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SoCon Weekend Recap

By David England
SouthernPigskin.com
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Preseason SoCon favorite Georgia Southern bounced back from a tough loss against The Citadel to pick up a huge conference victory on Saturday.

Week Four for the SoCon was one of mixed emotions. The heavily favored had to battle down to the wire with far inferior teams, and, while it was stunning, it was most expected. In a year where Georgia Southern and Appalachian State actually look beatable, anything can happen. The Citadel and Samford have took the conference by storm, while Wofford silently continues to impress.

 

Samford 25 Western Carolina 21

The Samford Bulldogs traveled to Western Carolina for a conference game, and improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1995. The Bulldogs improved to 2-0 in conference play for the first time since joining the league in 2008. The most amazing stat for the Bulldogs is that they have out scored opponents in the 4th quarter 27-6.

That trend would continue for Samford, as running back Fabian Truss led the team with 180 yards rushing on 23 attempts and found paydirt twice. Meanwhile, quarterback Andy Summerlin was 22-of-32 for 173 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

The Bulldogs again saw solid play from Jaquiski Tartt, who finished with a career-high 14 tackles, while James Bradberry anchored the secondary with two picks.

Samford started the fourth quarter trailing 21-10 and appeared to be in deep trouble, but it would not be long before they made a comeback. It started with Summerlin finding Riley Hawkins for a 20-yard touchdown with 12:58 left in the game. The Bulldogs got a two point conversion to cut the lead down to three at 21-18.

Samford would then score the game-winning touchdown when Truss found the end zone on a two-yard touchdown run, giving Samford a 25-21 lead that they would not relinquish. Western Carolina had two more possessions, but could not score. Samford remains unbeaten on the season.


#18 Appalachian State 34 Chattanooga 17

Appalachian State came into the game against Chattanooga looking to forget the loss to The Citadel that occurred the previous week. The game started with the Mountaineers trailing 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. Marlon Anthony scored on a seven-yard pass from Jacob Huesman in the first. The scoring would continue as the first quarter for Chattanooga was the same as the second quarter for Appalachian. The Mountaineers tied the game 10-10 at the half, with Jamal Jackson completing a 35-yard pass to Steven Miller to even things up.

The key play of the game came in the final quarter as Chattanooga trailed 27-10 with around 7:30 left in the contest. Huesman for Chattanooga threw an interception to Brandon Grier that would become a 70-yard pick six for the Mountaineers, putting the nail in the coffin with a 34-10 lead over Chattanooga. The life was sucked out of Finley Stadium at that point, and the interception capped a disappointing night for Chattanooga.

Appalachian State found a balanced attack early with 130-plus yards of rushing and over 250 yards passing. Jamal Jackson would be the leader on offense with three touchdowns and over 250 yards passing along with 39 yards rushing. On the defensive side of the ball, Jamill Lott led App. State with eight total tackles, along with Adam Scott who had two sacks on the evening.

App. State came back strong from a heart wrenching loss and proved why they have been the class of the SoCon.


#10 Georgia Southern 26 Elon 23

Most fans and experts would have predicted this game to be a fairly easy win for the Eagles. Georgia Southern's loss would have appeared to be a wake up call for Jeff Monken and his squad. It is never easy playing in Statesboro, but Elon almost pulled off the miracle in a tight conference game.

There were five lead changes in the game, and with 7:44 to play, Georgia Southern started a drive on its own 29 yard line. The key drive of the game was about to take place. Ezayi Youyoute rushed for 16 yards on a second-and-10, which setup a 37-yard run by Jerick McKinnon, taking Georgia Southern to the Elon 18. The drive would not result in a touchdown, but a 32-yard field goal with 3:40 left would be enough for Georgia Southern to defeat Elon.

The Phoenix would give the Eagles a scare on its final drive as they drove to the Georgia Southern 12 yard line, but Kierre Brown was stripped of the ball and Georgia Southern recovered ending any hope of Elon's to win the game.

The success on the ground would continue for Georgia Southern as they for over 300 yards for the sixth time in their last seven games.


Furman 31 Presbyterian 21

In yet another SoCon vs Big South matchup, the Paladins took on the Blue Hose. Furman came in to the contest needing a win after falling to 0-3 on the year.

It was a good day for Paladins fans, as Hank McCloud rushed for a career high 78 yards and three touchdowns. The three rushing touchdowns carried Furman to a 24-0 lead at the half. Jerodis Williams would lead all rushers with 136 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Furman would total 239 yards on the ground and 456 overall.

The stat that is the tale of the game is Furman holding Presbyterian to 43 yards rushing on 27 attempts, and also accumulating four sacks on the day. The Paladins' key drive was a 50-yard touchdown pass from Reese Hannon to tight end Colin Anderson, which gave Furman a 21-10 lead.

In the first two quarters, the Paladins outgained Presbyterian 334-87. The score does not indicate how thoroughly Furman outplayed Presbyterian en route to their first victory of the season.


NC State 52 #10 The Citadel 14

The schedule got no easier for The Citadel as they traveled outside the SoCon to take on ACC foe NC State in front of 55,145 fans. This was the first meeting between the two schools since 1983. Since 1953, The Citadel remains winless in its 28 games against ACC opponents.

Running back Darien Robinson for The Citadel had a 65-yard touchdown run that tied the game at seven with 5:45 left in the first quarter. After that bright moment, it was all Wolfpack. They would score two touchdowns in 2:37, giving NC State a 21-7 lead. A fumble by Ben Dupree that the Wolfpack recovered at their own 24 led to a 20-yard touchdown pass.

The second quarter was much of the same for NC State, as they added 21 more points, including a 73-yard punt return touchdown by Rashard Smith.

The scoring would continue for NC State, led by a 284 yard first half for the Wolfpack.

NC State went into the locker room at the half up 42-7. After a solid opening drive for The Citadel, NC State limited them to 34 yards in the second half.

The Citadel returns to SoCon play next Saturday as they face Chattanooga at 6 P.M.

David England - David is an avid football fan. Having covered football for seven years, he has worked with Coastal Carolina University Football, 93.9 ESPN Radio the Team, and various websites. Also a huge baseball fan, he has worked in minor league baseball for five years, with both the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the Gwinnett Braves. David will be covering Georgia Tech and the Southern Conference.