Week 4 SoCon FCS Football Game Breakdowns

George Hammond

Week 4 Southern Conference Game Breakdowns

Is there anything left in the tank?

That’s what The Citadel’s head coach Kevin Higgins has to wonder after the Bulldogs’ memorable September continues. On Saturday, The Citadel stunned Appalachian State 52-28 in Boone, N.C.; just one week after the Bulldogs had stunned Georgia Southern. Opponents just don’t go into Boone and do what The Citadel did to App State. True, the Mountaineers were coming off an emotional victory of their own against Montana, but no one could say they saw this coming.


* The Bulldogs rolled up 618 yards of total offense, including 463 on the ground, and built a 38-7 lead at halftime against Appalachian State.

* App State suffered its worst Southern Conference loss in eight years, and the 52 points were the most Appalachian has allowed at home since a 52-34 loss to Furman on September 30, 1978.

“Our job now is to just keep staying focused on the task at hand and to stay at it one game at a time with force to keep working on getting better on both offense and defense and special teams,” Higgins said after Saturday’s victory. “We need to keep believing in ourselves.”

One thing’s for sure: Everyone else in the Southern Conference believes in them. Next up: North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday.

Who made this schedule?


#19 THE CITADEL AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (6 p.m. Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC)

The Citadel (3-0) is off to its best start since 1992 when the Bulldogs won their most recent Southern Conference crown. That same year, The Citadel defeated Arkansas and Army and will seek its first win over an FBS school since ‘92 when it faces N.C. State. With many of the same players that are on this year’s squad, the Bulldogs played South Carolina tough last November before losing 41-20 so they shouldn’t be intimidated. This will be the first meeting between the two since 1983. For N.C. State, Mike Glennon threw three touchdown passes Saturday to help lead the Wolfpack (2-1) to a 31-7 victory over South Alabama in their home debut. The Wolfpack’s defense has been impressive, too. They’ve held their last two opponents (Connecticut and South Alabama) to a combined 14 points and how it fares against the Bulldogs’ triple-option attack could determine Saturday’s outcome. Citadel quarterback Ben Dupree rushed for a career-high 180 yards on 20 carries last week to lead the spread offense. Citadel sophomore linebacker Carl Robinson, meanwhile, was College Sports Madness’ National Defensive Player of the Week as he had 13 tackles against App State (he now has 32 tackles for the season). 

Projected score: North Carolina State 24, The Citadel 16


#12 APPALACHIAN STATE AT CHATTANOOGA (6 p.m. Saturday at Finley Stadium, Chattanooga, TN) 

Last year, Appalachian State (1-2, 0-1) prevailed 14-12 when it scored two second-half defensive touchdowns. The Mocs had closed within 14-12 with 9:51 remaining, but their two-point PAT try failed and no other points were scored. In 2010, App State rallied in the fourth quarter for a 42-41 victory. Chattanooga went for the victory with a two-point try with under a minute to go in that contest, but it failed. That’s the margin of victory the last two times App State and Chattanooga have tangled — three points. The Mocs (1-2) picked up their first victory last Thursday night when they toppled outmanned Division II Glenville State 35-0. The losses came at South Florida (34-13) and Jacksonville State (27-24). Jacob Huesman was 16-of-26 for 210 yards passing and two touchdowns. Marquis Green added 65 yards rushing on nine attempts (two TDs). Meanwhile, the Mountaineers are coming off that stunning one-sided loss to The Citadel. They opened the season with a loss at East Carolina before beating perennial FCS power Montana at home. The last time Appalachian State lost back-to-back Southern Conference games was in 2002. This won’t be easy as Chattanooga fans can sense a possibly wounded Mountaineer. Still, it’s tough to go against App State. 

Projected score: Appalachian State 24, Chattanooga 14 


FURMAN AT PRESBYTERIAN (Noon Saturday at Bailey Memorial Stadium, Clinton, SC) 

After falling to Sammy Watkins and nationally ranked Clemson 41-7 on Saturday, Furman has opened its season 0-3 for the first time since 1979. Watkins, the all-everything receiver for Clemson, had four catches for 52 yards, a touchdown and 119 all-purpose yards for the Tigers as they defeated Furman for the 30th consecutive time. But Furman freshman quarterback Reese Hannon was 19 of 29 for 235 yards in his first collegiate start and left many impressed. Through the first half, he completed 12 of 14 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown. Hannon got the nod as the starter two weeks ago due to a shoulder injury suffered by Dakota Derrick against Coastal Carolina. Meanwhile, Presbyterian (1-2) was having similar troubles in Nashville as the Blue Hose bowed to Vanderbilt 58-0. It was the first time Presbyterian had been blanked since the 2006 season. 

Projected score: Furman 28, Presbyterian 12


SAMFORD AT WESTERN CAROLINA (3:30 p.m. Saturday at E.J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC) 

Samford’s three victories to open the season give the Bulldogs the program’s first 3-0 start since 1995. The Bulldogs are coming off a 44-23 non-conference win at Gardner-Webb as running back Fabian Truss scored four touchdowns — three rushing and one on a kick return — to tie a school single-game record. Samford, 1-0 in league play, defeated Western Carolina 52-24 last year in Birmingham, AL.  Meanwhile, the Catamounts (1-2, 0-1) fell to Wofford 49-20 on Saturday. Western Carolina registered its second defensive touchdown of the season when Eric Banford scored on a forced fumble by freshman John McBeth to tie the game at seven after one quarter of play, but Wofford’s (3-0, 1-0) ground attack took over from that point. The Terriers scored 35 unanswered points to win going away. Offensively, the Catamount quarterback duo of Eddie Sullivan and Troy Mitchell combined to complete 32 of the 42 pass attempts for a season-high 335 yards. Freshman Spearman Robinson had a career-best nine catches for a career-high 91 yards, but missed most of the fourth quarter due to injury. 

Projected score: Samford 35, Western Carolina 21 


ELON AT #11 GEORGIA SOUTHERN (6 p.m. Saturday at Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.) 

The Eagles (1-1) are coming off a bye week as they try to regroup from their 23-21 loss to The Citadel in Charleston, SC two weeks ago. In that contest, Georgia Southern missed two field-goal attempts and committed five fumbles, losing two. Meanwhile, Elon (2-1) continues to prepare in the absence of head coach Jason Swepson. The second-year coach experienced chest pains the day before Elon’s contest with West Virginia State (2-1) and was admitted to a Raleigh, NC hospital. However, Swepson has been released from the hospital and could join his team by midweek, although if he goes to Statesboro, he would likely watch the game from the press box, according to various reports. Defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham has filled the role as interim coach. Despite the distractions, the Phoenix routed West Virginia State 48-14 on Saturday. Thomas Wilson, who was 18-of-25 for 261 yards, had four touchdown passes. Aaron Melette had nine receptions for 129 yards and two TDs. 

Projected score: Georgia Southern 27, Elon 16


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns