The Web site has been updated, so the guesses in the post below can be answered now. That last game could be a doozy! We get all of the scary SLC teams at home. If the schedule switches to the opposite in 2014, that means we’d get all those same teams on the road.
|Thu, Aug. 29||Incarnate Word|
|Sat, Sep 07||at Colorado|
|Sat, Sep 14||at UT Martin|
|Sat, Sep 21||at Missouri St|
|Sat, Sep 28||McNeese St|
|Sat, Oct 05||OPEN??|
|Sat, Oct 12||OPEN??|
|Sat, Oct 19||at Lamar|
|Sat, Oct 26||Stephen F Austin|
|Sat, Nov 02||at Northwestern State|
|Sat, Nov 09||Southeastern La|
|Sat, Nov 16||at Nicholls St|
|Sat, Nov 23||Sam Houston St|
|Sat, Nov 30||FCS Playoffs|
See you guys in Conway in 260 days.
Taken from DMc’s 12/3 story.
In a century of football, UCA has had 17 seasons of nine wins or more, five under Conque.
UCA returns 15 to 16 starters and 40-plus lettermen next season. Supplementing that will be 13 scholarship athletes, who were redshirted, from what Conque terms an outstanding freshmen class.
NEXT YEAR’S SCHEDULE: The Bears will open on a Thursday night against Incarnate Word, a new Southland Conference member, but ineligible for a title. The McNeese State game has been moved to Sept. 28. The Bears will have road games at the University of Colorado, Missouri State and UT Martin. The open date will be at the middle of the season — either Oct. 5th or 12th.
So, from digging around, it looks like the SLC schools know all of their conference schedule. SFA has their entire 2013 schedule posted.
Unfortunately, it’s the only one available to help fill in the blanks. BearCountry points out in the comments that Northwestern State also has posted their 2013 schedule now and that the Sam Houston fans have correctly noted that they will be heading back to Conway in 2013.
Thu, Aug. 29 Incarnate Word
Sat, Sep 07 at Colorado
Sat, Sep 14 at UT Martin
Sat, Sep 28 McNeese St
Sat, Oct 05 OPEN??
Sat, Oct 12 OPEN??
Sat, Oct 26 Stephen F Austin
Sat, Nov 2 at Northwestern State
Other games expected: Sam Houston, at Nicholls, at Lamar, Southeastern Louisiana, at Missouri State.
45 home games. 6 road games. 1 game still TBD. The good news is the two out-of-conference FCS games are as close or closer than the conference road games. So, get ready for two easy road trips.
It ended earlier than we’d hoped, but this season was another step forward for our relatively young FCS program. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of some very important seniors (even those who were injured before/during the season): Jesse Grandy, Jackie Hinton, Desmond Wilcox, Seth Allison, Terence Bobo, Anthony Blackmon, Rojae Jackson, Kevin Buford, Brett Soft, Jeremy Jester, Arturo Hernandez, Corey Howard, Larry Duvall, Dominique Croom, Devin Hawkins, and Justin Williams.
Four years ago we finished with an unreal 10-2 season led by Nathan Brown (Bobo was actually playing as a true freshman in 2008). Of course we were not eligible for the playoffs that year, but the third season of FCS football has to be considered another major building block for where we are today.
Many of today’s seniors started making their impacts in 2009 – a somewhat disappointing 5-7 season. The next year they went 7-4, possibly a win away from the school’s first-ever FCS playoff game. A year later, it was a lot of these same players were the ones who got us over the hump and into the playoffs for the first time.
With that group of players, our program had been arguably been building for this year. We just had one major question mark, and Wynrick more than answered that early in the season. But it’s hard to imagine this team being successful without the key contributions from the seniors. Back-to-back trips to the second round of the FCS playoffs.
We are so new at this that we may not realize how impressive that is. Sam Houston has been in this league 25 years, and this is their first time to go two years in a row. Stephen F has only done it once. Texas State never did it. Southeastern La has never been to the playoffs at all. It’s not easy to do. And these guys did it.
While the future is certainly bright – a young but experienced offensive line, an even more experienced secondary, and of course the quarterback mentioned above – we owe a lot of our progress and success to the 16 names at the top.
Those guys accounted for over half of our rushing yards this season, included in that I should mention the (first-year) starting center and SLC offensive lineman of the year. The only guy to punt the ball in the last two years. Almost a quarter of the team’s tackles and tackles for loss were from seniors. And 12-of-30 sacks. But that’s just the beginning. It starts to get scary how important these guys were when you look at these 2012 numbers:
- All but one punt return
- 94% of kickoff return yardage
- 57% of the touchdowns
- And 70% of the receptions and the receiving yards
The players (especially the receivers) of 2013 and beyond have some huge shoes to fill. I obviously can’t quantify everything with statistics on a sheet of paper – even if those statistics do a lot of the work for you. But it’s pretty clear that this program has already come a long way in just a little time. And those 16 are a big reason why.
I just wish we had one more home game to thank them again for what they’ve done.
- The Eagles lead the conference in kickoff return average with 25.3.
- And they only average 7.1 yards per punt return. <antijinx>They have no special teams touchdowns.</antijinx>
- The kicker – as GSU fans have pointed out in the forum – is their kicker. While 45-for-48 isn’t a terrible number (94%), the 7-for-17 (41%) on field goals is just that. Even the “easy” ones haven’t been easy for Alex Hanks (Fr.) who is 4-for-8 inside 30 yards. Both Hanks and Ryan Nowicki (RFr.) have struggled in their first seasons.
