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Numbers Never Lie: Tension builds for playoff-worthy teams
By Tim McDonnell, FCS Assistant
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Every year when the season enters November, few teams can truly feel comfortable about the possibility of making the FCS playoffs before the regular season ends.
This year more than ever, the tension continues to build for many teams that anxiously await their fate in the hands of the NCAA selection committee.
Cal Poly was undefeated and thinking about a possible playoff seed just two weeks ago. The Mustangs have dropped two straight games, but can get back on track when they play Idaho State and Big Sky leader Northern Arizona to end the regular season.
Lehigh improved to 9-0 by defeating Holy Cross, 36-35, thanks to a missed 43- yard field goal attempt with 13 seconds left in regulation. The Mountain Hawks won their fifth game by three points or less. The million dollar question is whether or not Lehigh has done enough, even if it loses one or two games in the next two weeks.
It seems the Mountain Hawks' season could come down to a home game versus fellow Patriot League leader Colgate in a de facto Patriot League championship game on Saturday.
Central Arkansas became the first team to punch a ticket to the FCS playoffs by securing the Southland Conference's automatic bid with a 35-14 win over Northwestern State. Things get even more interesting on Nov. 17 as the Bears play a non-conference contest versus Eastern Illinois. The Panthers are tied for the lead in the Ohio Valley Conference and could make great strides with a win against a formidable foe.
Other teams like Wofford, Albany, Towson, Indiana State, Richmond, Tennessee State and Sam Houston State - seemingly schools deserving of a playoff bid - need to embrace the Al Davis motto of "Just win, baby" before they can worry about the field of 20.
For all the promise in its teams, some things can never be ignored.
Whether it be scores, statistics or standout performances, the numbers never lie.
Here are some important figures from Week 10 of the 2012 FCS season that should not be overlooked:
In Colgate's 65-41 shootout victory over Lafayette, the Raiders rushed for 531 yards and totaled 755 yards of offense. Both marks set new school and Patriot League records dating back to 1997 and 1987, respectively. Quarterback Gavin McCarney rushed for 288 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries and was just three yards shy of the Patriot League record set by Colgate's Nate Eachus in 2010. Not only was it the second-best performance in Patriot history, it was the new record for a quarterback. Running back Jordan McCord rushed for 203 yards and four touchdowns as well.
Appalachian State receiver Sean Price set a school freshman record with 231 receiving yards in his team's crucial, 31-28 victory over Georgia Southern. Price averaged 33 yards on seven receptions, catching one touchdown, after entered the game leading all FCS freshmen in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
Five players recorded at least 17 tackles in Week 10. They were Weber State's Anthony Morales (23), Western Carolina's Ace Clark (20), South Dakota's Tyler Starr (18), Lehigh's Billy Boyko (17), Lamar's Chad Allen (17) and UT Martin's Ben Johnson (17). Boyko and Johnson were the only players whose teams found victories in Week 10.
North Dakota State's defense - which ranks No. 1 in the FCS in total defense, allowing a ridiculous 180.7 yards per game - came up huge again in a 21-17 win versus Missouri State. The Bison gave up a mere 149 yards of offense and allowed a rushing touchdown for only the second time this season. MSU quarterback Kierra Harris completed just 6-of-19 passes for 22 yards and threw one interception.
Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin completed 29-of-35 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 24-17 double-overtime victory over Wofford. His only touchdown throws of the contest came on the final play of regulation - followed by a a two-point conversion with no time remaining to bring the game to overtime - and a 12-yarder to Kelsey Pope in double overtime, before Samford held on for the win. It was the program's first victory over a Top 10 foe since 1994.
Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet and wide receiver Kevin Norrell both set Big South Conference records in the Seawolves' 45-7 victory over Virginia Military Institute. Maysonet rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns, and his second touchdown was the 48th of his career, breaking the Big South mark of 47, set by Coastal Carolina's Aundres Perkins (2003-06). Norrell caught eight passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns and is now the Big South single-season record holder for receiving yards with 1,173.
Other than Colgate's McCarney and McCord, two other players rushed for at least 203 yards in Week 10. They were Valparaiso's Jake Huston (248 yards, three touchdowns) and Youngstown State's Jamaine Cook (203 yards, one touchdown).
Seven teams ranked in the FCS Top 25 lost in Week 10, but only two teams fell versus unranked opponents. Albany lost to Wagner and Tennessee State to Murray State. The other ranked teams which lost were No. 2 Georgia Southern, No. 6 Wofford, No. 14 Indiana State, No. 16 Cal Poly and No. 23 Delaware.
Austin Peay picked up its first win of the 2012 season by defeating Culver- Stockton, 56-0. The Governors set a single-game 2012 record by allowing just 41 yards of offense. Culver-Stockton passed for 31 yards on 17 attempts and rushed for 10 yards on 27 attempts.
Lehigh is the only team ranked in the Top 10 in the FCS for fewest penalties per game that has more than five wins on the season. The Mountain Hawks rank No. 5 in the FCS, allowing 4.33 penalties per contest and are 9-0 on the season. Every other team ranked in the Top 10 for fewest penalties per game has a combined record of 32-50.
11/04 17:37:12 ET
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