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SoCon Weekend Recap

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Georgia Southern took over first place in the conference with a win over Wofford on Saturday.

Just when you think things are cut and dry in the SoCon, a weekend like last weekend comes around and shakes all of that up. Just when it looked like the Wofford Terriers had established themselves as the unquestioned number one team in the Southern Conference, they run into a major roadblock in Statesboro. Just as it looked like Appalachian State may be in trouble this season, they go on an impressive win streak. Just as you think you know what is going on in the conference, you are slapped in the face and reminded that the only predictable thing in the Southern Conference is unpredictability.

The Citadel 45, Western Carolina 31

Through three quarters on Saturday, Bulldog fans were ready to start pounding the panic button on their season. The team looked like a far cry from the squad that started the season so strong, finding itself tied with a one-win Western Carolina team going into the fourth quarter. Then something snapped in The Citadel, and they exploded for 21 points in the final quarter to pull away for the victory.

In a day and age when passing rules football, the Bulldogs and Catamounts combined for 676 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on 118 carries. The Citadel once again was led by its army of rushers – most notably Darien Robinson (116 yards, one touchdown) and Ben Dupree (96 yards, two TDs) – but seemed to struggle without two of their key linebackers, Carl Robinson and Rah Muhammad.

You have to give credit to the Catamounts – Saturday was the best game they have played since their season-opening victory. Darrius Ramsey (118 rushing yards) and Troy Mitchell (184, two rushing touchdowns) paced the Western Carolina attack and were able to help keep the game close for as long as they did. The team is making strides, which coach Mark Speir surely likes, but has not done enough just yet to get that first conference victory.

The Citadel gets an extra week to enjoy their victory as they go into their bye week, while Western Carolina travels to Elon next weekend.

Appalachian State 28, Samford 25

The most exciting game of the week could be found down in Birmingham, where the Mountaineers used a Sean Price touchdown catch in the closing seconds to escape with a victory against a hungry Samford squad. Taking over at their own 20, down 25-21 with 1:41 to go, Jamal Jackson led the Mountaineers on a seven-play drive that ended with him finding Price in the corner of the end zone, deflating the hearts of all Samford faithful in attendance. Oh, and that came after the Mountaineers had blown a 21-10 lead heading into the final period of play.

Held to just six yards on the ground, Jackson took to the air, finishing with 288 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Steven Miller added 186 all-purpose yards and a TD, while Price finished with 90 yards and the game-winning touchdown. The defense also deserves credit, as they sacked Andy Summerlin seven times – a season-high – and limited Fabian Truss to just 46 yards on 18 carries. With the win, the Mountaineers are now tied for second place with the Wofford Terriers, who they just happen to be hosting next weekend.

For the Bulldogs, the loss will be sure to sting for some time. Summerlin had one of his best games under center, finishing with 270 passing yards to go with a touchdown and interception. Although Truss was limited to just 46 yards on the ground, he did get a rushing TD and added 113 receiving yards. Apart from the last drive, the defense had a very respectable game as well. Though they gave up 413 yards to the high-powered Mountaineers, they limited ASU to just 2-14 on third down conversions and 1-4 on fourth down conversions. Samford will have to bounce back quickly, as they travel to Chattanooga next weekend with their playoffs hopes possibly on the line.

Georgia Southern 17, Wofford 9

When we all thought the SoCon could not get any more unpredictable, it did, with the game from Statesboro adding to the mayhem. The No. 4 Wofford Terriers were the lone undefeated team in the conference and were expected to beat Georgia Southern despite playing on the road at Paulson Stadium. The one predictable facet of the game was that both teams would rely heavily on their ground attacks. The box scores were very similar, but Georgia Southern truly played an all-around solid game. The Eagles defense limited Wofford to under 250 yards on the ground. While that does not seem to be impressive on paper, Wofford's average per game is just over 320. It was not the flashiest of games, but the SoCon is not known for flashy offenses.

"The thing that was so impressive about our football team and why I'm so proud them is that there were things that happened in the game that could have gotten them down, but they just kept fighting and gave great effort," Eagles head coach Jeff Monken stated. The effort from the Eagles all season has carried them to a 5-1 record on the year. The key player for the Eagles on Saturday, though, was running back Dominique Swope, who had 139 yards on 25 carries and found paydirt twice.

While Swope had a great day, the Eagles defense put up a solid performance and didn't allow a touchdown all evening. "I can't say enough for the job our defense did. Our guys didn't start pointing fingers. They just lined up and played. It was as good a defense effort as I have seen in a long time," Monken continued. 

Monken's defense showed why Georgia Southern was the preseason favorite to win the conference. The Eagles beat Wofford at home for the first time since 2004, breaking a three-game winning streak for the Terriers at Paulson Stadium.

In closing, the most amazing stat of the game is that Georgia Southern didn't attempt a single pass and pulled off a victory. With the Eagles' win, they improve to 4-1 in conference play and take over sole possession of first in the conference standings. Georgia Southern travels to Furman next week and Wofford takes on App. State in Boone, NC.

Chattanooga 31, Furman 10

The most intriguing game on paper came when Furman took on Chattanooga. The Paladins have been on a bit of a hot streak lately, while Chattanooga has been the second-most surprising team in the SoCon, only behind The Citadel. It was a game of opposites, as Furman needed to find success on the ground with Jerodis Williams and Chattanooga would look to quarterback Jacob Huesman for their success. The Mocs got the success with Huesman as he passed for two touchdowns and was 18 for 23 on the day. He also added 59 yards on the ground to his total.

The most shocking performance of the game came from the Chattanooga defense, which rallied to allow only eight first downs and 223 yards of total offense all game. "We were beaten in every phase of the game," said head coach Jeff Fowler on the performance by his Paladins.

The win was the best all around performance for Chattanooga all year long. A balanced attack through the air and on the ground was what lifted the Mocs to a 31-10 win over Furman. With the win, Chattanooga improves to 3-3 on the year and 2-1 in conference play.

Chattanooga plays Samford next week at home. Furman hosts Georgia Southern.


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