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SoCon Weekend Recap

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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SoCon teams went a combined 4-4 in the first week of the season.

Thursday Night:

Samford 45 Central Arkansas 16

Samford opened the 2015 season and the Chris Hatcher era with an offensive explosion, beating Central Arkansas 45-16 at Seibert Stadium.  Senior quarterback Michael Eubank passed for a career-high 372 yards and four touchdowns of 66, 55, 35 and 16 yards to four different receivers.  Freshman wide receiver Kelvin McKnight debuted for the Bulldogs in impressive fashion, catching six passes for 157 yards and a touchdown.  Karel Hamilton had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Vaquan Small caught one pass for a 35-yard score.  Eubank’s fourth touchdown pass was to running back Denzel Williams, who also rushed 15 times for 91 yards and a touchdown.  Linebacker Josh Killett led the way defensively for Samford with 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss. Samford welcomes Florida A&M to Seibert Stadium for a 2:00 kickoff next Saturday.

Ball State 48 VMI 36

Sophomore quarterback Al Cobb passed for 399 yards and wide receiver Aaron Sanders led the way with 13 receptions, but VMI couldn’t overcome a 17-point deficit in the third quarter, falling on the road to Ball State 48-36.  Cobb led the Keydets passing, compiling the second-most passing yards in school history. He finished 33 of 47 for 399 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.  Sanders gained 118 yards with his game-high 13 grabs, while true freshman Dontae Mauck caught two balls for 131 yards, one of which was an 80-yard touchdown in the first half.  Alan Cratsenberg led the defense for the Keydets with 15 tackles.  VMI hosts Morehead State for its home opener in Foster Stadium this Saturday at 1:30.


#12(FBS) Clemson 49 Wofford 10

The Wofford football team was defeated 49-10 by 12th-ranked Clemson on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. The Tigers scored touchdowns on six of their first eight possessions of the game and limited the Terriers to 213 total yards.  The Terriers were led by Nick Colvin with 31 rushing yards. Evan Jacks had 21 rushing yards and 42 passing yards. Will Gay added 49 receiving yards. The Terriers leading tackler was Daryl Vining with nine, while Drake Michaelson had seven, including a sack. Clemson was led by Wayne Gallman with 92 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson was 18-of-22 passing for 194 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns. Wofford welcomes Tennessee Tech to Gibbs Stadium Saturday night at 7:00 for the Terriers' home opener. 

Mercer 28 Austin Peay 7

The Mercer Bears broke open a tie game at halftime to outscore the Governors 21-0 after intermission on their way to a 28-7 season-opening win on the road at Austin Peay.  Mercer rushed for 260 yards with a combined effort by Alex Lakes (159 yards, two touchdowns) and Tee Mitchell (101 yards, touchdown reception).  The defensive play of the game came from sophomore linebacker Lee Bennett as he intercepted a pass deep in Bears territory to thwart a potential game-tying touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter.  Mercer opens the home portion of the 2015 schedule hosting Stetson at 6:00 in Macon.

The Citadel 69 Davidson 0

The Citadel used a dominating performance running the football to pave the way to a big 69-0 season-opening victory over non-scholarship Pioneer League member Davidson College.  The Citadel rolled up 535 yards on the ground, which was good enough for the third-highest rushing total in school history.  Evan McField led the way for the Bulldogs with 132 yards and a touchdown. Isiaha Smith eclipsed the century mark on the ground as well for the Bulldogs with 109 yard to go along with three touchdowns.  The Citadel broke the program record for points scored in an opener, breaking the previous record of 64 set in a 64-10 win vs. Charleston Southern in 2003. The last time the Bulldogs recorded a shutout in their season opener was a 38-0 win vs. Wofford in 1987. It was also the first shutout since a 76-0 win vs. Weber International in 2007, a span of 89 games. The Citadel hosts Western Carolina Saturday night in Charleston, lifting the lid on the SoCon schedule for 2015.

Western Carolina 42 Mars Hill 14

Western Carolina kicked off the 2015 season with some fireworks in Cullowhee to begin the game and to celebrate the season-opening victory.  On the Catamounts' first play from scrimmage sophomore tailback Detrez Newsome caught a lateral from quarterback Troy Mitchell and then found wide receiver Spearman Robinson for a 75-yard razzle dazzle touchdown to begin the game.  The Catamounts did not look back from there, defeating Mars Hill for the 16th consecutive time, 42-14, gaining their first season-opening win since 2012.  Mitchell completed 29-of-43 passes for 298 yards and the score, adding a team-high 62 rushing yards on eight carries.  During the game Mitchell became Western Carolina’s all-time leader in total offense with a 44-yard scoring strike to Karnorris Benson in the third quarter, giving the Catamounts a 28-7 lead.  The Catamounts will travel to Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston Saturday night to take on The Citadel to open the 2015 SoCon slate.

#7 Jacksonville State 23 #8 Chattanooga 20

In front of the third-largest crowd in school history of 15,812 at Finley Stadium the eighth-ranked Chattanooga Mocs fell late to the seventh-ranked Gamecocks from Jacksonville State in the only match-up of top 10 teams in Division I football during the opening weekend.  With Chattanooga clinging to a 20-16 fourth quarter lead Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins engineered a 10-play, 79-yard drive for the game-winning score. JSU converted two fourth-downs along the way.  Prior to the Gamecocks' game-winning drive, Mocs redshirt freshman Montrell Pardue put the Mocs on top 20-16 with a big defensive play, stripping the ball away from Jacksonville State running back Troymaine Pope and running 55 yards for the score.  The Mocs offense was held in check, only garnering 196 yards of total offense.  Chattanooga drops down a division this Saturday to host Mars Hill at Finley Stadium at 1:00.

#5 Coastal Carolina 38 Furman 35

In a series that has seen each of the previous six games decided by an average of five points per game, including two overtime finishes, the 2015 tilt between the Paladins and Chanticleers did not buck that trend.  Big South Conference preseason Player of the Year Alex Ross passed for 328 yards and two touchdowns to Bruce Mapp to lead FCS fifth-ranked Coastal Carolina to a 38-35 win over Furman in the season opener for both schools Saturday night at Paladin Stadium.  Furman quarterback Reese Hannon, who missed all but two and a half quarters of the 2014 season, set a school record with 365 yards and registered another school standard with 400 yards in total offense, while also throwing a pair of touchdowns for the Paladins.  The Paladin signal caller completed 27-of-41 pass attempts, but suffered a pair of interceptions, the last leading to a 29-yard Ryan Granger field goal with four minutes left in the game extending the Chanticleers' lead to 38-27.  The Paladins cut the lead to 38-35 with a Reese Hannon to Jordan Snellings nine-yard TD pass, but Furman could not recover the ensuing onside kick, allowing Coastal to run the clock out.  Furman steps up to the FBS next week, traveling to Blacksburg, VA to take on Virginia Tech with a 3:30 kickoff.

Written by Robbie Ross