Philadelphia, PA – Sometimes it doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Any win this late in the season shouldn't be taken for granted.
In Week 9 of the 2012 season, a handful of teams were able to learn that lesson and keep their postseason dreams alive.
In the FCS Top 10 alone, five teams had to persevere for hard-fought victories. Georgia Southern survived three overtimes to take down an improved Chattanooga squad, North Dakota State had to hold off the Missouri Valley Football Conference's hottest team, Southern Illinois, to escape with a six- point victory at home.
Likewise, Old Dominion avenged an early 2011 defeat by taking down Delaware at home by five points, Wofford won the battle of triple option offenses with a three-point victory over The Citadel. And despite starting a freshman quarterback, James Madison overcame a scare versus a one-win Georgia State team to hold on by seven at home.
Other teams, like Northern Arizona, Albany and Tennessee State, who will have a say in the national playoff picture when the regular season ends in three weeks, also squeaked out wins in Week 9.
On top of that, the teams which survived in Week 9 could be rewarded in the FCS Top 25, with No. 1 Eastern Washington falling by a last-second field goal versus Southern Utah.
Survivor-mode was in full effect in Week 9, proving once again, 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 9 of the 2012 FCS season that should not be overlooked:
Six wide receivers in Week 9 had at least 12 receptions for 120 yards or more. They were Brown's Tellef Lundevall (17 receptions, 170 yards), Liberty's Pat Kelly (16 receptions, 122 yards), Elon's Aaron Mellette (14 receptions, 194 yards), Davidson's Larry Funsten (13 receptions, 131 yards), Cornell's Grant Gellatly (12 receptions, 215 yards) and Dartmouth's Michael Reilly (12 receptions, 165 yards). The only player whose team won in Week 9 was Gellatly.
In Alabama State's 31-13 victory over Alabama A&M in the Magic City Classic, played at Legion Field in Birmingham, 58,201 fans were in attendance. That marked the 2012 FCS single-game high for attendance through nine weeks of the season. The next five games for single-game attendance highs in the 2012 season all involved at least one SWAC team.
Towson and South Dakota State both rank in the Top 25 of the FCS for rushing offenses through eight games this season. Towson ranks No. 18, averaging 208 rushing yards per game compared to SDSU, which ranks No. 23 with 201 yards per game on the ground. However, both teams utilized their quarterbacks in Week 9 victories as Towson's Grant Enders threw for four touchdowns and South Dakota State's Austin Sumner threw for five touchdowns.
In Butler's 31-20 victory over Davidson, running back Trae Heeter rushed for a career-high 231 yards and scored two touchdowns. He gained a total of 256 yards on his way to helping the Bulldogs improve to 7-2 and take a half-game lead on Drake in the Pioneer Football League title race. Heeter's 231 yards were the most by a Butler player since 1996.
In other PFL Week 9 action, Marist scored four touchdowns of over 75 yards, including the longest play from scrimmage in program history, as the Red Foxes took down winless Valparaiso, 44-7. Quarterback Chuckie Looney connected with receiver Michael Rios for touchdowns of 97 and 78 yards and Marist had two 100-yard rushers. Running backs Max Jacques had 128 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore Emmanuel Onakoya ran for 110 yards and one touchdown. Jacques scored on a 96-yard run and Onakoya scored on an 85-yard run in the win.
In Appalachian State's 38-27 win over Western Carolina, running back Steven Miller and receiver Sean Price accounted for 387 of the team's 579 yards of offense. Miller rushed for a career-high 245 yards and one touchdown and Price had 10 receptions for 142 yards and one touchdown. Miller is the first Mountaineers running back since 2009 to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark, and he now has 1,077 yards on the season.
In Week 9, every team ranked in Top 10 came away with victories except No. 1 Eastern Washington. Five ranked teams outside the Top 10 were defeated this week, including No. 11 Cal Poly, No. 18 Eastern Kentucky, No. 19 Towson, No. 20 Delaware and No. 22 Youngstown State.
Last week, North Dakota quarterback Braden Hanson threw for 660 yards in a win over Montana. In Week 9, he threw for 495 less yards, managing just 165 passing yards in a 55-10 beatdown at Montana State. Montana State totaled a school-record 695 yards of offense in the win and quarterback DeNarius McGhee threw for three touchdowns and has now thrown a touchdown pass in 33 straight games in his career.
Tennessee State place-kicker Jamin Godfrey tied the 2012 FCS single-game high by going a perfect 5-of-5 on field goal attempts in a thrilling, 22-21 victory over rival Tennessee Tech. Godfrey made kicks of 37, 32, 27, 41 and 22 yards, but his biggest kick of the game came on an extra point attempt - after a touchdown which tied the game as time expired - to give the Tigers a one-point victory and 8-1 overall record on the season. Godfrey also punted four times, with an average of 36 yards per boot.
Last year's national championship game participants, Sam Houston State and North Dakota State, came away with victories in Week 9. Collectively, they allowed just 358 total yards. The Bison won versus Southern Illinois, 23-17, but they only yielded 177 total yards, including 11 yards on the ground. SHSU beat Lamar, 56-7, while running back Timothy Flanders rushed for 131 yards and four touchdowns. The Bearkats outgained the Cardinals 501 to 181 in total yards.