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By Brandon Lawrence, FCS Assoc. - Archive - Email
Numbers Never Lie: Spencer's returns to sender a record
John Russ Mercer quarterback John Russ, a Jerry Rice Award candidate,
has helped the start-up program to a 9-1 record this season.
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Returning a kickoff for a touchdown is a rare thing.

Typically there's the entire length of the field for the ball carrier to travel, and it's difficult to navigate through the sea of spread-out bodies coming together.

In McNeese State's 69-38 win over Stepehn F. Austin in Southland Conference action Saturday night, Cowboys senior Diontae Spencer likely didn't see any players out on kick coverage trying to tackle him. In his eyes, he was the only one out on the field.

Spencer had a special teams day many only dream about. The senior wide receiver returned two first-quarter kickoffs for touchdowns directly after the Lumberjacks scored touchdowns of their own.

So he scored twice on kickoff returns in the first quarter. That's a game in itself, right? He wasn't finished.

Spencer proceeded to catch two touchdown passes from quarterback Cody Stroud, and he returned a 35-yard punt for a score in the fourth quarter for McNeese State's final score of the night. His three special teams returns for touchdowns tied the FCS single-game record.

The receiver finished with 365 all-purpose yards, which ranks second in the FCS in a single game this season behind St. Francis (Pa.) running back Kyle Harbridge's 384 all-purpose yards Sept. 28 versus Fordham.

Spencer had 152 receiving yards (with two scores), 178 kickoff return yards and 35 punt return yards. By the time, the Cowboys offense put points up on the board late in the first quarter, it already had 14 points. McNeese State trailed 24-14 when running back Marcus Wiltz punched in a 2-yard score with 2:09 left in the first quarter.

It was the start of a 31-point swing for the Cowboys.

That's what you call a night to remember.

After this weekend's slate of games, here are some of the numbers that stood out in Week 11 around the FCS:

In Eastern Washington's 54-29 win over Big Sky rival and former co-conference leader Montana State, sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams finished with an efficiency rating of 302.222, which is second in the FCS in a single game this season behind Jordan Johnson of Montana. Johnson finished with an efficiency rating of 322.295 on Sept. 14 against North Dakota.

Butler quarterback Matt Lancaster is now third in the same category after his team's win over Valparaiso. Lancaster finished with a 298.988 rating.

Bethune-Cookman linebacker Jarkevis Fields ended his day against Norfolk State with 21 total tackles, which is the second-most in a single game this season behind Sacred Heart's Kellen Sperduto's 22 against Wagner. The Wildcats lost to the Spartans, 27-24.

That loss for Bethune-Cookman snapped an 18-game Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win streak that dated back to the 2011 season. B-CU went 8-0 in conference play last year, and was 5-0 in the MEAC this season.

The Wildcats also were penalized Saturday 15 times against Norfolk State. This comes one week after Bethune-Cookman was flagged an FCS single-game record 25 times.

One week after UT Martin linebacker Tony Bell set the FCS season high with 4.5 sacks against Murray State, Dayton defensive end Pat Dowd sacked Drake quarterbacks six times. That's also the FCS single-game high for tackles for loss by a player.

Samford's 70 pass attempts against Furman tied a single-game high this season in the FCS with Butler and Central Arkansas. The Bulldogs lost, 35-17, and not one Andy Summerlin pass went for a touchdown.

Lamar quarterback Caleb Berry was credited with minus-62 rushing yards Saturday in the team's loss to Northwestern State. Berry helped bring the team's total down to 5 yards for the game.

Speaking of poor rushing performances, William & Mary held Delaware to a team total of minus-19 rushing yards. Senior Andrew Pierce led the team with 20 yards on nine carries, but receiver Michael Johnson and quarterback Trevor Sasek totaled negative rushing yards, bringing Delaware's total down.

Lafayette freshman quarterback Drew Reed has started four games for the Leopards this season, leading them to a 2-2 record in the last four weeks. Lafayette is in the hunt in a very confusing Patriot League title race. Reed has only thrown one interception in his four starts and has 12 touchdown passes in that span.

The Northeast Conference title race isn't any less confusing than the Patriot League's. On Saturday, Saint Francis (Pa.) muddled the race more with a 23-20 triumph over Bryant. Red Flash running back and Walter Payton Award candidate Kyle Harbridge carried the ball 29 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

In a come-from-behind effort at Penn, Princeton forced six Quakers turnovers to remain atop the Ivy League standings with two weeks to go in the regular season.

After dropping out of the Top 25 following three straight losses, Villanova blanked Rhode Island, 45-0, behind quarterback John Robertson's four rushing touchdowns. As a team, the Wildcats scored six times on the ground (senior back Kevin Monangai added two scores).

Howard quarterback Greg McGhee accounted for 474 of his team's 559 total; offensive yards in the Bison's 42-14 win over Savannah State. McGhee had 326 passing yards and two touchdowns, and 148 rushing yards with two scores.

Butler crushed Valparaiso, 72-12. The Bulldogs racked up a program-record 717 total yards of offense, and scored at least 20 points in each of the first three quarters of the game. The two teams combined for 1,108 yards of offense.

New football program Stetson recorded its first Pioneer Football League win with a 26-13 victory over winless Davidson. The Hatters held possession of the ball for 38 minutes, 8 seconds compared to Davidson's 21:52.

The other new program in the PFL, Mercer, has five conference wins (5-1 in PFL play) after its win over Jacksonville, 45-42. Bears quarterback John Russ totaled five touchdowns - three passing and two rushing.

In the team's 31-6 loss to Tennessee State, Austin Peay managed just eight first downs and 92 total yards of offense. This comes one week after the Tennessee State defense - previously one of the best in the nation - was demolished for 44 points by Eastern Kentucky.

Three Jacksonville State players scored at least two rushing touchdowns in the Gamecocks' 68-10 win over Eastern Kentucky. Eli Jenkins scored three times on the ground, while DaMarcus James and Troymaine Pope each adding a pair.

Finally, four of Cal Poly quarterback Chris Brown's six pass completions went for touchdowns in the Mustangs' 42-7 win over Sacramento State. Brown was 6- of-10 passing for 66 yards and four scores. He also carried the ball 16 times for 57 yards. The Mustangs finished the game with 424 rushing yards.


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