Week 16 SBC Football Team Notes & News
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University captured their fourth consecutive Shula Bowl featuring FAU and FIU. The victory sent the senior class out with a perfect record in the Shula Bowl and extend FAU’s record to 8-1. The game had all the makings of last season’s 57-50 overtime thriller. FAU opened with 14 unanswered points only to see FIU tie the score in at 14. FAU scored twice more, one answered. FIU line-up for an on-side kick with less than a minute remaining. After three attempts, the kick was awarded to the Owls allowing the clock to expire.
The night belonged to Alfred Morris and the offensive linemen. The “O” line set a goal of Morris capturing the league rushing title and by night’s end, he had tallied 158 yards, 13 more than needed for the crown. The offensive line was comprised of four seniors. Their efforts have helped Morris to flourish in 2009 and have allowed junior Jeff Van Camp to gain valuable experience for 2010. The Owls will lose a total of 16 senior, players who have been a part of two bowl victories and who captured the Sun Belt Conference title in 2007.
Arkansas State won back-to-back games for the first time this year to close out its 2009 season, including a 24-20 win at Western Kentucky that snapped a seven-game road skid. After enduring a season of close losses, the Red Wolves turned the tables and won both of their last two games by four points to give ASU a 23-17 record in games decided by eight points or less under head coach Steve Roberts. Roberts concluded his eighth season at ASU with his 90th career victory. ASU had to overcome a 17-point deficit to win the WKU game, marking the second largest comeback by an Steve Roberts coached ASU team.
Senior defensive end Alex Carrington turned in one of the best defensive performances in school history during the WKU game, tying the ASU and Sun Belt Conference record for sacks with four, posting a career-high five tackles for loss that were the most by an SBC player this year, recording a season-high seven tackles and returning a fumble 27 yards late in the fourth quarter for the game-winning touchdown.
Carrington finished the season ranked tied for fi rst in the SBC in sacks (9) and third in tackles for loss (14.5). He ended his career ranked second at ASU and fourth in the Sun Belt Conference for career sacks (21.5). Senior quarterback Corey Leonard finished his career ranked fi rst in ASU and third in SBC history in total off ense (8,887yards). Senior running back Reggie Arnold ended his career ranked second in ASU and third in SBC history for career rushing yards (3,933). Senior kicker Josh Arauco ended his season as the ASU and SBC all-time leader in field goals made (58) and points by kicking (288).
ASU will return its leaders in tackles (81, Demario Davis - Soph. LB), interceptions (4, Kelcie McCray – Soph. S) and punting (53 att. for a 42.3 yard avg., Ryan Wilbourn – Soph.), as well as its second-leading passer (889 yards and 3 TD’s, Ryan Aplin, Fr.-R QB), rusher (253 yards and 4 TD’s, Aplin). The Red Wolves will also return nine off ensive linemen that started at least one game and players that started at least one game at tight end, wide receiver, fullback and running back. Defensively, ASU will return nine players that started at least one game.
FIU closed out its 2009 season with a 28-21 loss to Florida Atlantic in Shula Bowl VIII. The Panthers scored with 59 seconds to go in the game to get within one score of the Owls, but FIU wasn’t able to recover the ensuing onside kick as FAU held on for the win.
Playing their last game as FIU Panthers, three seniors had outstanding games. Quarterback Paul McCall had one of his most efficient games of the year, connecting on 20 of his 32 attempts for 240 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball seven times for 47 yards. Running back Daunte Owens went out with a bang, running for 97 yards and two scores. However the most memorable moment of the night came when linebacker Scott Bryant sacked FAU’s Jeff Van Camp. The sack was Bryant’s 300th career tackle, putting him
atop the career tackles list at FIU. Bryant finished the game with six stops, giving him 101 for the year and 302 for his illustrious FIU career.
FIU also got a glimpse into things to come as freshman wideout Wayne Times scored the first touchdown of
The Panthers finished the year 3-9. However, all three wins came against conference opponents.
Chris Masson posted nine games of 200+ yards of total offense, just one game shy of tying the school single-season record. Masson ranks ninth all-time in total offense (2,694). His 222 completions in 2009 rank as the third-best single-season total – just two shy of the school record. Masson posted 2,406 yards passing, the fourth best single-season output. He ranks eight all-time in passing (2,478).
Brad McGuire and Ladarius Green combined for the third longest passing play in school history with a 91-yard TD strike vs. Troy. Green (119) and Luke Aubrey (130) became the eighth Cajuns teammates to each have 100 yards receiving in the same game – last done in 2003.
Andrew Joseph had a 33-yard blocked punt return – the second longest such play in school history. Antwyne Zanders finished his career with 308 total tackles, the third most by a linebacker in school history. His 27.5 tackles-for-loss were just shy of the career top 5.
Dwight Bentley’s 70-yard INT return vs. North Texas was the sixth longest in Cajuns record book. Spencer Ortego finished the season with a 40.6 punting average, the best by a Cajuns punter since 1998 and the fifth best single-season average in the last 50 years, dating back to 1960.
Cajun Field not only set a single-game attendance mark with 41,357 vs. Southern, but also saw 111,998 for the season – the most since 1988.
The Warhawks finish Sun Belt play with a 5-3 record. It is the fourth time ULM has posted a winning record in Sun Belt play since joining the conference in 2001.
Greg James’ first quarter interception was returned 78 yards, making it the fifth-longest interception return in ULM history and the longest non-scoring interception in school history. James’ interception was the 17th of his career, extending his ULM and Sun Belt records. It was his fourth interception of the season.
