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SoCon Weekend Recap

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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Samford rolled all over VMI in the lone conference game of the weekend.

VMI 21, Samford 63

Samford lit up the scoreboard in Saturday's matchup against VMI. The Bulldogs were firing on all cylinders in the first half, scoring touchdowns on seven of their first eight drives and holding the Keydets scoreless. VMI won the second half, but it was meaningless and could hardly even be considered something to build on. Both teams struggled with penalties: Samford committed eleven for 133 yards and VMI had three different third down infractions that allowed Samford to extend drives and ultimately score. The Bulldogs ran the ball down VMI's throat for 433 yards rushing, averaging an astounding 7.9 yards per carry. VMI's defense looked helpless at times, and the offense wasn't much better, turning the ball over four times. If the Keydets don't improve in the coming weeks, Sparky Woods could find himself on the hot seat.

Citadel 18, Charleston Southern 20

Charleston Southern beat crosstown rival The Citadel this week in a battle for Charleston supremacy. Mike Houston has his work cut out with him after an undisciplined performance by his offense. Seemingly anytime the Bulldogs managed to break off a big run, there was a personal foul or a hold, and the ball came right back. They couldn't throw the ball with any success, and while Aaron Miller must shoulder some of the blame, the bulk of their problems start with the offensive line. Pass protection was almost nonexistent, so Miller spent most of his attempts running for his life. The pass defense was similarly poor, and needs to be addressed this week in practice ahead of the Bulldogs' game against Gardner-Webb. Even with the undisciplined play, The Citadel still had an opportunity to win, but turnovers and a special teams touchdown put the game just out of reach.

Wofford 36, Gardner-Webb 43

Wofford moved to 1-2 after Saturday's loss to Gardner-Webb. Terrier fans will be disappointed about a few questionable calls that may have swung the game in the Bulldogs' favor, but there are plenty of issues to address on their own team before they focus on the officiating. The run defense was a bright spot for Wofford, but that's to be expected. The pass defense was a different story entirely. The Terriers allowed Lucas Beatty too much time in the pocket; he practically had all day to throw the football. Interestingly enough, the Terriers' coaching staff never thought to put any pressure on him, and instead elected to just allow him to pick their secondary apart. One silver lining, though, was sophomore quarterback Evan Jacks. He made a few mistakes, but it's been a long time since Wofford has had an athlete like Jacks under center. If Jacks continues to develop like he should and Lorenzo Long keeps playing at a high level, the Terriers could definitely contend in a wide open Southern Conference.

Ave Maria 21, Mercer 42

Mercer blew out the Ave Maria Gyrenes this week, just as everyone expected. The game could have been considerably worse, but Coach Lamb opted to give the second and third stringers a good bit of playing time. The Bears failed to score at all in the second half, but there's no need for concern, as the game had long been over. Freshman running back Alex Lakes continues to impress, going for 109 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. It's not much of a stretch to assume that he could've gone for upwards of 200 yards had he been allowed to remain in the game. If Lakes can maintain this level as conference play picks up, he could make a case for the being the most talented freshman in the Southern Conference.

Furman 7, South Carolina State 17

Furman's struggles on the offensive side of the ball continued in Saturday's game at South Carolina State. The Paladins extended their scoreless streak, going back to last week's game at Presbyterian, to five straight quarters until they finally found the end zone in the third quarter. The third quarter touchdown was Furman's lone score of the game, though, making it two straight weeks only managing seven points. The Paladins failed to establish anything resembling a running game, and while they threw the ball somewhat effectively, they never really got into a rhythm. For a Furman team that started off the year with such high aspirations, it has been awfully disappointing so far. The coaching staff had better address their offensive issues quickly, before they find themselves looking for a new job.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP