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SoCon Weekend Primer

By Southern Pigskin Staff
SouthernPigskin.com
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The SoCon race is heating up, as there are nothing but conference games on the slate this week.

Week Six. Who is ready for some football? No big introduction is needed this week. You know the drill by this point. Let’s get to it.

No. 22/19 The Citadel (3-2, 2-1 SoCon) at Samford (4-1, 2-1), 3 p.m.

The biggest game of the week in the Southern Conference will take place in Alabama, as two of the three teams tied for second in the conference face off in a Bulldog battle. Both teams are coming off some bad losses – Samford fell 35-16 at Georgia Southern, while The Citadel was shocked at home by Chattanooga in a 28-10 defeat. Both teams need a victory to keep up in the race for the SoCon title, but who will come out on top?

Both teams actually match up very evenly. They rank right next to each other in scoring offense, scoring defense and total defense. The all-time series sees The Citadel holding a slim 3-2 lead. Not surprisingly, as with most games with a triple option team playing in it, the key to the game will be who will win the running game battle. Surprisingly, Samford may match up nicely against The Citadel’s triple option attack. Fabian Truss, the conference’s fifth-leading rusher at just under 100 yards per game, faces a Citadel run defense that is giving up 255 yards per game, second-worst in SoCon. Add on the fact that the cadet’s leading tackler, Carl Robinson, will miss the game due to injury, and suddenly things look a little worrisome.

If The Citadel wants come to out on top Saturday, they will need to limit turnovers, something they have struggled with from time to time. A week ago, they threw one interception and lost one fumble, but also coughed the ball up two more times. Will it be tough to win? Of course. It is impossible? Far from it. Will they lose three in a row? There is a good chance.

Samford 27, The Citadel 23

Elon (2-3, 0-2) at No. 15/16 Appalachian State (3-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m.

Here, we have an example of two teams that seem to be going in opposite directions. The Mountaineers have seemingly found their stride, having scored 79 points in the last five quarters of football they have played. Meanwhile, the Phoenix are coming off a blowout loss to Wofford in which they gave up a SoCon record for rushing yards in a game by a player. This game seems to have blowout written all over it. Then again, three of the last four meetings between these two schools have been decided by eight points or less.

The most interesting matchup of the day will be Appalachian State and the SoCon’s top passing offense against Elon and the conference’s top passing defense. The Mountaineers, led by QB Jamal Jackson and WR Sean Price, average more than 255 passing yards per game. Meanwhile, David Wood, Akeem Langham and Chandler Wrightenberry lead a secondary that is only allowing 124.6 yards per game. Keep an eye out for App RB Steven Miller, though – Elon’s rush defense is giving up 237 yards per game (seventh in the conference), and Miller is the conference’s third-leading rusher with 120.2 yards per game. He will be the difference in this one.

Expect another shootout in Boone when these two teams meet. But when the dust settles, it will most likely be the Mountaineers still standing.

No. 15/16 Appalachian State 42, Elon 33

No. 8 Georgia Southern at Western Carolina

The Georgia Southern Eagles pulled off a huge victory last week at home against then undefeated Samford. The game this week does not have conference championship implications, but it is paramount that Georgia Southern pull off the victory. While the series has been dominated by Georgia Southern, Western Carolina comes in with a talented and experienced team. Georgia Southern will rely on pounding the football and wearing down the Western Carolina defense. Dominique Swope has been the early season MVP for the Eagles with seven touchdowns and 408 yards rushing.

On the other hand, Western Carolina will look to spread out the Georgia Southern defense. Quarterback Eddie Sullivan has shown elite talent within the pocket with over 800 yards and eight touchdowns through the air. Western Carolina will be going up against one of the top defenses in the FCS, and will look to exploit the Eagles' 39th-ranked pass defense.

No. 8 Georgia Southern 35, Western Carolina 9

Furman at No. 5 Wofford

This week in SoCon action, No. 5 Wofford returns to the gridiron to take on Furman in Gibbs Stadium. Wofford, the lone undefeated team in the SoCon, comes into this matchup with a 51-27-1 lead in the all-time series, although Furman claimed the last victory, 26-21. The Terriers rely heavily upon Eric Breitenstein, who won Offensive Player of the Week last week in the SoCon, with a conference record 321 yards and two touchdowns against Elon.

On the other hand, Furman wants to spread the field with an up-tempo multiple offense, led by quarterback Reese Hannon. The game features two premier runners in Breitenstein and Jerodis Williams, who has over 640 yards on the season and five total touchdowns. The Terriers have the best run defense in all of FCS football, while they rank 106th in passing defense. The key for Furman pulling off the major upset is through the air.

Furman 10, No. 5 Wofford 45

 

The SoCon Weekend Primer is put together by Southern Pigskin writers Russell Varner and David England.