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D-III program turning things around

What a difference a year can make.

Last season, Whittier College (CA) finished 2-7 and ended the season ranked 102nd nationally in total offense, out of 239 D-III teams (according to the NCAA stats site).

Through their first six games of this season, the Poets have already eclipsed their win total from 2011 and sit at 3-3 with a high powered, and balanced offensive attack that ranks 7th nationally (521 ypg) while also ranking in the top 36 in rushing offense (36th - 217 ypg), passing offense (20th - 304 ypg), and scoring offense (30th - 37 ppg).

Back in February of 2011, Todd Stratton was hired as the assistant head coach / offensive coordinator, and was promoted to the interim head coaching role back in March of this year. Stratton has done an impressive job in that interim role, including a 41-27 win this past weekend over Claremont-McKenna, a program that they hadn't beaten in 8 years.

The signature win marked the first time that Whittier had won back to back games in six years and was the first time that the Poets finished with a .500 record in the month of October over that same time period.

Whittier hopes to continue their success and finish their season on a high note, as they face the last three teams on their schedule, who currently have a combined record of 9-9 (Cal Lutheran, Occidental, Redlands). One more win would give them the same amount of wins that they collected over the previous two seasons. 

In his first season, Coach Stratton has helped bring the program to heights that it hadn't seen in a number of years, and looks to have the Poets turning the corner.

 

Tuesday TV - Hudspeth and Malzahn on tonight

We've got some early week Fun Belt action on tap tonight with Arkansas State and Gus Malzahn facing off against Louisiana-Lafayette and Mark Hudspeth. College and NFL action will resume again on Thursday.

Eastern time listed.

NFL:

No games

College:

Arkansas State at Louisiana Lafayette - 8 - ESPN2

High School: 

No games

Derek Dooley denies he offered to resign

It's not a secret that there is a lot of pressure on Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley to close the 2012 season in impressive fashion. After a 44-13 loss to Alabama on Saturday, Tennessee is 3-4 overall and 0-4 in SEC play. Dooley is 14-18 (4-14 in the SEC) in two and a half seasons as the head coach of the Volunteers.

This morning a report surfaced that Dooley offered to resign following Tennessee's loss to Kentucky last season. According to the report, Dooley offered his resignation with the condition that Tennessee honor his $5 million buyout. From our staffs knowledge of Dooley, we were highly skeptical of this report.

Dooley vehemently denied the report at his Monday press conference. 

"That's absurd," Dooley said on Monday. "I'd be a real dumbass to do something like that."

"I'm not upset that people are angry and screaming at the coach," Dooley continued. "You haven't been in this business if you don't expect otherwise. That's the way it is."

Watch Dooley talk about this below. He even throws in a good story about his high school coach to boot. (Video courtesy Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Kevin Wilson: "We're a play away"

Indiana (2-5, 0-3 Big Ten) stands mired in a five-game losing streak. But things aren't always as they appear, and Kevin Wilson feels the same way about where his team stands. Four of Indiana's five losses have come by 10 points combined. Despite the setbacks, Kevin Wilson remains upbeat about his team's future.

"We're a play away," said Wilson. "Making a one more third-down conversion, making one more stop, getting a touchdown instead of a field goal. It's just making a play. A year ago we needed a bunch of plays." 

The streak started with a 41-39 loss to Ball State. Despite outgaining the Cardinals by more than 100 yards, the Hoosiers lost when Ball State kicker Steven Schott hit a 42-yard field goal as time expired. 

Two weeks later, Indiana built a 27-14 halftime lead over Michigan State before the Spartans scored 17 unanswered points for in a 31-27 final. A week later the Hoosiers' staged a late rally from a 45-27 fourth-quarter deficit before falling in a 52-49 decision. 

Indiana lost its fifth-straight game on Saturday, 31-30 to Navy. The Hoosiers built a 30-21 lead before Navy scored 10 straight points in the game's final 5:30. 

"We're trying to build our team up because we're doing a lot of things winning teams do," Wilson continued. "We're going to get those W's. It's a process of the way we're working and the way we live our lives, and success is going to follow."

Indiana visits Illinois on Saturday (12 p.m. ET, BTN). 

The Scoop on stats - Week 8

 Last week was one of the most exciting weekends of college football to date. Two point conversions to decide games, and plenty of games going down to the wire. With only a handful of weeks left to go, we hope to see plenty more Saturdays like that.

Here's some stats that caught our eye over the weekend. Let us know if there's anything you've seen that is worthy of being included.

- In case you missed our note earlier, a Kansas high school quarterback rushed for 659 yards in a single game, which tops the rushing total for 10 FBS teams through at least six games.

- USC ran only 48 offensive plays, and scored 50 points on Saturday. On the flip side, Colorado ran 85 plays and scored just 6 points.

- As Zach Barnett points out (via Anthony Andro), the Big 12 featured more touchdowns (48) than punts (47) over the weekend.

- Over the past four games, Texas has given up 197 points and over 2,300 yards. In comparison, over the past 19 games, Alabama has given up 151 points and 3,474 yards.

- Florida is the first team since 2000 to put up 40 points while producing less than 200 yards of total offense.

- Alabama's AJ McCarron and Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron are the only two starting quarterbacks to have not thrown an interception so far this season.

- Thomas More College defensive back Zach Autenrieb set the D-III career record for interceptions over the weekend, picking off his 30th pass.

- Texas A&M has scored first in 12 straight games.

- Louisiana Tech ranks in the top ten nationally in passing offense (#8) and rushing touchdowns (#2).

- Air Force has still not allowed a sack; however they have only attempted 74 passes.

- New Mexico (95), Air Force (74) and Army (72) are the only four teams in the nation yet to reach 100 pass attempts. 

- Florida State is allowing just over 23% on third down conversions (29 conversions on 125 attempts).

- Three teams are coming out of their red zone trips with touchdowns 80% of the time or more. Lousiana Tech (85%), Texas (83%) and Louisville (80%) are the three teams that are the most efficient at scoring touchdowns in the red zone

- For running a ton of plays and airing the ball out a ton, it's surprising that not one Big 12 team is in the top twelve in passes defended. Interestingly enough, two teams from the Big Ten (Ohio State, Michigan State), ACC (Florida State and North Carolina) and Pac 12 (Oregon, Stanford) are represented. Ohio State has defended the most passes in the country with 65, followed by Toledo, Utah State, Oregon, SMU, Louisiana Tech, Florida State, Michigan State, Stanford, Texas A&M, North Carolina and Nevada.

- Baylor has the highest fourth down conversion percentage of any team with 10 or more attempts. The Bears have converted on 10 of their 11 fourth down attempts (90.91%).

- Both SMU and Fresno State are taking one out of every three interceptions back to the house. Each team has 15 interceptions and 5 touchdowns, and SMU has done it with one less game.

- Only one team, Georgia Tech, has more than ten scrimmage plays of 50+ yards (11).

 

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