Football: Week 4 Team Notes & News
Football: Week 4 Team Notes & News
Arkansas State Red Wolves
The Red Wolves dropped just their second Sun Belt Conference opener ever, falling to 7-2 in those games.
ASU is now 4-3 under head coach Steve Roberts when coming off an open week.
The crowd of 23,641 in attendance at the ASU-Troy game was the seventh largest in ASU Stadium history. ASU has now drawn a crowd of over 20,000 in 15 games all time at ASU Stadium and six of those have come over the past seven games. Of those 15, 10 have been with Steve Roberts as head coach.
Senior kicker Josh Arauco made multiple field goals in a game for the first time this season, but for the 14th time of his career. Now with 47 career field goals, Arauco needs just four more to break the Sun Belt Conference record. Arauco tied the school record for points by kicking, scoring nine points against Troy to run his career total to 234.
With 122 kickoff return yards against Troy , senior Brandon Thompkins now has 2,077 yards and became the first player in school history and second player in SBC history surpass the 2,000-yard mark. Thompkins, already the school record holder in KO return yards, needs 270 more yards to breaks the SBC record. Thompkins posted over 100 KO return yards in a game for the eighth time of his career.
With 190 passing yards against Troy , senior quarterback Corey Leonard increased his career total to 6,353 yards and became the SBC’s fifth all-time leader in the stat.
Sophomore safety Jaquan Kilcrease recorded a team and career-high 12 tackles against Troy . His 12 tackles are the most by an ASU player since Ben Owens recorded 13 against North Texas last season.
Arnold is tied for first in the nation in points scored, averaging 14.0 per game. Arnold now needs just five more touchdowns to tie the sixth most in school history for a single season. Arnold’s 28 career rushing touchdowns leaves him five shy of tying the second most in school history and two short of the sixth most in SBC history.
Florida Atlantic Owls
The Owls dropped a 27-25 decision to ULM on Saturday keeping the visiting streak alive. In the six meetings between the two schools the visitor has be the victor each time.
The other trend that remained intact is the hard fought game that is decided by the final drive. In this case it was ULM stopping FAU’s drive.
The game wasn’t without its positives. Sophomore RB Alfred Morris had his first career touchdown with a 27 yard rush. Morris tallied 122 yards for a career high.
TE Darian Williams got more playing time with the loss of Jamari Grant to an ankle injury early in the game. Williams made the best of it with his first career TD reception, a five yard score.
Redshirt Junior Michael Lockley had a career high 13 tackles to lead the defense.
The Owls also recorded their first safety since October 28, 2006 versus Arkansas State .
Rusty Smith attempted 50 passes for the second consecutive home game, the last was the 2008 season home finale against FIU. He also completed 30 which he last accomplished versus ULM in 2007.
FAU will play host to Wyoming 4 p.m. Saturday, October 3. The game will mark the program’s 100th game.
FIU Golden Panthers
The Panthers were once again victimized by a slow start as Toledo avenged FIU’s 2008 victory in Toledo by beating the Panthers 41-31 at FIU Stadium. The Rockets’ high-octane offense got off to a fast start, putting up 17 points before FIU was able to get on the scoreboard with a second quarter field goal. The Panthers’ offense came alive in the second half, putting up 28 points, but the defense couldn’t contain Toledo as the rockets pulled away with the victory.
One bright spot for the Panthers is that the FIU running game finally got on track. Against Toledo , the Panthers amassed 148 yards on the ground led by Darriet Perry who carried the ball 16 times for 60 yards. Freshman Darrian Mallary added 31 yards to go along with his first collegiate touchdown.
Hilton continued to impress, matching the career-high he set the week before with nine catches. The sophomore finished the game with 126 yards and one touchdown. In the process, Hilton extended his streak of games with at least one catch to 14 games and games scoring or throwing for a touchdown to eight. The all-purpose standout from last year is back at it this season. After three games in ‘08, Hilton had 410 all-purpose yards. After three games this season, T.Y. is off to a better start as he has amassed 505 all-purpose yards.
On defense, Scott Bryant continued to lead the Panthers. Bryant , who last week passed current Baltimore Raven Antwan Barnes for fifth all-time in FIU’s tackle leaderboard, added eight tackles to his total.
