Week 12 SoCon FCS Football Game Breakdowns

George Hammond

Week 12 Southern Conference Game Breakdowns

It wasn’t easy for two of the three teams at the top of the Southern Conference standings, but in the end, both got what they needed — a victory. And because of that, No. 6 Georgia Southern (8-2, 6-2), No. 10 Wofford (8-2, 6-2) and No. 12 Appalachian State (8-3, 6-2) all earned a piece of the league title.

While the Eagles had completed their league schedule, Wofford needed overtime to defeat Chattanooga, 16-13. Meanwhile, Troy Sanders’ interception at Appalachian State’s 5-yard line as time expired started the celebration in Boone, N.C., as the Mountaineers survived a 33-28 upset bid by Furman.

“What a celebration on that field at the end of the game,” App State coach Jerry Moore said. “We tried to give it away at the end of the first half throwing 14 points on the board for them. But it was a great night. I'm proud of our team and the way they played.  I have had a rough week apprehension wise. We've tried not to let the players get too focused on the ‘ring game.’ The players get too focused on winning a ring instead of the game at hand. I was a little concerned about that.”

Moore had reason to be concerned. The last three times Appalachian State had defeated a nationally ranked opponent (Georgia Southern on Nov. 3), it lost the next week. But the Mountaineers prevailed, earning an unprecedented seventh straight league title and 12th Southern Conference crown overall.

Because the three first-place teams went 1-1 against one another in head-to-head matchups, the winner of the league’s automatic bid to the playoffs won’t be determined until fourth place in the final league standings is settled on Saturday.  Regardless, all three are expected to make the playoffs (all three made the playoffs last year).  

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


#10 WOFFORD at SOUTH CAROLINA (1 p.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC)

This isn’t exactly the way you want to end the regular season, going up against one of the best teams in the nation, but that’s the Terriers’ task when they visit No. 12 South Carolina (8-2) on Saturday. But it might be a good time to catch the Gamecocks as they face rival Clemson on November 24.  Saturday’s overtime thriller gave Wofford a share of the league title for the third time in the last five years. Eric Breitenstein had 132 yards on 28 carries and scored the game-winner in overtime. He also set the school record for career rushing in the first quarter. Although Wofford will get a nice paycheck for this game, playing one of the top teams in the nation at this point of the season could backfire. If the Terriers get a first-round playoff bye, then they’ll have two weeks to get ready for their first playoff opponent. But if they lose (even though the game shouldn’t be held against it), Wofford could be staring at an opening-round playoff game on November 24. South Carolina holds an 18-4 edge in the series. The last meeting was in 2008 (South Carolina won 23-13) and before that, it was in 2006 (both of those games were played in September).

Projected score: South Carolina 35, Wofford 10 


WESTERN CAROLINA at ALABAMA (noon Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL) 

While Wofford might be catching South Carolina at a good time, the Catamounts (1-9, 0-8) are definitely not catching the No. 4 Crimson Tide at a good time — not after what “Johnny Football” and Texas A&M did to Alabama on Saturday. “I don’t think we need to be worrying about who we are playing this week as much as we need to worry about how we are playing. That’s the focus,” Alabama coach Nick Saban at his weekly teleconference on Monday. “We have a lot of respect for every team we play and certainly Western Carolina has done a lot of good things this season. They’ve scored a lot of points. I think the focus for us needs to be on what we are doing and how we are playing. That’s the approach I’d like to take with our coaches, our players and everybody in the organization.”  This is the third meeting between the two and the first since Saban took over at Alabama in 2007. The Crimson Tide won that contest 52-6.

Projected score: Alabama 52, Western Carolina 7


THE CITADEL at FURMAN (1:30 p.m. Saturday at Paladin Stadium, Greenville, SC) 

Furman (3-7, 2-5) will try to bounce back after a tough loss at Appalachian State. The Paladins have lost four games by a total of 13 points.  With four catches for 59 yards, Furman senior All-America tight end Colin Anderson upped his career numbers to 87 receptions for 1,498 yards. He is 67 yards shy of the all-time Furman receiving yards standard for tight ends. Meanwhile, The Citadel (6-4, 4-3) is coming off a 27-24 victory at VMI. Derek Douglas returned a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown to give The Citadel a 21-point lead in the third quarter before VMI rallied to cut the deficit.  


#6 GEORGIA SOUTHERN at GEORGIA (1:30 p.m. Saturday at Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA) 

The Eagles had an easy time with MEAC foe Howard on Saturday, defeating the visitors 69-26. It won’t be so easy in Athens as Georgia (9-1 overall) is ranked No. 5 in the nation and has won four in a row. The Bulldogs, who have wrapped up the SEC East title, are No. 22 in FBS in total offense and No. 24 in total defense.  Still, the Bulldogs know Georgia Southern can pose problems. The series is tied 4-4 with the last meeting occurring in 2008.  “I look at Georgia Southern as a winning program,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said in a Sunday media teleconference. “I really don’t look at what league they’re in. I know that a team that’s used to winning is much more difficult to beat than a team that’s not used to winning.” Georgia Southern has the top rushing attack in the FCS, averaging more than 400 yards per game on the ground. 

Projected score: Georgia 38, Georgia Southern 17 


ELON at CHATTANOOGA (2 p.m. Saturday at Finley Stadium, Chattanooga, TN)

The Mocs (5-5, 4-3) lost a heartbreaker in overtime on Saturday at Wofford (their second OT loss this season) that cost Chattanooga any chance it had of earning a share of the league title. Mocs’ quarterback Jacob Huesman completed a season high 22 passes for 229 yards, and he completed nine of 10 passes for 90 yards on third down, converting them into seven first downs. Meanwhile, Elon (3-7, 1-6) fell to Samford 26-15. Elon’s outstanding wide receiver Aaron Mellette had 10 receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Mellette now has 17 touchdown receptions this season, just two shy of the Southern Conference’s single-season mark of 19 set by Marshall’s Randy Moss in 1996.

Projected score: Chattanooga 31, Elon 17


SAMFORD at KENTUCKY (7:30 p.m. Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY) 

Samford (7-3, 5-3) should enter this game thinking it has a chance to be competitive against the FBS Wildcats (1-9, 0-7). Kentucky has lost eight straight, including a 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt on November 3 that cost head coach Joker Phillips his job (although Phillips will coach the team’s final two games). The Wildcats did put a scare into Georgia this season, bowing 29-24. 

Projected score: Kentucky 31, Samford 20


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns