Numbers Never Lie: Running backs inflate stat sheet

When FCS programs schedule games with FBS opponents, there's a reason behind it other than just financial gain.

Sometimes it's good for FCS teams to see what extremely tough competition looks like, and perhaps that competition will make an FCS team stronger and better.

But when you look at games like Saturday's Florida A&M matchup with Ohio State, which turned into a 76-0 rout, it can be hard to see the competitive gain. Especially since the Rattlers didn't gain 100 yards of offense against mostly second-team Buckeyes players.

At first glance, one would wonder what the point was competitively. Moving forward, we'll see if the demolition actually helped Florida A&M, or rather just crushed the team's confidence.

Around the FCS, it was the first weekend of football for the Ivy League, which broke onto the scene in a big way. Ivy teams went 6-2, and could have easily been 7-1 had Princeton held onto a late fourth-quarter lead.

But it was all about the big numbers in Week 4 of the FCS season. Here are some important figures that stood out:

Briefly returning to Florida A&M's defeat at the hands of Ohio State, it's easy to see why no positives on a football level can be extracted from this contest. The Rattlers managed just two first downs the entire game, going a dismal 1-for-11 on third down attempts and gaining just 80 yards of offense.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes went 4-for-4 on fourth-down tries and posted 76 points against the Rattlers. It is hard to see the positives here.

Former Brown University track star John Spooney returned to the football field to the tune of 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The former Ivy League fastest man also caught a touchdown pass in Brown's opening-day win over Georgetown.

No Kade Bell under center for Jacksonville University Saturday? No problem.

Sophomore quarterback Steven Hughes filled in nicely, tossing two touchdown passes and 299 yards. Freshman running back Ulysses Bryant was the leading Dolphins rusher with 139 yards and two scores.

No Marcus Coker for Stony Brook? Big problem.

The season-ending abdominal injury to the senior running back may be the most pivotal injury we've seen this season to a team. After the news of Coker's injury broke, the Seawolves fell to Villanova, 35-6, and managed just 87 rushing yards. Jameel Poteat was the leading Stony Brook rusher, gaining 40 yards on nine carries.

The running game fueled Yale past Colgate, 39-22. Receiver-turned-quarterback Henry Furman is now apparently a key piece to the Bulldogs' running game, as the senior gained 60 yards on the ground with three touchdowns on four carries before leaving with an injury.

Couple that with a 236-yard, one-touchdown performance from Tyler Varga and Yale had an easy time disposing of the underachieving Colgate team.

Sacred Heart, now 4-0 on the season, used every means of scoring possible in the team's 78-35 victory over Chowan. The Pioneers scored touchdowns on an interception return, two fumble returns and a blocked punt. And, yes, offensive touchdowns were abundant as well for Sacred Heart.

Davidson, now 0-3 after the team's most recent loss to Johnson C. Smith, has lost two games this season to Division II opponents. It will be a battle of the winless next weekend as Davidson travels to Kentucky to face Morehead State.

After missing the entire 2012 season with a knee injury, Saint Francis (Pa. running back Kyle Harbridge looks completely back to normal. He is currently ranked 13th in the nation in total rushing yards and has five touchdowns. Much of that production, though, came on Saturday against Lincoln (Pa.). Harbridge ran for 230 yards and four touchdowns.

How's this for an efficient offense: Cornell defeated Bucknell, 45-13, in its first game of the season. The overall time of possession, however, favored Bucknell by nearly 20 minutes. The Big Red's time of possession was listed at 20:30, while Bucknell possessed the ball for 39:30.

Cornell got scoring off two fumble returns and a punt return as well.

Norfolk State didn't convert a third-down attempt in the team's 20-12 loss to Charleston Southern, going 0-for-10.

It was an offensive explosion in Norfolk, Va., as Old Dominion and The Citadel combined for 117 points, 1,108 yards of total offense and 58 first downs Saturday. Old Dominion won in a shootout, 59-58.

But Ben Dupree and Darien Robinson stole the show in that contest, combining for seven rushing touchdowns for The Citadel. Dupree scored five times on the ground, gaining 149 yards, while Robinson scored twice and rushed for 227 yards. Both backs has 24 carries apiece.

For the second time this season, Rhode Island was shut out in a contest, this time at the hands of William & Mary, 20-0. Both shutouts have come at the hands of CAA opponents. The first time was two weeks ago by Stony Brook.

In the team's 52-21 win over Grambling State, four Alabama State players recorded double-digit carries. The Hornets rushed for 398 yards, led by Isaiah Crowell with 129.

Appalachian State receiver Seth Price returned Saturday from a two-game suspension and caught eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown in the Mountaineers' first win of the season.