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Numbers Never Lie: Defense didn't exist in Nacogdoches
By Brandon Lawrence, FCS Associate
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Most people had their eyes on some of the more prolific matchups this weekend in the FCS. Rightfully so, as some of the best conference and non-conference games were being played.
But it was the contests we weren't all watching that took us by surprise.
Granted, Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington provided us with fireworks - the two teams combined for 83 points and 1,052 yards of total offense, something we did expect. But it wasn't the heart-pounding, eyes-glued-to-the- set matchup as last season's national semifinal.
Bison fans can't complain about North Dakota State's 20-0 blanking of Missouri Valley Conference rival South Dakota State. The team has won 14 straight games on the road (three at neutral sites) dating back to the 2010 season. But the game was a little more one-sided than some predicted it would be.
The absence of Zach Zenner (not literally, but on a production level) was baffling. The junior was not only held to fewer than 100 rushing yards for the first time all season, but to a mere four yards on the ground total. Well played, Bison defense. Well played.
Take a step back from those huge matchups and you'll notice the Prairie View A&M versus Stephen F. Austin contest in Nacogdoches, Texas, which was played Saturday night. Homer Bryce Stadium was a hub of offense.
Here are some important figures that stood out from that game and others in Week 5 of the FCS season:
The Stephen F. Austin/Prairie View A&M game was a cornucopia of single-game highs for the 2013 season. And Lumberjacks senior quarterback Brady Attaway was at the center of it all.
Attaway set single-game highs in passing yards (662), total yards (655) and completions (44) in his team's loss (that's right, loss) to Prairie View, 56-48. His top receiver from Saturday, Aaron Thomas, set a season single-game high with 242 receiving yards (on 10 receptions).
Both teams combined for 1,409 yards offensively, while 827 of those yards were accumulated by the Lumberjacks, who possessed the ball for roughly four and a half minutes less than Prairie View.
Three receivers went over the 100-yard mark for Attaway's crew (Thomas, D.J. Ward and Tyler Boyd). Senior Mike Brooks had 91 receiving yards on the day.
Prairie View had quarterback Jerry Lovelock leading its cause as he accounted for seven touchdowns (four passing and three rushing) with 406 yards of total offense.
Speaking of single-game highs on the 2013 season, St. Francis (Pa.) running back Kyle Harbridge now tops the list of all-purpose yardage leaders. The senior racked up 384 all-purpose yards Saturday in his team's loss to Fordham. He also ran for 291 yards and three touchdowns. His 291 rushing yards is the second-most in a game this season behind SDSU's Zenner, who ran for 295 in Week 2.
Jacksonville doesn't seem to be having much of a problem without Kade Bell under center. Although the Dolphins lost Saturday to Pioneer Football League foe Butler, sophomore Steven Hughes threw for 509 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Hughes' 509 passing yards are second-most in a game this season behind Attaway's 662 - both from this weekend. Hughes is right behind Attaway in the single-game high for total yards with 526. Hughes attempted 61 passes Saturday, and completed 25 of them (41 percent completion rate).
Richmond receiver Ben Edwards tied a season high Saturday with 14 receptions in his team's loss to Maine. Eastern Illinois receiver Erik Lora had 14 catches a week ago.
North Dakota receiver/return specialist Greg Hardin also set a single-game high in kickoff return yards with 194 on eight returns.
In Columbia's second game of the season, the Lions failed to complete a single third-down attempt, going 0-12 in Saturday's 37-14 loss to Monmouth. For the Hawks, running backs Julian Hayes and Kwabena Asante each rushed for over 100 for the third consecutive week.
Rhode Island forced six Central Connecticut State turnovers in the Rams' 42-7 win Saturday. Rhode Island is 2-3 on the season.
Conversely, Drake, in its first game against new PFL team Mercer turned the ball over seven times in the team's 31-17 loss.
Somehow South Carolina State managed to disregard all the penalties the team was being assessed for a 30-6 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win over Hampton. The Bulldogs were flagged 11 times for 162 yards.
Illinois State is off to a rough start this season, most recently falling to Missouri State, 37-10, in both teams first Missouri Valley Conference matchup of the season. The Redbirds have now fallen to the Bears in consecutive years.
Sacramento State receiver DeAndre Carter lives for big games, doesn't he? In the last three weeks, Carter has caught nine touchdown passes and eclipsed 328 yards. On Saturday, he damaged Weber State by catching three scores.
In the two teams' first Ohio Valley Conference matchup, Murray State and Jacksonville State combined for 56 first downs in the Racers' narrow 35-34 win.
Sacred Heart, of the Northeast Conference, shut out the Patriot League's Bucknell, 16-0. It was the first time Sacred Heart recorded a shutout win since the 2002 season, when the Pioneers held St. Francis (Pa.) and Robert Morris scoreless in back-to-back contests. Sacred Heart is now 5-0 on the season after winning only two games in 2012.
Liberty laid a beating on Kentucky Wesleyan Saturday, winning 73-7 against the Division II squad. The last time the Flames scored 70 or more points in a game was back in the 2007 season, when Liberty defeated VMI, 73-24.
Finally, it was a nice welcome back party for Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee, who missed just two games with a separated shoulder. He was projected to miss time into the middle of October.
McGhee completed 13 of his 18 pass attempts for 194 yards in his team's 63-20 win over Big Sky rival North Dakota.
09/29 12:30:14 ET