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Numbers Never Lie: Offensive firepower the key to Week 3

Week 3 of the 2012 FCS season proved to be one for the record books. A handful of teams put up mind-boggling offensive statistics and there were more than a fair share of standout individual performances.

Seven teams totaled at least 571 yards of offense, three teams rushed for 457 yards or more and five teams passed for at least 418 yards.

Indiana State running back Shakir Bell rushed for 349 yards, St. Francis (Pa.) running back Keion Wade rushed for 243 yards, South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner rushed for 197 yards and Cal Poly running back Deonte Williams rushed for 196 yards. Collectively, they scored eight touchdowns in Week 3 and each player's team came away with a victory.

It was truly a weekend of offense and as my colleague Craig Haley pointed out, nine signal-callers had more yards of total offense than all but two QBs during the first two weeks of the season.

Four teams ranked in the Top 10 came away with victories in Week 3. They were No. 3 Montana State, No. 5 Youngstown State, No. 6 Old Dominion and No. 9 Wofford. Three top 10 teams lost to FBS foes, including No. 2 Sam Houston State, No. 4 James Madison and No. 7 Northern Iowa, while No. 21 The Citadel upset its second straight Top 10 opponent, No. 8 Appalachian State.

Every team in the FCS has now played at least one contest thanks to the Ivy League kicking off its season this weekend. But it was the offensive explosion taking center stage in Week 3, once again showing us that 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 3 of the 2012 FCS season that should not be overlooked:

Three teams in the Southern Conference are 3-0 after Week 3. They are, The Citadel, Samford and Wofford. Each school's mascot represents a different breed of canine, The Citadel and Samford share the same mascot, the Bulldogs, while Wofford's mascot is the Terriers.

Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke reset his own school record, accounting for eight touchdowns in his team's 70-14 victory over Campbell. The sophomore finished with 486 passing yards, completing 21-of-29 throws, for seven touchdowns, while rushing for 41 yards and one touchdown.

In South Dakota State's 12-8 victory over UC Davis, Zenner scored both of his team's touchdowns and the Jackrabbits failed to convert twice on two-point conversions. Zenner rushed for 197 yards on 21 carries, and he has crossed the 100-yard mark in the first half of every game this year.

The Citadel and Wofford both had at least three players rush for over 100 yards in victories this week. The Citadel totaled 618 yards of total offense in its 52-28 win at Appalachian State, while Wofford totaled 590 rushing yards on the way to a 49-20 win over Western Carolina. Eric Breitenstein crossed the 4,000-yard rushing mark in his career. The senior had 160 rushing yards in the game to give him a total of 4,109.

Indiana State junior running back Shakir Bell averaged 10 yards per carry, scored two touchdowns and rushed for 349 yards in the Sycamores' 27-10 win versus Drake. Bell also caught two passes for 27 yards and was 0-for-1 throwing the ball.

Illinois State defeated Eastern Illinois, 54-51, in two overtimes while both teams accounted for 1,042 yards of offense. Illinois State was responsible for 22 of the 32 total penalties in the win, totaling 178 yards.

Wade scored three touchdowns and rushed for 243 yards in St. Francis' 57-23 win over Morehead State. The Red Flash racked up 557 yards of offense and only 100 yards came through the air. SFU trailed 17-0 after one quarter.

For the sixth straight year, Yale opened its season with a victory over Georgetown. In the 24-21 loss, Georgetown senior cornerback Jeremy Moore totaled 12 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, forced and recovered a fumble and picked off two passes, returning one 41 yards for a touchdown.

FCS teams have now defeated FBS teams nine times in 2012. Four of those victories have come from the Big Sky Conference, with Cal Poly becoming the only team to take down an FBS foe in Week 3, edging Wyoming, 24-22.

The Big South Conference went 0-7 in Week 3, while Charleston Southern, Presbyterian and Stony Brook lost to FBS opponents Illinois, Vanderbilt and Syracuse, respectively. The Seawolves and Coastal Carolina are the only teams above .500 in the conference.