Carolina at Gardner–Webb moved up to Friday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m.
- North Carolina Central at South Carolina State has been moved to Saturday, November 24
- Charleston Southern at The Citadel has been moved to Thursday, November 29
- Norfolk State at Liberty has been moved to Saturday, December 1
- Elon at William & Mary has been canceled
- Savannah State at Howard has been canceled
- Tennessee State at Hampton has been canceled
- Presbyterian at Stetson has been canceled
- Walsh at Jacksonville has been canceled
- Colgate at Furman has been canceled
|Conference||Champion||Runner-up||Score||Offensive Player of the Year||Defensive Player of the Year||Coach of the Year|
Other conference winners
Note: Records are regular-season only, and do not include playoff games.
|Conference||Champion||Record||Offensive Player of the Year||Defensive Player of the Year||Coach of the Year|
|Big Sky||Eastern Washington
|Big South||Kennesaw State||10–1 (5–0)||Chandler Burks
|Anthony Gore, Jr.
|CAA||Maine||8–3 (7–1)||Tom Flacco
|Ivy||Princeton||10–0 (7–0)||John Lovett
|MEAC||North Carolina A&T||9–2 (6–1)||Caylin Newton
|Darryl Johnson Jr.
(North Carolina A&T)
(North Carolina A&T)
|MVFC||North Dakota State||11–0 (8–0)||Easton Stick
(North Dakota State)
(North Dakota State)
|A. J. Hines
|OVC||Jacksonville State||8–3 (7–1)||Marquis Terry
(Southeast Missouri State)
(Southeast Missouri State)
(Southeast Missouri State)
|Patriot||Colgate||9–1 (6–0)||James Holland, Jr.
|T. J. Hill
|Pioneer||San Diego||9–2 (8–0)||Anthony Lawrence
|Southern||East Tennessee State
(East Tennessee State)
|B. J. Blunt
Automatic berths for conference champions
|Big Sky Conference||Weber State||7th||2017||Quarterfinals (L – James Madison)|
|Big South Conference||Kennesaw State||2nd||2017||Quarterfinals (L – Sam Houston State)|
|Colonial Athletic Association||Maine||8th||2013||Second Round (L – New Hampshire)|
|Missouri Valley Football Conference||North Dakota State||9th||2017||National Champions (W – James Madison)|
|Northeast Conference||Duquesne||2nd||2015||First Round (L – William & Mary)|
|Ohio Valley Conference||Jacksonville State||9th||2017||Second Round (L – Kennesaw State)|
|Patriot League||Colgate||11th||2015||Quarterfinals (L – Sam Houston State)|
|Pioneer Football League||San Diego||4th||2017||Second Round (L – North Dakota State)|
|Southern Conference||Wofford||9th||2017||Quarterfinals (L – North Dakota State)|
|Southland Conference||Nicholls||5th||2017||First Round (L – South Dakota)|
At large qualifiers
|Big Sky Conference||Eastern Washington||13th||2016||Semifinals (L – Youngstown State)|
|Montana State||9th||2014||First Round (L – South Dakota State)|
|Colonial Athletic Association||Delaware||16th||2010||Championship Game (L – Eastern Washington)|
|Elon||3rd||2017||First Round (L – Furman)|
|James Madison||15th||2017||Championship Game (L – North Dakota State)|
|Stony Brook||4th||2017||Second Round (L – James Madison)|
|Towson||3rd||2013||Championship Game (L – North Dakota State)|
|Missouri Valley Football Conference||Northern Iowa||20th||2017||Second Round (L – South Dakota State)|
|South Dakota State||8th||2017||Semifinals (L – James Madison)|
|Ohio Valley Conference||Southeast Missouri State||2nd||2010||Second Round (L – Eastern Washington)|
|Southern Conference||East Tennessee State||2nd||1996||Quarterfinals (L – Montana)|
|Southland Conference||Incarnate Word||1st||–|
- Ivy League – Princeton
- Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – North Carolina A&T
- Southwestern Athletic Conference – Alcorn State
NCAA Division I playoff bracket
|December 15||Celebration Bowl||Mercedes-Benz Stadium
|ABC||North Carolina A&T Aggies (9–2)
Alcorn State Braves (9–3)
|North Carolina A&T 24|
Alcorn State 22
Awards and honors
Walter Payton Award
- The Walter Payton Award is given to the year's most outstanding offensive player. Finalists:
Buck Buchanan Award
- The Buck Buchanan Award is given to the year's most outstanding defensive player. Finalists:
Jerry Rice Award
- The Jerry Rice Award is given to the year's most outstanding freshman.
- Winner: Josh Davis (RB), Weber State
Preseason and in-season
This is restricted to coaching changes that took place on or after May 1, 2018. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2018, see 2017 NCAA Division I FCS end-of-season coaching changes.
|Stephen F. Austin||Clint Conque||August 6||Resigned||Jeff Byrd (interim)|
|Jackson State||Tony Hughes||October 28||Fired||John Hendrick [a]|
- Interim for remainder of season; interim tag removed on November 28, 2018.
End of season
- 2018 NCAA Division I FCS football rankings
- 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season
- 2018 NCAA Division II football season
- "Savannah State Plans Athletic Division Reclassification" (Press release). Savannah State Athletics. April 17, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- Haley, Craig (March 14, 2018). "5 College Football Teams Changing FCS Affiliations in 2018". athlonsports.com. Athlon Sports & Life. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- "DI football to offer more participation opportunities" (Press release). NCAA. June 13, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- "Merrimack College Accepts Invitation to Join the Northeast Conference" (Press release). Northeast Conference. September 10, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
- "Long Island University Announces Unification Into One LIU Division I Program" (Press release). LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds. October 3, 2018. Archived from the original on October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
- "CCSU's Aaron Dawson sets record with 308 rushing yards in a half". ESPN. October 27, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "Devlin Hodges notches FCS mark with 14,584 career passing yards". ESPN. November 17, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
- "FCS Championship Will Stay in Frisco Through 2025 With Option for 2026" (Press release). Southland Conference. January 4, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
- Adelson, Andrea. "UNC, NC State, Va. Tech called due to Florence". ESPN. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- "Football Cancels Game against Stetson". GoBlueHose.com. Presbyterian College. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
- "NCAAF College Football Scores - FCS Week 3". ESPN. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "London replaces legend as William & Mary coach". STATS FCS Football. November 19, 2018.
- Rittenberg, Adam (December 13, 2018). "North Dakota St. promotes defensive coordinator Matt Entz to head coach". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 14, 2018.