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Numbers Never Lie: The final 24

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Updated: 11/24/2013 1:41 pm

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The final weekend of the FCS regular season has come and gone, and now the playoff field of 24 has been set.

In honor of yet another postseason beginning just next weekend, here's a special edition Numbers Never Lie, specifically designed for the playoff contenders. Without further ado, here is the playoff field of 24 with stats that stand out either from the season or a single game:

20. Top-seeded North Dakota State has won 20 straight games dating back to last season, including last year's playoff run and national championship victory. The last time the Bison lost a game was on Oct. 13, 2012, to Missouri Valley Football Conference foe Indiana State.

48. Eastern Illinois senior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown 48 touchdown passes this season for the Panthers, who own the nation's best scoring offense. Garoppolo passed for six touchdowns in his team's season finale against UT Martin. The Panthers scored a season-high 70 points in the contest. Garoppolo has rushed for two touchdowns and has a scoring reception this season as well.

12. Eastern Washington freshman receiver Cooper Kupp has caught a touchdown pass in an FCS-record 12 consecutive games. Kupp broke the previous record of 11 games with two touchdown catches Saturday against Portland State. He tied three receivers last weekend at 11 straight games with a touchdown reception - Randy Moss (1996), Ramses Barden (2008) and Brandon Kaufman (2010) - but Kupp now owns the FCS record himself.

14. Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Bryan Bennett has set the Southland Conference record with 14 rushing touchdowns in a season. The Oregon transfer added to his previous total of 13 with a rushing score Thursday night against Nicholls.

30. Towson junior running back Terrance West has rushed for an FCS-high 30 touchdowns this season. West has 31 total touchdowns this year for the Tigers, who are 10-2. He caught a touchdown pass against Richmond in Week 9.

2. McNeese State wide receiver Diontae Spencer had two touchdowns in Saturday's season-ending win over Lamar - one receiving score and one rushing. Spencer also has three special teams touchdowns this season, two kickoff returns and one punt return, which came in one game. Spencer is an all-purpose machine for the Cowboys.

7. Montana's defense has held opponents to fewer than 20 points in seven contests this season. The Grizzlies finished the regular season with a 10-2 record, capped by a win over Big Sky and intrastate rival Montana State in which they held the Bobcats to 14 points.

133. Maine finished the regular season 7-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play, outscoring conference opponents by 133 points. That includes the 21 points the Black Bears lost by in a 24-3 season-ending loss to New Hampshire. Maine won the CAA outright title and the conference's auto bid.

475. Bethune-Cookman's run-heavy offense topped out this season with a single- game high of 475 rushing yards against Hampton in Week 12. The Wildcats' 475 rushing yards represent the third-highest single-game total in the FCS this season.

22. Northeast Conference champion Sacred Heart has a defense built on taking the ball away from opponents. The Pioneers' defense has recorded 22 interceptions this season, which lead the nation.

50. Lafayette notched a season high in points at the right time, scoring 50 against Lehigh in a win-or-go-home season finale on Saturday. Freshman quarterback Drew Reed passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns in the Leopards' win.

326. Furman quarterback Reese Hannon threw for 326 yards in the Paladins' season-ending win over Wofford. The win eventually sealed a playoff spot and the Southern Conference title for Furman.

42.6. Coastal Carolina's explosive offense, led by senior running back Lorenzo Taliaferro, has averaged 42.6 points per game this season. The Chanticleers have scored 50 or more points six times this season - half of their games. That's also weighted down by the 10 points the Chants scored in a season-ending loss to South Carolina Saturday.

15. Butler, the team with the Pioneer Football League's first automatic bid to the playoffs, tied for second in the nation in 2013 with 15 fumble recoveries. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record and were eighth in the country in red zone defense.

4. Fordham junior quarterback Michael Nebrich had four games in the 2013 season in which he passed for at least four touchdowns. Nebrich, the Walter Payton Award candidate, capped the regular season with a five-touchdown effort against Colgate Saturday.

1,695. South Dakota State junior running back Zach Zenner ended his productive regular season with 1,695 rushing yards, which rank second in the country behind Towson back Terrance West's total. The Jackrabbits ended the season on a four-game win streak in Missouri Valley Conference play.

8. The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks defense has notched eight defensive touchdowns this season, including the final score of their regular season - a 52-yard interception return for a score that sealed the win against Southern Utah. In two games this season, the Lumberjacks defense scored multiple defensive touchdowns.

7. New Hampshire finished the season on a high note by defeating previously No. 4-ranked Maine. On the season, seven New Hampshire players averaged double-digit rushing yards per game, including two quarterbacks, and multiple receivers and running backs.

16.8. The Tennessee State defense has been among the nation's best in a 9-3 season. The Tigers have allowed an average of 16.8 points per game to opponents this season.

92. Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin hooked up with receiver Chris Cephus for a 92-yard touchdown pass in a win over Chattanooga on Nov. 16. The 92-yard play served as the second-longest passing play this season, and the second- longest receiving play from scrimmage. The Bulldogs ended the regular season 8-4 overall, including 6-2 in the Southern Conference.

19. Jacksonville State running back DaMarcus James rushed for 19 touchdowns in the final eight games of the season. He finished the regular season with 22 rushing scores overall, while the Gamecocks ended the 2013 campaign with a 9-3 record.

255.67. Sam Houston State as a team averaged 255.67 rushing yards per game in the 2013 season. Senior Timothy Flanders has headed the Bearkats' ground attack, with quarterback Brian Bell and receiver Richard Sincere also contributing heavily to the run game.

4. South Carolina State finished the regular season with nine wins and an at- large playoff bid from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs improved by four wins from their 2012 season. Two of South Carolina State's three losses came in the first two weeks of the season - to Coastal Carolina and FBS Clemson.

2. The Thunderbirds gained an at-large bid to the postseason Sunday and became the fourth Big Sky squad in the 24-team field. Southern Utah is tied for first in the nation with Arkansas-Pine Bluff as the teams that have lost the fewest number of fumbles this season. The Thunderbirds have only lost two fumbles in 12 games played, while UAPB lost two in 11 games this season.

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Brent Martineau
Brent is the Sports Director at FOX30/CBS47. He's been with Action News since March of 2008.
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