FCS preview: Five players to watch and games to watch for 2017
Players to watch
Ben Huss, Sr., OL, Duquesne: Upper St. Clair graduate has earned bevy of preseason honors, including second-team STATS FCS Preseason All-America. ... A three-time All-NEC selection, including first team the past two seasons.
Duquesne's Abner Roberts brings a veteran presence to the defensive backfield.
Photo by Duquesne athletics
Abner Roberts, Jr., DB, Duquesne: Two-year starter from University Prep named preseason All-NEC. ... Led team with nine passes defended last season. ... Also a big factor in the run game, as he has a combined 133 tackles the past two years.
Nathan Stone, Sr., LB, Duquesne: Greensburg Central Catholic graduate is three-time All-NEC selection. ... A second-team Lindy's Preseason All-FCS honoree. ... Ranked second on team with 73 tackles last season. ... NEC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014.
Tim Vecchio, So., WR, Robert Morris: Penn-Trafford product led team in with 35 catches for 308 yards as a freshman. ... Tribune-Review Player of the Year in 2014 and '15. ... Had 136 catches for 2,820 yards and 43 touchdowns in high school.
Linebacker Adam Wollet will be one of the leaders on the Robert Morris defense this season.
Photo by Robert Morris athletics
Adam Wollet, Jr., LB, Robert Morris: Led team and ranked fifth in the NEC with 89 tackles last season. ... Also tied for second on team with two fumble recoveries.
Games to watch
8.31 Duquesne at South Dakota State: Dukes open season against a Jackrabbits team that is ranked sixth in the FCS coaches' preseason poll. South Dakota State went 9-4 last season and reached the NCAA quarterfinals.
9.23 Robert Morris at North Dakota State: Colonials will look to pull off a stunner against a Bison program that won five straight NCAA FCS national championships from 2011-15 and lost in the national semifinals last season.
10.7 Wagner at Duquesne: The Seahawks return six all-league selections from last year and were the only conference team to beat St. Francis (Pa.) in 2016. The Dukes' NEC opener could be one of their biggest tests.
10.14 Duquesne at Robert Morris: Dukes coach Jerry Schmitt is 9-3 all-time against the Colonials, including a 31-24 win last season that was his 100th career victory. ... Duquesne has won four consecutive in the series.
10.21 Duquesne vs. St. Francis (Pa.): Northeast Conference title again could come down to this matchup of preseason favorites, which Duquesne lost 14-10 last season. That cost the Dukes a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs.
— Jeff Vella