They still decide it on the field
The Citadel's Carson Smith (9) scores off a blocked punt in the |
Bulldogs' 52-28 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
There's a section in the In the FCS Huddle weekly preview column called "What We Know, What We Think We Know."
And it's not about high school calculus, where we knew nuttin'!
Preseason polls are terrific and they get people talking, but, ultimately, nuttin', er nothing, is decided on paper. So what we thought we knew in August doesn't matter.
The Citadel seemed like it could be improved this season as its triple option moved into its third season under coach Kevin Higgins, but the Bulldogs barely got a sniff in The Sports Network Preseason FCS Top 25. They were coming off their seventh losing record in eight seasons and faced a brutally tough first half of the schedule.
Well, one week after The Citadel beat defending Southern Conference champion Georgia Southern, it rolled past Appalachian State, 52-28, and it turns out we do know something: the Bulldogs have plenty of bite to them.
They are 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference for the first time since its 1992 championship season.
In the rout of App State - it was 31-0 at one point - the Bulldogs racked up 618 total yards (463 rushing, 155 passing). Three players rushed for more than 100 yards, with quarterback Ben Dupree racking up 180 yards and two touchdowns, Darien Robinson 113 yards and one TD and Rickey Anderson 102 yards and one TD. Matt Johnson caught three passes for 123 yards.
They converted 11-of-14 third-down conversions while holding the ball for 38 minutes, 11 seconds.
The lesson in this, because we didn't learn enough of them back in calculus, is that players and teams still decide the season on the playing field.
A week ago, The Citadel earned its first national ranking since 2008 at No. 21. On Monday, expect the Bulldogs to get their share of respect from the national voting panel in the new rankings.
There's no denying The Citadel, even if what we thought we knew isn't quite what we actually know.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
A recap of games in The Sports Network FCS Top 25 can be found here.
Cal Poly became the ninth FCS team to beat an FBS opponent, edging Wyoming, 24-22, with 325 rushing yards on Saturday. Deonte Williams rushed for 187 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown on the game's fourth play, and Nico Molino clinched the victory with a late interception.
The Mustangs earned their fifth win against an FBS school since 2003, but the first under fourth-year head coach Tim Walsh.
The 13-team Big Sky has pulled off four of the nine FCS-over-FBS wins.
STOCK RISING, STOCK FALLING
Rising: The competition hasn't been high, but Old Dominion sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke has been dominant in throwing for 1,191 yards and 14 touchdowns through three games. On Saturday, he threw for seven touchdowns and rushed for one.
Falling: The bye week falls at the right time for defending SWAC champion Grambling State, which fell to 0-3 with its second one-point loss in conference play, 19-18 to Alabama State. Coach Doug Williams rallied the Tigers to the SWAC title after a 1-4 start (1-3 SWAC) a year ago.
AROUND THE NATION
Big Sky: The lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter as No. 3 Montana State outlasted No. 23 Stephen F. Austin, 43-35, and improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1978. "This was a great challenge for us," said running back Cody Kirk, who scored two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. "It let us find out where we need to be. You've got to win games like this."
Big South: Saturday's impressive list of opponents caught up to the Big South. Its teams went 0-7 and were outscored 290-77. All of the losses were by double-digits.
CAA Football: Villanova (2-1) is getting on track with a running game that has posted three straight 200-yard games. The Wildcats haven't opened a season like that since 1992 ... William & Mary is 0-3 and each loss is by three points or less. The Tribe have been outscored 44-37.
Ivy: The annual late start to the season didn't slow Ivy teams as they finished 5-3 on Saturday ... Cornell quarterback Jeff Mathews threw for over 500 yards in each of the final two games last season. He nearly opened the season doing it again, throwing for 489 yards in a 34-27 loss to Fordham. Grant Gellatly, Luke Tasker and Kurt Ondash all had at least 10 receptions ... Miles Gay jump-started Dartmouth's season by returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown in a 35-7 victory over Butler. It's the Big Green's fourth straight win dating to last season.
MEAC: Howard's Julian David wins the good hands award for blocking Everett Goldberg's extra point in overtime for a surprising, 37-36 win at defending champion Norfolk State ... Florida A&M coach Joe Taylor beat his former team with a 44-20 triumph over Hampton. James Owens rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns as part of his 282 all-purpose yards.
