Last week’s Southland scoreboard proved that which was already taken as a given — offense is running the roost in college football, especially in this conference.
The league’s eight teams combined for 326 points, an average of 81.5 per game.
Central Arkansas had the highest output with a 66-31 win over Stephen F. Austin.
“The nature of the beast has changed across the country,” said Northwestern State coach Jay Thomas. “Defensive coordinators have certainly earned their paycheck putting in long hours figuring out how to defend these offenses.”
Huge outbursts were part of the formula in just about every game.
UCA put 38 on the board in the third quarter alone. After going scoreless in the first quarter, Sam Houston State scored 37 in the next 30 minutes. Both Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese had 21-point quarters.
Lamar entered the SLU game as the Southland’s top defensive unit, but ended up surrendering 566 yards.
“With all the things people are doing, the days of shutting people out are tough to do,” said Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz.
No one knows that better than SFA coach J.C. Harper.
“You have to have guys that make plays defensively,” Harper said. “We do, we just don’t have that all the time. The hard thing about defense today is it’s constant. We go no-huddle to make it even harder on the defense.”
• MAGIC NUMBER: The scoreboard was vastly different, but UCA and SFA finished with an identical 681 yards of offense in their shootout.
• RANK CONFERENCE: With Southeastern Louisiana climbing into The Sporting Network Football Championship Subdivision Top 25 poll this week, half of the league’s teams are now ranked. McNeese leads the way at No. 4. Sam Houston slipped to No. 8 despite beating Northwestern State, and UCA is holding steady at No. 18.
The Colonial has a poll-leading five ranked teams, while the Big Sky is even with the Southland at four.
• PINEY WOODS IN THE CITY: The Battle of the Piney Woods will take place nowhere near a tree for the fourth consecutive season as Sam Houston and SFA again meet at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The series will remain there until at least 2017.
• SKY KICK TIME? Northwestern State has allowed kickoff returns for touchdowns in consecutive weeks. Sam Houston’s Keyshawn Hill did the damage this time, going 93 yards for a score. SLU’s Xavier Roberson returned a 92-yarder the previous week.