Week 13 SBC Football Team News & Notes
Week 13 Sun Belt Conference Team News & Notes
Florida Atlantic Owls
Florida Atlantic University put together a solid performance to defeat Western Kentucky University improving FAU’s record to 2-0 versus the Hilltoppers and to build a 2-0 home win streak heading into the off season. Jeff Van Camp led the offense with 266 passing yards and a total of 427 yards of offense. The Owls continued to enjoy a strong running game with sophomore Alfred Morris tallying 122 yards, his fifth 100+ yard performance of the 2009 season. Junior Lester Jean led the receivers with 99 yards on four catches, two ending with a touchdown. Defensively, sophomore Marcus Bartels tallied a game high 13 tackles. Erick McIntosh added 10 in his third start of the season, second consecutive. Brentley Harstad grabbed his first career interception and returned it 15 yards and FAU took advantage of two other fumble recoveries in the win.
FAU will next travel to FIU for the eighth annual Shula Bowl. The game is scheduled to be played at FIU’s new stadium with the last meeting between the two teams hosted by FIU being played at the Orange Bowl. The game continues to build intensity with FAU taking the 2008 meeting 57-50 and needing extra time for the victor to be decided. The 7 p.m. game will be carried by CSS in the Boca Raton area.
Arkansas State Red Wolves
ASU extended its longest winning streak against a Sun Belt Conference opponent to five games with the victory over North Texas . Dating back to the 2007 season, ASU has now won its last six games against teams from the state of Texas .
ASU finished the home season with a winning home record for the seventh time under eighth-year head coach Steve Roberts. With its victory over North Texas , ASU improved to 29-10 all-time at ASU Stadium under Roberts. ASU is now 14-4 in conference home games since the 2005 season.
ASU’s 27 first-half points were its most against an FBS opponent since its sixth game of the 2008 season (Oct. 11, 2008 vs. ULM ). Reggie Arnold posted his 17th career 100-yard rushing game, which is the second most in school history. Arnold recorded his team-leading 12th rushing TD of the season, which was also the 33rd of his career that ties the second most in school history. Arnold ’s 12 rushing touchdowns ties the sixth most for a season. Arnold finished the game with 111 yards, leaving him just 62 shy of breaking the school record for career rushing yards.
Ryan Aplin recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game (122 yards) and also posted a career-high two rushing touchdowns. Aplin threw for a career-high 240 yards. He posted a career-high 362 yards of total offense, which is the fifth most in school history for a single game and the most ever by an ASU freshman.
Two ASU players (Arnold and Aplin) rushed for 100 yards in the same game ( North Texas ) for the second time this season. The other game was against Florida International when Corey Leonard and Arnold both went over 100.
FIU Golden Panthers
FIU went into Florida Field with an upset on their mind, but the top-ranked Florida Gators scored early and often to leave no doubt and beat the Panthers 62-3, Saturday afternoon in Gainesville .
For the Panthers, T.Y. Hilton looked to be back to his old self as he led all FIU receivers with four catches and 75 yards. He also returned four kicks for 92 yards giving him 167 all-purpose yards, the most he has had since racking up 224 against ULM on October 3. On defense, underclassmen led the way as freshmen Jonathan Cyprien and Markieth Russell had nine and seven tackles, respectively while sophomore Aaron Davis had eight stops.
Scott Bryant ’s fourth quarter tackle was his fifth of the game and 295th of his FIU career, which tied him with John Harritan for second on FIU’s all-time list. He then passed him with his sixth tackle of the game. He finished the contest with six stops, giving him 296 for his career. Keyonvis Bouie is the all-time leader with 299.
The 62 points is the second most ever given up by FIU and the 59-point loss matches the worst defeat in FIU history (59-0 at Penn State - 9/1/07).
FIU will enjoy a bye week before hosting Florida Atlantic on December 5 at 7 p.m. for the 2009 Shula Bowl. Last year the Owls beat the Panthers 57-50 in overtime.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
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-or-more 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 fifth 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).
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
With the win today 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 finished 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 Mean Green
North Texas allowed an Arkansas State touchdown on the Red Wolves first offensive 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 first 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 offense in the first half which was more than it allowed in games this year against Ohio and Florida International.
Junior linebacker Craig Robertson recorded his first interception of the season when he picked off an Arkansas State pass early in the third quarter to thwart a Red Wolves scoring drive.
Senior wide receiver Kevin Dickerson recorded the second touchdown of his career when he picked up a Lance Dunbar fumble and took it 25 yards for a score.
North Texas allowed its third blocked field goal attempt of the year.
Lance Dunbar recorded his eighth 100-yard rushing game of the year and finished with 1,378 yards - the fourth-best single-season rushing performance in North Texas history.
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.
WKU announced the hiring of former Hilltopper All-American quarterback Willie Taggart as its new head coach last Monday. Taggart set 11 school records during his time under center for WKU from 1995-98. He then served as an assistant coach on the Hill from 1999-2006 before spending the last three seasons as the running backs coach at Stanford.
Casey Tinius went a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts Saturday at Florida Atlantic, hitting all three tries in the second half. That included a career-long 47 yard kick in the fourth quarter. It also tied a career-long attempts, as Tinius has missed a pair of 47-yard tries earlier in the season against Troy .
Seth Tamme caught his first career touchdown pass last week against Florida Atlantic. That scoring grab came on a throw from fellow wide receiver Derrius Brooks.
Bobby Rainey rushed for a career-high 144 yards against the Owls on Saturday. That came on the heels of a 134-yard performance in the previous outing at Louisiana-Monroe. Rainey enters Thursday’s season finale against Arkansas State needing 131 yards for a 1,000-yard season.
Sun Belt Conference Upcoming Games
Arkansas State at WKU (Sun Belt Network) - 7 p.m.
Florida Atlantic at FIU (Sun Belt Network) - 7 p.m.