ULM registered two interceptions against Middle Tennessee, giving the Warhawks five games with two-ormore interceptions this season. ULM’s season-high of three came at North Texas on Nov. 7.
Radi Jabour recorded seven points against the Blue Raiders, giving him 71 for the season, the fourth-best single-season mark among ULM kickers and the ninth-best scoring season overall.
Darrell McNeal recorded one catch in the contest, giving McNeal at least one reception in 34 consecutive games. McNeal’s streak is the 13th-longest active in the country.
Frank Goodin had 40 rushing yards in the contest, giving him 1,126 rushing yards for the season, moving past Roosevelt Potts (1,103 yards, 1991) into fi fth on ULM’s single-season rushing yards list.
Luther Ambrose finished the contest with seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns, all three are career-highs.
With eight tackles against Middle Tennessee, Cardia Jackson increased his Sun Belt record for career tackles to 381. Jackson is currently fifth on ULM’s career tackle list, two behind Chris Harris (2001-04).
With the win over Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee ran its record to 9-3 on the season and reached the 9-win total for the first time in the FBS era (since 1999). The last time Middle Tennessee won nine regular season games was in 1992 when the Blue Raiders fi nished 10-3.
Middle Tennessee has now won an FBS era record six games in a row to break the previous mark of five in a
row set by the 2001 team. The six straight wins are the most by the Blue Raiders since they won six consecutive
games in 1990.
Dwight Dasher registered two touchdown passes against ULM to run his season total to 21. The 21 touchdown passes equals the most in a single-season at MT with Mickey Corwin who set the school mark in 1984. Dasher now owns 32 career touchdown passes to rank sixth all-time at MT. Dasher rushed for 88 yards against ULM to set a new career rushing record for quarterbacks at Middle Tennessee.
Dasher now has 1,676 career rushing yards and broke the previous mark of 1,652 yards by Marvin Collier
from 1985 to 1988.
With four sacks today against ULM, Middle Tennessee set a new single-season quarterback sacks record. Alex Suber’s sack in the third quarter broke the record. The Blue Raiders broke the previous mark of 36 set by the 2006 team. MT now has 38 sacks for the season.
Junior Jeremy Kellem scored his second touchdown of the season when he returned an interception in the
fourth quarter 58 yards.
It marked Kellem’s third interception of the season and the eighth of his career with two of them being returned for TDs. In 36 career games played, Kellem has been responsible for 23 turnovers (eight interceptions, four fumble recoveries, seven forced fumbles, four blocked punts).
North Texas allowed an Arkansas State touchdown on the Red Wolves first off ensive possession. Six of North Texas’ 12 opponents this season scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game.
North Texas starting quarterback Riley Dodge was knocked out of the game in the first quarter when he hurt his arm trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception.
The Mean Green defense allowed touchdowns on four of Arkansas State’s first five possessions. All four of those possessions came in less than three minutes of game time.
North Texas did not convert a third down in its first six tries.
Sophomore safety John Shorter made his fi rst interception of the season and the second of his career late in the second quarter which set up the Mean Green’s first touchdown of the game.
Sophomore running back Lance Dunbar rushed for a 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter, giving him 17 rushing touchdowns and 19 total touchdowns this season.
The 43 yards of offense by North Texas in the first half was the fewest yards the Mean Green has gained in a half this season.
North Texas allowed 286 yards of off ense in the first half which was more than it allowed in games this year
against Ohio and Florida International.
Freshman running back Shawn Southward continued his remarkable rookie season with a career-high 152 rushing yards against ULL on just 15 carries. He also ran for two touchdowns, giving him 10 rushing scores this season, which ranks as the fifth most in the nation among all freshmen backs.
Troy improved to 42-24 under Larry Blakeney in November games and 60-1 all-time under Blakeney when
scoring at least 35 points.
Troy has now scored at least 40 points in six straight Sun Belt Conference games. The Trojans averaged 41.25
points per game in eight league victories this year.
Troy improved to 26-3 vs. Sun Belt Conference foes over the last four seasons. The Trojans’ .896 winning percentage in league games going back to 2006 ranks as the fourth best in the nation over that time, trailing only Boise State (30-1), BYU (29-3) and Ohio State (30-3).
Troy teams under Larry Blakeney improved to 30-10 all-time when the team has a player pass for at least 250 yards in a game. Senior Levi Brown hit that milestone for the 15th time in his 20 career starts and is 11-4 when he passes for at least 250 yards in a game.
The Trojans had four scoring drives against ULL that took less than two minutes off the game clock to complete. The drives (three for touchdowns and one for a field goal) give Troy 30 such scoring drives this year, which is fourth in the nation. The group included the quickest scoring drive of the year, a four second drive that covered three yards for the Trojans’ opening touchdown.
The Hilltoppers dropped a heartbreaker to Arkansas State Thursday night 24-20. WKU led 20-3 with under a minute remaining in the third quarter of play. The loss ended WKU’s first season as a full-fledged member of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Jake Gaebler finished with four catches for 66 yards in his fi nal game as a Hilltopper. He finished his recordbreaking career with a school-record 168 catches and ended fifth in career reception yards with 1,924. Bobby Rainey rushed for a game-high 70 yards against the Red Wolves, finishing the year just 61 yards shy of 1,000 for the season.
Thomas Majors finished his first season at WKU with a team-high 101 tackles. He became the first Topper to reach 100 tackles since Andre Lewis finished with 103 in 2007.
WKU loses just 13 seniors from the 2009 squad, meaning a majority of experienced players should make up the nucleus of new head coach Willie Taggart’s first Hilltopper squad in 2010.