- Missed field goals were the difference in their losses to The Citadel (0-for-2) and App State (0-for-3). GSU has had four field goals blocked.
- Luke Cherry has been the punter (37 per) and kickoff specialist (8 touchbacks).
- Turnover Margin // GSU is -4. UCA is +6.
- The Eagles have fumbled 16 times on the year. Considering they run it so often, that’s probably not a lot compared to the Bears 10 fumbles.
- Red Zone Offense // GSU has 30 TD in 46 trips. UCA is allowing 23 touchdowns in 39 trips.
- Red Zone Defense // GSU has allowed teams to score a SoCon worst 86.1% of the time. UCA has scored 87.5% of their opportunities and has 29 TD in 40 trips.
- Time of Possession // GSU is averaging about what you’d expect at 32:50. Which might sound like a lot (and it kinda is), but Sam Houston is actually averaging 33:53!
- 3rd-Down Conversions // GSU is converting on 44.4%. UCA is allowing just 31.6%.
- Opponents 3rd Down Conversions // GSU is holding teams to 38.3%. UCA is converting at 42.4%.
- 4th-Down Conversions // Surprisingly (to me at least), GSU has only attempted 16 fourth downs and has been successful on 62.5%. UCA is an amazing 15-of-17 (88.2%).
- Penalties // GSU has been penalized 64 times for 55.4 ypg. UCA is at 80 for 66.1.
- John Stevenson (Sr./5-11/202) seems to be their version of Seth Allison. An undersized outside linebacker that just makes tackles. (Seth’s numbers are down from 2011, but that might have as much to do with Justin Heard’s increased role as anything.) The difference is that Stevenson was sparsely used before this season where he leads the team with 94 tackles.
- Two more seniors are right behind Stevenson. Safeties JJ Wilcox (6-0/215) and Darius Eubanks (6-2/220) have 72 and 57 tackles and one interception each. Those are some pretty big FCS safeties.
- Their big man in the middle of the line is NFL-prospect Brent Russell (Sr./6-2/300). Russell has 35 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks. He’s also back from a suspension.
- From what seems to be the UCA defensive end recruiting book, two small (presumable) quick guys are leading the team in sacks. Javon Mention (6-2/243) has 6.5, and Dion DuBose (6-1/235) has 3.5.
- In a conference that has three teams averaging 300+ per game on the ground and only two with 210+ through the air, it makes sense that the Eagles only have seven interceptions on the season. But it’s those two teams that should give Bear fans some hope offensively.
- Elon averaged 296/game. GSU kicked the game-winning field goal with 3:40 left in that one. They gave up 302 yards passing and a total of 359. Two of those seven interceptions came in this one. Elon finished just 1-7 in the SoCon this season.
- Appalachian State visited Statesboro earlier this month and left with a 31-28 win. It was an offensive battle in the first half as the teams combined for 44 points. The defenses took over in the second half and both teams were held to a touchdown each. App threw for 383 yards and ran for another 70. I’m not trying to compare us to the Mountaineers exactly, but statistically we’re a bit similar. Both teams are about 52:48 pass:run. App has been a bit more effective at both in the averages.
- Point is, we may be able to put up some yards through the air. The receiver position is one I would put up against most teams in the country. And this might be a defense that those guys can take advantage of. The Eagles ranked 7th (of 9) in the SoCon for pass defense.
- They have totaled 26 sacks on the season. For comparison purposes, we’re second in the SLC with 30.
- A number that I’m always thrown off by when comparing with the Bears is tackles for loss. GSU has 54. UCA has 84. I don’t have to explain how important any tackles for loss would be for our own defense against a team that’s trying to pound it down the field.
We know they run the triple option, are the #1 rushing offense in the country (4,314 yards/392 ypg), and apparently have quite the reputation for cut blocks. Here’s what else you need to know about GSU:
- Quarterback Jerick McKinnon (5-9/208) is a little beast. The junior does everything: quarterback, receiver, kick returner, slotback and defensive back. His stats this season fill in pretty much every category, and he leads the team in rushing and passing. (note: the NCAA stats I found differ from the SoCon stats, so…)
175 carries for 1234 yards and 13 tds (by comparison, the Bears have rushed as a team for 1459 yards and 16 TDs on 405 carries)
15-for-30 for 412 yards and 5 tds, just 2 ints
6 receptions for 127 yards and 1 td
2 interceptions for 41 yards, 2 pass breakups, 2 qb hurries
143 yards per game total offense
- Dominique Swope (So./5-11/221) is option number two out of the backfield. The fullback just edges out McKinnon with 14 touchdowns.
- When McKinnon isn’t playing QB is looks like Ezayi Youyoute (So./5-11/188) is the guy that is most of the time. Youyoute had thrown it 29 times himself this season and run for 467 yards on 73 carries.
- Those three guys average 6.6/6.1/6.4 yards per carry. And none of them is even close to Jonathan Bryant’s (Jr./5-9/175) 9.2 ypc. And I’m not done, they have two more guys with 392+ yards on the season.
- As you might expect, the few receptions that receivers have a huge plays. No one receiver stands out much more than the others.