SoCon Weekend Recap
By David England
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The conference race is starting to heat up in the SoCon.
It was another exciting week of football in the Southern Conference, as there were nothing but conference games on the docket this week.
No need to waste time; let's get straight to it.
#9 Georgia Southern 45, Western Carolina 13
The Georgia Southern Eagles came out on Saturday and made a statement with a dominating 45-13 win over conference foe Western Carolina. With the win, Georgia Southern improves to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Their sole conference loss came on the road against The Citadel. The Eagles had over 600 yards rushing en route to their victory, and limited Western Carolina to just over 200 yards of total offense. The Eagles were led by Darreion Robinson, who accumulated 124 yards and scored once.
The key play came early in the second quarter, as Kentrellis Showers scored on a 20-yard pass from Jerick McKinnon that gave Georgia Southern a 21-6 lead. At that point, Georgia Southern ran away with the game, allowing only one touchdown the rest of the game. The rushing defense for Georgia Southern continues to impress, as they allowed only 3.5 rushing yards per carry. A performance of this magnitude could change the momentum of the SoCon season.
The Eagles defense was led by Darius Eubanks, who led the team in tackles with seven. With the win, the Eagles are now third in the SoCon standings and are two games back of undefeated Wofford.
Samford 38, #22 The Citadel 7
In what most would pin as the SoCon game of the week, the Bulldogs from Alabama showed just why they only have one loss on the year. Samford had over 550 yards of total offense en route to a 38-7 win over The Citadel. Samford improved to 5-1 for the first time since 1992. The win was also the first time Samford has defeated a ranked FCS team since 1994. Another solid performance from quarterback Andy Summerlin has his SoCon Player of the Year campaign in full force. Summerlin had over 300 yards and one touchdown on the afternoon.
It was a balanced performance for Samford, with 249 yards rushing and 320 yards passing. The defense for Samford also continues to show why they are tops in the SoCon, allowing just under 90 yards passing. The play of the game came early in the third quarter, as Samford scored on an 82-yard pass that gave the Bulldogs a two touchdown lead. With the loss, The Citadel falls to 3-3 on the season, and must bounce back next week to have a hope for the SoCon title.
#15 Appalachian State 35, Elon 23
Appalachian State came into their matchup with the Phoenix looking to get their fourth win of the year and stay in the SoCon championship hunt. The game was expected to be a total blowout victory for Appalachian State. It didn't happen as expected, and Appalachian only won the game by 12 points. In the win, though, App. State quarterback Jamal Jackson won SoCon Offensive Player of the Week. The performance for Jackson was his best of the 2012 campaign, as he accounted for all five touchdowns for the Mountaineers, and had 304 yards passing. He also had the 16th-highest single game total of offense in school history.
With the win, App. State improves to 4-2 on the year. The win also was the 17th straight for App over Elon. Demetrius McCray's third quarter interception, which changed the momentum of the game, was his ninth interception in his career, tied for eighth-best among active FCS players. While App. State did not completely impress in the win, they are firmly in the hunt for an FCS playoff berth.
#5 Wofford 20, Furman 17
The Wofford Terriers went into Gibbs Stadium and had a battle on their hands that most did not see coming. Wofford has been the one constant of the 2012 SoCon season, and has proven to be the best in the SoCon. But, Furman came to play and gave Wofford a real scare and almost ended their undefeated season. The Paladins limited Eric Breitenstein to just 158 yards on the ground on 21 carries, while also holding Wofford to 304 rushing yards.
The Paladins got out to a quick start and carried it into the half with a 14-7 lead over the Terriers. The key play that led Wofford to a three-point victory came with 6:49 left in the third quarter, as Brian Kass found Jeff Ashley for a 52-yard touchdown pass. After that, neither team scored again and the game ended with Wofford barely surviving against the Paladins.
With the hard fought victory, Wofford improves to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in conference play. Furman drops to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play.