FIU will head to Monroe , La. this week looking to avenge a 31-27 home loss to the Warhawks in 2008. In that game, FIU quarterback Paul McCall threw for 239 yards and a pair of scores, those coming on connections with Hilton and Greg Ellingson.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
The Cajuns (2-2) will enjoy their open date on Oct. 3 in preparation for eight straight conference games.
The four schools the Cajuns have faced this season hold a combined 12-4 record entering October.
Louisiana-Lafayette starts conference play against North Texas , who also has an open date Oct. 3. The Cajuns are 3-5 in Sun Belt openers, while head coach Rickey Bustle is 23-23 in conference play. Bustle is 0-2 after an open date when the team lost the week prior to their bye week. The Cajuns are 3-5 against North Texas since 2001, but has won three of the last four meetings.
Through four games, three different players have started at free safety and three different players have started at strong safety for the Cajuns.
The Cajuns have put together nine drives greater than 60 yards this season. Seven of those drives resulted in a touchdown, while one other ended in a field goal.
Cajuns punter Spencer Ortego entered the season with 13 punts of 50 yards or more in 104 career kicks (12/5%). In 2009, Ortego has six 50+ punts in 21 attempts (28.6%).
The Cajuns have five interceptions after four games, putting the team on pace for 15 this season. UL had only nine picks in 2008, nine in 2007 and just six in 2006.
Safety Greg James extended his team-leading starts streak out to 36 games; punter Scott Love and linebacker Josh Thomas extended their streaks to 28 games.
ULM is undefeated in the state of Florida in Sun Belt Conference games. The Warhawks are 4-0 playing at Florida Atlantic and 2-0 at FIU.
The visitor has won all six meetings in the FAU-ULM series. Every meeting between the two squads has been a difference on average of 3.2 points, 19 points total.
ULM is 13-7 all-time versus Division I schools from the Sunshine State .
Florida Atlantic’s safety with 13:19 in the second quarter was the first safety the ULM offense has given up this season. It was also over a year – Sept. 12, 2008 against Alabama A&M – since the Warhawks allowed a safety. It was also the eighth safety given up in the Weatherbie era.
Trey Revell’s 7-yard rushing touchdown with 0:40 in the first quarter was his first rushing touchdown of his career. Revell’s 18 completions set a new single-game high. Revell’s previous high was earlier this season against Texas Southern in which his completed 17 passes.
Darrell McNeal extended his consecutive game catch streaking to 26 games with a 16-yard grab in the first quarter. McNeal’s five receptions pushed him to 146 career catches and one catch shy of tying fifth place (Jackie Harris, 146) in ULM history. It also moved him to within 13 catches of tying fifth place all-time in Sun Belt history.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Middle Tennessee ’s win over North Texas ran its record to 3-1 on the season. The 3-1 start is the best beginning to a season for the Blue Raiders since they went 5-0 in 2001. It also marks the first time since 2001 the Blue Raiders won their conference opener that was on the road.
Junior quarterback Dwight Dasher registered his personal-best fourth straight 200-yard passing game when he completed 21 of 43 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Dasher has now thrown for 1,028 yards this season after four games. Dasher also added 75 yards on the ground and two rushing scores.
For the second game in a row, Middle Tennessee recorded a blocked field goal when Rod Issac rejected a Mean Green three-point attempt in the first quarter. It went down as the first career block for Issac and the ninth in the Rick Stockstill era. It also went down as the seventh blocked kick against North Texas and the 28th in the FBS era (since 1999). Overall in the FBS era, MT now has 11 blocked field goals, 9 punts, and 8 PATs.
Middle Tennessee ’s offense has been in high gear during its three-game winning streak. In the three games, the Blue Raiders have scored a combined 100 points for an average of 33.3 per game. MT has now scored 30 or more points in three straight games for the first time since 2006.
Middle Tennessee ’s 12 play, 98-yard scoring drive against North Texas went down as the second longest under Rick Stockstill. Since Stockstill took the reins in 2006, the Blue Raiders have put together five scoring drives of 90 or more yards with two coming in 2007, one in 2008, and now two this year. In 2007, the Blue Raiders had a 99-yard scoring drive at ULM and then a 91 yarder in the same game before putting together a 91-yard drive at Louisville . The 96 yarder against Memphis earlier this year went down as the longest under Stockstill at home and third longest overall.
North Texas Mean Green
Lance Dunbar broke loose for a 66-yard touchdown run, which was the longest by a North Texas player since Jamario Thomas scampered 77 yards against MTSU on Oct. 27, 2007. The run was also the longest allowed by Middle Tennessee this year.
