Week 11 SoCon FCS Football Game Breakdowns

George Hammond

Week 11 Southern Conference Game Breakdowns

Put the death notice on hold — Appalachian State football is alive and well.

Once the undisputed kingpin of the FCS with three consecutive national titles (2005-07), the Mountaineers had fallen from those lofty ranks in recent seasons. The whispers were growing louder: The Mountaineers were slipping.

Consider: Last year, they were embarrassed 34-12 by visiting Maine in the playoffs, and this season, with three losses already entering Saturday’s game at Georgia Southern, not only was App State in jeopardy of seeing its domination of the Southern Conference come to an end, but possibly a playoff berth, too.  The last time App State lost at least four games in a season was 2004, also the last time it didn’t at least share part of the Southern Conference title.

But cancel the obituary. Thanks to a 31-28 victory over Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Appalachian State is alive and well.   “A ballgame like this right here can really make you,” Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore said. “We really needed this.” That they did.

Now, it’s likely the league crown will be shared by three teams: No. 6 Georgia Southern (7-2, 6-2), which has finished league play, No. 15 Appalachian State (7-3, 5-2), provided the Mountaineers beat Furman (3-6, 2-4) on Saturday, and the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 13 Wofford (7-2, 5-2) and Chattanooga (5-4, 4-2) at Spartanburg, S.C. The Mocs are the only team of the aforementioned that has two conference games remaining. They host Elon (3-6, 1-5) on November 17.

According to reports, if Furman beats App State Saturday, Georgia Southern gets the conference’s automatic bid to the playoffs. If Chattanooga beats Wofford and App State beats Furman, the Mountaineers get the automatic bid. If Wofford and App State win, then it gets messy with several tie-breakers needed to figure it out.

Here’s a look at this weekend’s games:


CHATTANOOGA AT #13 WOFFORD (1:30 p.m. Saturday at Seibert Stadium, Spartanburg, S.C.)

Chattanooga needs to win to have a shot at sharing the league title, but it can’t get the necessary seven Division I wins to be playoff eligible because one of its wins came against a Division II school. Wofford, like Chattanooga, also has a victory against a Division II team for a win that doesn’t count toward playoff eligibility. And the Terriers have to beat Chattanooga to get to seven because it’s unlikely they will knock off South Carolina next week. The Terriers lost a double-overtime heartbreaker, 24-17, on Saturday at Samford. Last year, the Mocs saw a 13-point fourth-quarter lead disappear as they fell to Wofford 28-27. This year figures to be just as exciting with all that’s at stake. The Terriers, of course, love to run the football as they are second in the league with a 372-yards per game average, but Chattanooga is third in rushing defense. Both are adept at keeping turnovers to a minimum, too, as Wofford is No. 1 in turnover margin and the Mocs are second.

Projected score: Wofford 24, Chattanooga 21


FURMAN AT #15 APPALACHIAN STATE (3:30 p.m. Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, N.C.)

The Mountaineers can’t afford an emotional letdown in their regular-season finale against a Furman team (3-6, 2-4) that still can be a dangerous foe. The Paladins also are coming off a bye and toppled App State 20-10 last year. But if Mountaineers quarterback Jamal Jackson, who was CSM’s Offensive Player of the Week in the SoCon, plays like he did against Georgia Southern, Furman will be hard-pressed to win. Jackson was spectacular as he threw for 383 yards. Freshman wide receiver Sean Jackson was Jackson’s main target as he had seven receptions for 231 yards. The Paladins will be thinking upset, but it’s difficult to envision the Mountaineers letting that happen with so much on the line — especially in Boone.

Projected score: Appalachian State 31, Furman 20


THE CITADEL AT VMI (1:30 p.m. Saturday at Foster Stadium, Lexington, Va.)

The Citadel (5-4, 4-3) hopes to end its season with a three-game winning streak. The Bulldogs took the first step toward that goal last Saturday when they handled Elon 38-24, to end a four-game losing streak against the Phoenix. Darien Robinson rushed for a career-high 178 yards. Meanwhile, VMI (2-7), a member of the Big South Conference, has lost four straight and has been outscored in that stretch 149-35. The Keydets’ latest loss came on Saturday at No. 14 Stony Brook, 45-7. Called the “Military Classic of the South,” the two teams renewed their rivalry last year after a four-year hiatus. They’ve met 77 times with The Citadel holding a 35-30-2 advantage. Last year, the Bulldogs won 41-14.

Projected score: The Citadel 38, VMI 10


HOWARD AT #6 GEORGIA SOUTHERN (2 p.m. Saturday at Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.)

It’s going to be difficult for the Eagles (7-2, 6-2) to be motivated to play this game, following its disappointing loss to Appalachian State. Plus, Georgia Southern ends its regular-season next weekend at Georgia so the focus might be a little lax for the visitors (6-3, 5-2) from the MEAC. Still, the Bison aren’t a bad team — it lost to Rutgers 26-0 this season and they’re coming off a 20-10 triumph over Hampton.

Projected score: Georgia Southern 34, Howard 7


SAMFORD AT ELON (1:30 p.m. Saturday at Rhodes Stadium, Elon, N.C.)

Fresh off its thrilling 24-17 double-overtime victory against Wofford in which it trailed 17-9, Samford (6-3, 4-3) still might have something to play for. Granted, it needs to win its last two games (at Kentucky next weekend), but an 8-3 record could draw consideration for a playoff berth. Elon (3-6, 1-5) is coming off a 38-24 loss to The Citadel in which quarterback Thomas Wilson completed 37 passes for 351 yards. His favorite receiver, Aaron Mellette, had nine receptions for 102 yards. 

Projected score: Samford 27, Elon 23


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns