1. By The Numbers
This game marks the debut of the 2014 version of Central Methodist so things could change, but statistics from 2013 show the Eagles were a better offensive team than a defensive one when they last played. In the 10-team Heartland of America Athletic Conference last season, CMU ranked eighth in scoring (25.8), but fourth in yards (413), second in rushing (227), sixth in passing (185) and second in sacks allowed (1.3). On defense, the Eagles ranked last in scoring (40.6), ninth in yards (429), ninth in rushing (237), fifth in passing (191) and last in sacks (0.7). They were ninth in turnover margin, averaging minus-1.7.
2. Behind The Numbers
One of Southern’s goals this season is to be better against the run. Though the statistics in the 45-6 loss at Louisiana-Lafayette last week weren’t impressive — 248 yards, a 6.0 average and two touchdowns — the performance wasn’t a bad start overall. First of all, the Ragin’ Cajuns lean heavily on their running game, because they have two preseason All-Sun Belt Conference backs in Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire. Secondly, the average was boosted by 85 yards on 10 carries in the fourth quarter after the Jaguars started to wear down in part because only five defensive linemen were available.
3. Not That Central
Though Central Methodist is located in the center of the United States (Fayette, Mo.), its football program seems to have a pretty wide reach in recruiting. Most of the players are from Missouri and reasonably close states such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee, but CMU has players from a total of 13 states. The furthest reaches of the Eagles’ recruiting lured players from New Jersey, Arizona, California, Alaska and Hawaii.
4. New Stuff for 2014
Fans attending Saturday’s home opener will notice some changes for 2014. First is a new traffic flow that provides separate entrances for reserved and general admission ticket holders to streamline entrance and departure from the parking lots. Details of the new pattern can be found at www.gojagsports.com. Once inside A.W. Mumford Stadium, fans will notice a larger scoreboard. It’s the first phase of a renovation that will include a new HD replay board that is scheduled for completion in October.