The game's first quarter went without sophomore wide receiver Sam Shields who sat out due to disciplinary reasons. It is an issue that has been consistent in Shields all season, but it is an issue Shields has owned up to and now wants to put it in the past.
Shields entered the game in the second quarter and ended the game with five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. An effort that he says was inspired by sitting on the bench.
"When watching, it motivated me a lot, just sitting out the first quarter and watching the team. "
It is the second suspension Shields has faced this season. The first came in the team's opener versus Marshall for an unspecified violation of team rules. He was suspended for the whole game.
"The things that have happened, I have had to take the consequences for it and I had to cheer up and notice what I was doing wrong and correct it," Shields said when talking with the media Tuesday.
The issues surrounding Shields this season has been "embarrassing for me and my family," Shields would say. "It has embarrassed my coaches. I don't think about it now, I just need to do things right."
This season, Shields has needed more guidance than ever in the classroom. It is an aspect of his campus life that has affected his play on the practice field.
The coaching staff had him sit down with his academic advisors to help him manage his time better as a student-athlete.
"It has been minor things, like getting in touch with my student advisor about my hours and little stuff like that."
Following this experience, Shields now realizes how serious this coaching staff is about grades and academic progress.
"Coach Shannon calls me and asks me how is school," Shields says. "He is very strict about that. It has been a big part of the academic situation on this team."
Since his first suspension, the heat has been on Shields to get his grades in order and play, because the team has needed him.
"Pressure is coming from everybody. Family, academic advisors, fans."
The true question is right now, if this is behind him.
"Yeah, it is definitely behind me now."