SoCon Week 11 FCS Football Game Breakdowns

George Hammond


Week 11 Southern Conference Breakdowns

It has come down to this: If Chattanooga (7-2, 5-1) defeats Wofford (5-3, 4-1) on Saturday, then knocks off Samford (6-3, 4-1) in Birmingham, Ala., on Nov. 16, the Mocs will win the Southern Conference. A split of the two games and all kinds of scenarios pop up, so to make it easy, the ball is in the Mocs’ court. While Samford’s loss to The Citadel on Saturday hurts its at-large playoff chances, the Bulldogs are still in the hunt for the SoCon title, especially if Chattanooga knocks off Wofford this weekend. In that scenario, the Chattanooga-Samford game could decide the title.


Appalachian State at Georgia, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

When this game was scheduled a few years ago, it seemed as if it might be an interesting game. Not now. The Mountaineers (2-7, 2-4) probably just want to get this season over with and facing the Bulldogs isn’t going to help. Of course, there was that game in Ann Arbor in 2007 but that seems long ago. App State fell to Chattanooga 35-28 on Saturday as the Mountaineers moved to the Mocs’ 9-yard line in the final minute but couldn’t score the tying TD. As has been the case in three of its seven losses, App State had more yardage than its opponent (424-355). Quarterback Kameron Bryant completed 26-of-36 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target was Malachi Jones, who set career-highs with nine receptions for 74 yards. Meanwhile, Saturday’s game is Homecoming for Georgia, which is 72-17-2 in Homecoming contests. The Bulldogs (5-3, 4-2) are coming off a 23-20 victory over Florida.

Projected Score: Georgia 45, Appalachian State 17


Samford at Furman, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Samford ‘s (6-3, 4-1) loss to The Citadel hurt its chances for an at-large FCS playoff bid, but it still can win the Southern Conference title if it wins on Saturday, then defeats Chattanooga the following week. Samford built a 17-0 advantage over The Citadel, only to see the Bulldogs rally for a 28-26 victory. Samford, which trailed 28-20, scored a touchdown to make it 28-26 with 1:22 remaining, but its two-point conversion try to tie the score failed. Meanwhile, Furman (4-5, 3-2) stunned Georgia Southern, 16-14, for its third win in its last four tries in Statesboro. Hank McCloud had 102 yards on 17 carries for Furman – his fourth 100-yard effort of the season. Georgia Southern rushed for 283 yards, but was held 120 yards under its season total offense average of 471 yards. While Furman figures to be fired up on its home turf, the Paladins don’t possess the offensive firepower needed to keep up with Samford. Look for Samford to rebound in this one.

Projected Score: Samford 24, Furman 14


The Citadel at Elon, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

The Bulldogs (3-6, 3-4) will bring their No. 4-ranked nationally rushing attack to Elon where the Phoenix (2-7, 1-4) hope to at least slow it down a little. The Citadel won a thriller over Samford last week and figure to be sky-high for this one. The Citadel is averaging 282.3 yards on the ground and Elon struggles to stop the run. The Phoenix, which is coming off a bye week, are ranked 105th in the nation in rushing defense so it will be no secret what The Citadel will try to do. Last year, The Citadel triumphed 38-24.

Projected Score: The Citadel 31, Elon 13


#18 Wofford at #22 Chattanooga, Saturday, 2 p.m.

There’s little doubt this was one of the big games circled on Chattanooga’s schedule this year, and it’s become a must-win, too. The Mocs are coming off that big win against Appalachian State, their first win in Boone, N.C. in 30 years, but they face a stern test this weekend. This is the second five-game winning streak in the last four seasons, but the first time Chattanooga has won five straight league games since joining the SoCon in 1977. The Mocs are one of the top teams nationally in pass defense, but they’ll need to stop the run – Wofford’s bread and butter – to beat the Terriers. Chattanooga is 67th nationally against the run while the Terriers are fifth in the nation (273.4 ypg). The Terriers are coming off a bye week and after Saturday, finish with games against Appalachian State and Furman. Last year, Wofford beat Chattanooga 16-13 in overtime as Eric Breitenstein rushed for 132 yards on 28 carries. But Breitenstein is gone. Meanwhile, Mocs’ quarterback Jacob Huesman threw for 229 yards against Wofford last year and rushed for another 68 yards. Expect Huesman to be the key again this time. With this game in Chattanooga, you have to go with the home team.

Projected Score: Chattanooga 24, Wofford 20


Western Carolina at Georgia Southern, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Can the Catamounts start a winning streak? Western Carolina (2-7, 1-4) had a bye this weekend to savor even longer its first SoCon victory since 2010 with its overtime triumph against Elon. The victory over a Division I team snapped 33 and 26-game (SoCon) losing streaks, respectively, for the Catamounts. They hit the road for a game in Statesboro, Ga., where Georgia Southern (4-4, 2-4) has been a disappointment. The Eagles, who will move to the FBS Sun Belt Conference next year and are not eligible for the league title or the FCS playoffs this season, have been up and down all year. Eagles’ quarterback Jerick McKinnon leads the offense and is within striking distance of 1,000 yards rushing this season. He has 857 yards. Look for the Eagles to give a spirited effort in this one.

Projected score: Georgia Southern 34, Western Carolina 20


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