Late in the third quarter Dunbar rumbled 18 yards for his second touchdown of the night. The score marked the first multiple touchdown night of his career.
QB Riley Dodge passed for a career high 313 yards, which is the 24th most in the history of North Texas football. His 54 attempts tied for the ninth most in school history, and his 35 completions are tied for the sixth most.
WR Jamaal Jackson caught 6 passes in the first half alone, which was a career high. He ended up grabbing 11 passes for 82 yards.
TE/WR Forrest Rucker lined up out wide and caught the first pass of his career in the second quarter.
MTSU’s Rod Issac blocked a first-quarter 37-yard field goal attempt from Jeremy Knott. It was the first blocked kick allowed by the Mean Green this year.
Dwight Dasher’s 50-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Cunningham was the longest play from scrimmage allowed by North Texas so far this year.
ASU’s Brandon Thompkins’ 65- yard kick-off return to start the game was the longest return against Troy since Arkansas ’ Felix Jones returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown on September 1, 2007
Junior Tebiarus Gill led the Trojans in receiving for the second time in the first four games and posted a career high 10 receptions against ASU. Gill also posted his first punt return of the year.
Through three games, only senior QB Levi Brown had attempted a pass for Troy . That changed against ASU when receivers Jason Bruce and Jerrel Jernigan both had pass attempts (both incomplete) as did backup QB Dantavious Parker. Parker’s fourth quarter pass came on a third and one play as the Trojans worked to run out the clock. He completed the throw for an 18-yard gain to fellow sophomore Chip Reeves.
Freshman running back Shawn Southward’s 16-yard reception in the second quarter was the first of his career. He became the 12th different Trojan with a catch thus far in 2009.
Sophomore Wes Henry, a walk-on long snapper, made his first major contribution for the Trojans early in the third quarter when he was credited with a forced and recovered fumble on a Troy punt. The turnover, one of two fumbled punts in the game for ASU, led to Troy field goal.
Troy had its own problems on punt returns early in the fourth quarter. Senior defensive back Justin Bray, playing on the punt return team, had a Ryan Wilbourn punt kick off his leg toward the Troy goal line, where it was recovered by ASU. The Troy defense held ASU to a field goal after the turnover, leaving the door open for the Trojans’ come back win.
One of QB Levi Brown’s 33 completions in the game was a shovel pass to Dujuan Harris for an 11 yard gain. It was the first time this season the Trojans had shown that wrinkle in the offense
Despite a 38-22 loss to Navy on Saturday, WKU had its most productive offensive game of the season, racking up a season-best 434 yards of total offense and putting up a season-high point total.
Redshirt freshman Kawaun Jakes got his first career start at quarterback against the Midshipmen, and responded by completing 22 of 28 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns – WKU’s first two passing TDs of the season, and the first two of Jakes’ career. He also rushed for 44 yards and another score. The 276 passing yards were the most by a Topper QB since Justin Haddix threw for 291 yards against Illinois State on Oct. 7, 2006.
Jakes spread the ball around to 11 different receivers for his 22 completions, with redshirt freshman tight end Jack Doyle hauling in eight of those passes for a game and career-high 80 receiving yards. Through four games, Doyle is the Hilltoppers’ leading receiver with 17 catches for 137 yards – an average of 8.1 yards per reception.
Sophomore running back Bobby Rainey was also solid on the ground for WKU, running for a season-best 99 yards on 14 carries. In fact, it equaled his career best set last season at Kentucky . After getting stopped for a loss of a yard on WKU’s first offensive play of the game, Rainey’s next 13 carries went for positive yards as he averaged 7.1 yards per carry. He also caught two passes for 17 yards – including a 13-yard touchdown reception.
WKU’s 7.0 yards per play against Navy was its highest average since is went for 7.3 yards per play last season against North Texas .
WKU has two defenders record double-digit tackles against Navy as Thomas Majors and Taurean Smith each posted new career highs with 14 and 13 stops, respectively. The 27 combined tackles were the most by two Hilltoppers since Marion Rumph (16) and Andre Lewis (12) combined for 28 against Western Illinois on Sept. 30, 2006.
The Hilltoppers will have their first of two bye weeks this Saturday before opening their first season of Sun Belt Conference play on Oct. 10 when Florida International visits Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
Source: Sun Belt Media Relations