Missouri Valley: It might seem that a 349-yard game against Drake would lift Indiana State show-stopper Shakir Bell to the top of the FCS rushing charts. Well, he's not even first in the conference after South Dakota State's Zach Zenner went for another 191 yards in a funky 12-8 score over UC Davis to push his season total to 658 yards in three games ... Ted Lally had four of South Dakota State's seven sacks in a 12-8 win over UC Davis.
Northeast: Saint Francis (Pa.) rolled past Morehead State, 57-23, as senior running back Keion Wade churned out 243 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. The Red Flash were 3-19 in Chris Villarrial's first two seasons, but are off to a 2-1 start ... Monmouth's 38-17 win at Wagner marked the eighth time in the last nine meetings that the road team was victorious.
Ohio Valley: In Eastern Kentucky senior wide receiver Tyrone Goard's return from a concussion, he had four catches for 113 yards and one touchdown, and the Colonels topped Coastal Carolina, 35-17 ... Tennessee State returned to its on-campus Hale Stadium with a 34-14 win over Austin Peay. Quarterback Michael German set career highs with 27 completions and 318 yards, and matched his career-best with three touchdown passes.
Patriot: Don't blame senior cornerback Jeremy Moore for Georgetown's 24-21 loss to Yale - the third straight year in which the Bulldogs ended the Hoyas' 2-0 start to the season. Moore totaled 12 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, forced and recovered a fumble and picked off two passes, one of which he returned 41 yards for a touchdown ... Speaking of defense, Lafayette had seven interceptions and one fumble recovery in a 28-21 win over Penn. Darius Safford had two of the picks, returning one for a touchdown.
Pioneer: Jacksonville (2-1) is the only team with a winning record as the PFL moves into conference play. But Dolphins quarterback Kade Bell left Saturday's 33-10 win over Webber International with a concussion.
SoCon: Samford is 3-0 for the first time since 1995. Fabian Truss has played at a high level all season and had 262 all-purpose yards and a school-record four touchdowns in a 44-23 win at Gardner-Webb. One of the scores was a 97- yard kickoff return in the third quarter after Gardner-Webb had pulled within 21-17 ... It might seem strange that national power Appalachian State is 1-2 for the third time in five seasons. But in the previous two times, the Mountaineers went on to win the Southern Conference championship and advance to the FCS quarterfinals in 2008 and national semifinals in 2009.
Southland: In Central Arkansas's 70-3 pasting of Bacone College, sophomore receiver Dezmin Lewis scored touchdowns off a 10-yard pass from quarterback Wynrick Smothers, a blocked punt and a fumble recovery ... Northwestern State's 585 yards of offense against Nevada were the most since 2002. Still, the Demons fell, 45-34 ... The weekend schedule wrapped up with Lamar's 54-2 loss at Hawaii. Cardinals linebacker Jermaine Longino led all players with a season-high 10 tackles.
SWAC: With all 10 teams playing conference games, four of the five road teams posted wins. The only home team to hold serve was Alabama A&M, which beat Prairie View A&M, 42-30, as Deaunte Mason had a hand in six touchdowns - three rushing and three passing ... Rico Richardson caught eight passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns in Jackson State's 45-35 win over Texas Southern. Not only did quarterback Clayton Moore pass for the three touchdowns, but he ran for three more.
Extra Point: It was the weekend of the quarterback. Nine signal-callers had more yards of total offense than all but two QBs during the first two weeks of the season. Heinecke's 527 yards versus Campbell were only three off his national-high 530 in a season-opening win over Duquesne.
A LOOK AHEAD
Week 4 action begins Thursday with an interesting game in the SWAC as Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits Alabama State.
Conference action heats up on Saturday - yes, it seriously heats up - with Jacksonville State at Eastern Kentucky in the OVC, Northern Iowa at Youngstown State in the Missouri Valley, Old Dominion at New Hampshire in the CAA and Sam Houston State at Central Arkansas in the Southland.
Other key games include: Big Sky, Eastern Washington at Weber State and Southern Utah at Portland State; Missouri Valley, South Dakota State at Indiana State and Illinois State at Western Illinois; Ivy, Harvard at Brown; and SoCon, Appalachian State at Chattanooga.
Among non-conference games, Fordham visits Columbia in the 11th Liberty Cup to honor 9/11, Villanova takes on Penn at Franklin Field, Tennessee State visits Bethune-Cookman and Lehigh goes to reeling Liberty.
There are 10 FCS-at-FBS matchups, including The Citadel at North Carolina State.