SoCon Week 3 FCS Football Game Breakdowns

George Hammond


Week 3 Southern Conference Game Breakdowns

The biggest buzz this week in the Southern Conference is about a team that is idle this weekend. Appalachian State (0-2), which is joining the Sun Belt Conference as an FBS school next year, is reeling after being upset in Boone, N.C., by North Carolina A&T, 24-21, last Saturday. The Mountaineers trailed by 18 points with less than six minutes remaining, but a late game-tying field goal was off the mark. The loss snapped the Mountaineers’ 32-game home winning streak against in-state opponents. App State’s last defeat at home to an in-state opponent came in 1984. Of the teams that are playing this weekend, the Georgia Southern-Wofford contest is the top attraction.


Presbyterian at Furman, Saturday, Noon

Furman (0-2) plays its third consecutive Big South opponent this week as the Paladins look for win No. 1. They suffered their second straight seven-point loss as they fell 35-28 to No. 14 Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers held a 20-7 halftime advantage and held off Furman in the second half. Furman’s Hank McCloud led all rushers with 21 attempts for a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Reese Hannon, who sat out the season-opener with an injury, was 17-of-31 for 191 yards and two scores. The Paladins enjoyed a 36:07-23:53 advantage in time of possession but couldn’t come up with the victory. Meanwhile, Presbyterian (1-1) evened its record with a 42-24 victory over Brevard in its home opener. The Blue Hose broke a 21-21 tie in the second quarter with three unanswered touchdowns. Furman won last year’s game 31-21 and has won 14 straight contests in the series.

Projected Score: Furman 35, Presbyterian 21


#23 Samford at Florida A&M, Saturday, 2 p.m.

The Bulldogs (1-1) were on the verge of a huge upset when they led Arkansas by four points entering the final quarter, but the Razorbacks rallied with 14 fourth-quarter points to hold off Samford, 31-21. Arkansas jumped out to a 14-0 advantage, but Samford rallied and eventually led 21-17 before Arkansas’ comeback. Fabian Truss had 103 yards on 16 carries for Samford, but he was overshadowed by the Razorbacks’ outstanding duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams who combined for 298 yards rushing. Meanwhile, Florida A&M (1-1) fell to Tennessee State, 21-7, in its home opener. A 95-yard kick return for a touchdown was the key spark for Tennessee State. This is the first meeting between the two schools. Florida A&M will visit Birmingham, Alabama in 2015.

Projected Score: Samford 34, Florida A&M 14


The Citadel at Western Carolina, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Both teams are looking for their first win of the season. The Citadel (0-2) fell to No. 11 Wofford, 21-10, while Western Carolina (0-2) lost to Virginia Tech, 45-3, in Blacksburg, Va. For the Catamounts, the Hokies were their third consecutive FBS opponent dating to last year. Meanwhile, The Citadel trailed Wofford 14-0 at halftime but managed to cut the lead to 14-10, thanks mainly to a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown by Brandon McCladdie. It was the second-longest defensive score in program history. Still, The Citadel is winless after two games for the first time since 1999 when both opponents came from the FCS ranks. The Bulldogs should be a solid favorite in this one as Western Carolina continues to rebuild. Last year, The Citadel won, 45-31.

Projected Score: The Citadel 38, Western Carolina 17


Elon at North Carolina A&T, Saturday, 6 p.m.

The last thing the Phoenix (1-1) need is a red-hot North Carolina A&T (1-0) squad, but that’s what they’re going to get. The Aggies, a MEAC team, are coming off a huge 24-21 upset over Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., their first victory over a ranked opponent since they beat Bethune-Cookman in 2003. It also was their first nonconference road win in four years. Meanwhile, Elon bounced back after its opening-day loss to Georgia Tech to wallop Division II West Virginia Wesleyan, 49-7. Elon registered 538 yards total offense and its offense will be tested against a stingy Aggies’ defense. The Aggies also have a weapon in freshman punter Dominic Frescura, who punted nine times on Saturday and pinned Appalachian State inside its 20 five times.

Projected Score: North Carolina A&T 20, Elon 17


Austin Peay at #24 Chattanooga, Saturday, 6 p.m.

The Mocs (1-1) hope to fare better in their second contest against an Ohio Valley Conference school this year. They lost their opener to Tennessee-Martin. Chattanooga rolled to a 42-14 victory over Georgia State last week as it rushed for 401 yards. Junior Keon Williams led the way with 147 yards. Equally as stout was the Mocs’ defense as it held Georgia State to just 30 yards on 17 rushing attempts. Meanwhile, Austin Peay (0-2) hopes to rebound after opening the season at Tennessee (0-45) and Vanderbilt (3-38). This is the third straight road contest for Austin Peay as it opens the season with five consecutive road games. The Govs don’t play a home game until Oct. 10. This is the first meeting between the two schools since 1968, and Chattanooga leads the series 4-0.

Projected Score: Chattanooga 31, Austin Peay 10


#3 Georgia Southern at #11 Wofford, 7 p.m.

This is not only the big game in the Southern Conference this week, but it’s also a big game in the national rankings, too. Although Georgia Southern (2-0) isn’t eligible to win the Southern Conference title or the FCS playoffs because of its transition to the FBS Sun Belt Conference, it is listed in CSM’s national rankings. Georgia Southern’s games do count for other league teams in the SoCon standings so Wofford (1-1) needs this one if it hopes to compete for a league title. Last year, the Eagles won in Statesboro, Ga., 17-9, breaking a streak of road team victories in the series at seven. After an embarrassing opening-game loss at Baylor, Wofford rebounded last week with a solid 21-10 triumph over The Citadel. Meanwhile, Georgia Southern humbled St. Francis (PA), 59-17, as the Eagles needed only 196 seconds of possession time to score 27 points in the first half. These teams know each other well so there’s no secret what they’ll do. Last year, Wofford was just 4-of-15 on third downs while Georgia Southern was 3-of-10. Both hope to improve on that statistic this weekend. The Eagles’ Dominique Swope had a big game last year with 137 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. Expect another big game from him on Saturday.

Projected Score: Georgia Southern 24, Wofford 13


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns