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CSN So South: Few Surprises, Some Disappointments Highlight Week One
By Myron Hosea, CSN So South Columnist
Realistically, it was going to be difficult to match or exceed the success felt early last year when Appalachian State started 2007 by shocking Michigan. Still, week one had a tinge of disappointment to it for teams in the So South region.
The Southern Conference finished Week One with a winning overall record: 5-4. The conference lost all three of its games against FBS teams, as expected. SoCon teams downed NAIA opponents and both Division II teams. Wofford defeated Presbyterian in the lone So South contest of the week (SoCon versus Big South), helping the SoCon to a 1-1 record for the week against other FCS teams.
The loss came in Elon’s home opener against Richmond of the Colonial Athletic Association and a national semifinalist in 2007. That’s a tough loss for the Phoenix, who seek to increase their playoff worthiness. It also hurts a conference that believes it deserves more than two teams in the FCS playoffs.
It was a good news-bad news kind of week for the Big South. The league went 2-4 in the opening weekend of play (VMI opens this weekend). Two of the losses came to FBS teams while one of the two victories came at the expense of a Division II team. Big South teams played three games against FCS schools, one of them the aforementioned Wofford-PC game.
The bad news stems from Gardner-Webb’s loss at Tennessee Tech. One would consider these teams evenly matched, probably splitting the games if they played 10 times this season. Still, a Bulldogs victory would have been one of those signature victories for the Big South.
On the good news side stands the Stony Brook Seawolves. A first-year football-only member of the Big South, it defeated Colgate, giving the league a triumph against a team from a FCS league with an automatic bid. The Big South could use more of these as its teams are still playing for at-large slots.
What a Great Week
Stony Brook – The Seawolves had a fine start to its first football season as a Big South team. In a conference hungry for signature victories against solid FCS programs, the triumph over Colgate might prove as big for the league as for Stony Brook.
Wait till Next Week
Appalachian State – Over the last three years, the Mountaineers have consistently raised the bar with their stellar performances. Losing to LSU brings no shame to Appalachian State, and it now begins the rest of the season with a game against Jacksonville. Remember, just as they did after beating Michigan last year, the Mountaineers face several opponents that will have much more to say about their push for another title.
Wofford 38, Presbyterian 21
In a game that had to that point been all about offense, a defensive play proved to be a significant moment in Wofford’s season-opening victory.
Wofford moved in front, 17-14, late in the first half when Presbyterian drove to recapture the lead. That’s when Terriers defensive back Jason Leventis intercepted Tim Webb’s pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. That put Wofford ahead by 10 just before half and effectively gave the Terriers the grip they needed.
“Huge. Huge,” Wofford coach Mike Ayers said of the interception. “Hats off to the defense. That’s the one thing about our defense. I think Coach Woody (defensive coordinator Nate Woody) and the staff do a great job. Those guys know that until they cross that last line, nothing matters. All it is is statistics. What we want to do is try to eliminate the points. The points are what beat you. Just a great job on the interception.”
PC head coach Bobby Bentley also used the word “huge” to describe the pick. “Right through our hands. We’ve got to catch that ball. We’ve got to be able to keep the positive momentum that we had and make that play.”
Momentum mattered a great deal. The Blue Hose captured it early when wide receiver Terrance Butler took a Webb pass 57 yards for a 7-0 lead with 13:14 remaining in the first quarter. Presbyterian recovered a Wofford fumble on the ensuing kickoff, setting up Webb’s six-yard scoring toss to running back S. J. Worrell. PC led 14-0 with less than five minutes gone.
Terriers quarterback Ben Widmyer and the offense finally got a shot and made it count. Rolling right, Widmyer found wide receiver Andy Strickland breaking open down the sideline for a 40-yard scoring play with 9:16 to go in the first quarter. Patrick Mugan’s 24-yard field goal at 9:44 in the second cut the lead to 14-10.
After Presbyterian failed on a fourth-and-four play at midfield, the Terriers drove for the go-ahead score. Dane Romero (SoCon Offensive Player of the Week) scored from the one for the lead with 6:34 left in the half.
With help from a Wofford pass interference penalty, the Blue Hose had moved to the Terriers 25. That’s when Leventis made his interception for the score that lengthened Wofford’s lead from three to 10 at the half.
Romero’s one-yard touchdown run early in the second half gave Wofford a 31-14 lead and apparent control. But PC fought back and narrowed the margin to 31-21 with 12:21 left on Webb’s four-yard pass to Butler. In the third quarter, Presbyterian drove inside the Wofford 10, but the Terriers stopped Worrell for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the seven-yard line.
In a clash of styles – Wofford primarily run, PC almost all pass – the teams combined for 894 yards of offense (512 for Wofford, 382 for PC) … Widmyer rushed for 107 yards, Romero 100 … Worrell grabbed 12 passes for 86 yards, Butler eight for 132 … Wofford linebacker Seth Goldwire was in on 10 tackles and broke up passes on third and fourth down of PC’s last viable threat before Wofford went up 38-21.
Ayers: “I told our guys this says a lot about our football team. We dug a pretty deep hole against a pretty good football team, and we came out of it. They (the Blue Hose) know how to play. They know how to execute that offense, and they’re as good as any around.”
Ayers: “We made some adjustments defensively. Basically, we just told the guys to settle down and play their technique. Offensively at the line of scrimmage, we started creating some space, got the ball inside, got the ball outside and then at the end we just took it straight at them.”
Bentley: (on the quick lead early in the game) “It was an awesome feeling. Our guys have worked hard the entire off-season and going into camp, and then you’re out there 14-0 against a top 10 team in the country.”
Bentley: “Our guys have got to learn how to hang onto momentum. Whether it be positive or negative. I think the negative momentum, we held onto it too long. And the positive momentum, we’ve got to ride it. Ours is a momentum offense. We’re momentum athletes. We’ve got to be able to carry that.”
Richmond 28, Elon 10
Big plays made a big difference in a big game as the Richmond Spiders defeated host Elon.
Despite losing its all-star rusher and head coach from last year’s national semifinal team, Richmond came in nationally ranked and represented a signature opportunity for the Phoenix to show the growth of its program. However, two second-half touchdowns, including Josh Vaughan’s 72-yard run early in the fourth quarter, broke open the game and squashed Elon’s hopes for a big victory.
The Spiders launched their season with an 80-yard scoring pass in the first quarter from quarterback Eric Ward to wide receiver Kevin Grayson. Vaughan’s two-yard run early in the second quarter put Richmond in front 14-0.
The Phoenix, picked to finished second in the SoCon, rallied when sophomore quarterback Scott Riddle connected with Bo Williamson for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Placekicker Andrew Wilcox kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
Terrell Hudgins, who has led the SoCon in receiving each of the last two years, caught 10 passes for 78 yards … Riddle threw for 213 yards – well below the team average of 357 in 2007 – on 23 of 39 passing … The Spiders stung the Phoenix defense for 452 total yards.
Elon head coach Pete Lembo: “We felt really good at the half being in a 14-10 game and really felt like we could do what it took to win. Obviously, we’re real disappointed.”
Louisiana State 41, Appalachian State 13
There would be no magical start to the 2008 season for Appalachian State as Louisiana State raced to a big first-half lead en route to winning this matchup of the reining Division I football champions.
While the Tigers’ defense bottled up the Mountaineers, their offense scored on passes from their two new quarterbacks and a touchdown run by running back Charles Scott for a 31-0 halftime lead. Appalachian State finally got scored with 6:06 left in the third quarter when Armanti Edwards and Robert Welton connected on a 44-yard touchdown pass. Jason Vitaris, replacing Julian Rauch as placekicker, booted fourth-quarter field goals of 24 and 44 yards for the rest of the Mountaineers’ points.
Things looked better for the Mountaineers in the second half as they outscored LSU 13-10, though the game was decided by that point.
Now, this big first game and all of the attention it drew is in the past. The Mountaineers can get on with the task of defending their FCS title. Remember, over the last three seasons and one game, Appalachian State has lost just seven times – four to FBS teams and three to SoCon teams.
Scott outrushed Appalachian State 160 yards to 52 … The teams were close in total offensive plays – LSU led 64 to 61 – but the Tigers averaged 7.2 yards per play, the Mountaineers 3.9 …Edwards passed for 155 yards and rushed for 23 … CoCo Hillary excelled in his first game as the go-to receiver, catching nine passes for 80 yards. App State’s linebacking corps of Jacque Roman (SoCon Defensive Player of the Week), D. J. Smith and Pierre Banks paced the defense with 12, 11, and nine tackles, respectively.
Furman 62, Mars Hill 14
The contest could not have gone much better for Furman in game one of a season it hopes will be a turnaround from last year’s 6-5 season. The Paladins rolled to a 38-0 halftime lead on Division II Mars Hill before winning 62-14.
Junior quarterback Jordan Sorrells played a solid game, completing 19 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns. Sopomore runningback Mike Brown rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown.
The news was not all good for the Paladins. R. J. Webb, a receiver with big-play potential who missed much of 2007 with an injury, injured his knee and is out for the season. He caught three passes – one for a score – early before leaving.
The new look Paladin defense, intended to help them attack the speedy spread offenses of the SoCon, played well, limiting the Lions to 172 total yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns.
Furman amassed 486 yards of total offense … The offense displayed balance with 230 rushing yards and 218 passing … Furman used more than 70 players, a welcome opportunity with games against Virginia Tech, Colgate and Delaware on the horizon.
Furman coach Bobby Lamb: “We’re very pleased with our performance. We did what we’ve been doing in practice – executing well without a lot of mistakes. The way we played in the first half was a thing of beauty. We played a lot of guys, and we had a bunch of players step up and make plays.”
The Citadel 54, Webber International 7
It wasn’t the huge margin of last year’s game, but it was large enough as the Bulldogs whipped Webber International.
The Citadel came in looking for a new runningback to replace last year’s standout runner Tory Cooper. Asheton Jordan (SoCon Freshman of the Week) led the Bulldogs’ ground game with two touchdowns and 70 yards. Seven other Bulldogs contributed to the team’s 194 yards rushing.
The Bulldogs were in a position to coast early. They rang up 21 points in the first quarter and led 38-0 at the half. Quarterbacks Bart Blanchard and Cam Turner threw two touchdown passes each. Wide receiver Andre Roberts snared two touchdown passes, including a 78-yarder, and returned a punt 64 yards for a score.
Blanchard, who took over as starting quarterback late last season, started strong, completing 12 of 14 passes … Linebacker Reggie Rice was in on 10 tackles for the Bulldogs … Roberts (SoCon Special Teams Player of the Week) finished with 207 all purpose yards.
The Citadel coach Kevin Higgins: “It was a great first game for us. We really had an opportunity to work up some schemes that we can use for the next opponents that we play. We still have a lot of work to do. We have to find some more guys inside, and we have to continue to get more confident.”
Higgins: “Asheton Jordan had a really great game for himself today. He was one of the freshmen that we were really excited about. He did not let us down.”
Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 21
A young Georgia Southern team went “Between the Hedges” to play the No. 1 FBS team and departed optimistically despite a 24-point loss.
With many inexperienced players and eight others suspended, this game’s boxscore bore many new names on the Georgia Southern side. Two new quarterbacks – redshirt freshman Lee Chapple and sophomore Antonio Henton (an Ohio State transfer) – took the helm of an Eagles offense that will continue to develop. Coach Chris Hatcher has a pass-often history, but he stayed close to the school’s rushing heritage last season. Georgia Southern went balanced Saturday, rushing 35 times and passing 36 times. Another youngster – freshman Darell Norman – led the Eagles in rushing with 60 yards on 12 carries.
Georgia led 24-0 at halftime and extended the lead to 38-0 midway through the third quarter. From there, Georgia Southern outscored the Bulldogs 21-7. Chapple scored on a one-yard run, and Samair Baker ran it in from the two. The third Eagles’ score came with 1:45 remaining when Henton threw 34 yards to Leander Barney.
The Eagles managed 290 yards of offense against a defense considered to be deep and that surrendered just 323 per game a year ago. . . . Georgia Southern did give up 535 yards, however. . . . Chapple and Henton combined for 188 yards passing, completing 19 of 36 attempts.
Hatcher: “We fought for 60 minutes and played very hard. We have a bunch of guys who will come out and fight. As the game went along, the nerves went away.”
Western Carolina 35, Shorter 0 (Thursday night)
The Catamounts put the Shorter College Hawks away early to earn new coach Dennis Wagner a victory in his first game. Scoring 14 points in each of the first two quarters, Western coasted to the home triumph.
Senior quarterback Andy Horn capitalized on his first start, throwing for 254 yards, including touchdown passes to Marquel Pittman in the first quarter and Donald James in the second. His 56-yard pass to Pittman on the Catamounts’ first play from scrimmage set up fellow quarterback Adam Hearns’ four-yard run for the first score.
The dominating performance featured 76 offensive plays for Western to just 42 for Shorter. It enabled Wagner and staff to play three quarterbacks and several other players.
WCU had 477 total yards to 142 for Shorter … The Hawks passed for just 33 yards … James caught nine passes, Pittman six (for 106), Kyle Garland five, and Josh Cockrell four … WCU punter Blake Cain averaged 49.3 yards on his three punts.
Wagner: “I’m really proud of our coaching staff. I’m really proud of our players. It all goes back to them and to all the hard work the coaches put in every day to prepare the team, and to the players buying into what we’re doing.”
Samford 21, West Georgia 19 (Thursday night)
The Samford Bulldogs survived a two-point conversion that could have tied the score late to win the first game a SoCon team has hosted in the state of Alabama. Wolves quarterback Sean Gray connected with Wilson Kimble on an 87-yard scoring pass to pull West Georgia within two of Samford. The pass for two points failed. Kyle Morton’s interception on West Georgia’s next possession sealed the victory.
Samford runningback Chris Evans began his quest for another 1,000-yard rushing season with 180 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. His 54-yard touchdown run with 10:37 left had lifted the Bulldogs to a 21-13 advantage. Placekicker J. P. Fraites made a difference for the Bulldogs by converting all three of his PATs.
The victory over the Division II Wolves represents a key start for Samford, which faces a tough SoCon schedule in the weeks ahead.
Samford held West Georgia to 28 yards rushing, but Gray threw for 315 yards while Kimble hauled in nine passes for 184 yards … Bulldogs quarterbacks Dustin Taliaferro, a true freshman, and Memphis transfer Matt Malouf combined for 185 yards through the air.
Samford head coach Pat Sullivan: “I want to thank our Samford crowd (8,240) and Samford family. What an atmosphere we had to play in tonight. They stayed behind us and helped our guys, and I want to thank them for what they did.”
Oklahoma 57, Chattanooga 2
Ouch. The risk of playing a really good FBS team is that they’ll have a really good game. The Oklahoma Sooners rolled early, leading 50-0 at halftime before coasting to a 57-2 triumph over the Mocs.
The weather did slow the Sooners when halftime lasted more than an hour because of a thunderstorm.
More painful than the score for Chattanooga was having two key offensive starters injured. Runningback Errol Wynn sustained a wrist injury. He and Bryan Fitzgerald both ran for more than 700 yards last year, but Fitzgerald was lost for the season during the summer. The Mocs turned to junior college transfer Shaun Kermah at tailback. Starting quarterback Jere Gault also went out with an injury.
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford completed 17 of his 22 pass attempts while three Chattanooga quarterbacks were 3 of 17 … The Sooners led in first downs 27 to 1 and in total yards 487 to 36.
Mocs defensive end Neil Brown: “It was a great experience for an FCS-level team to play at the No. 4-ranked team in the nation. In the end, our mistakes cost us.”
Big South Games
Stony Brook 42, Colgate 26
What a start for Stony Brook to begin a new chapter in the school’s football history. It spotted Colgate three points and then hit them for 28 unanswered on the way to victory.
Senior runningback Conte Cuttino teamed with freshman Edwin Gowins to lead a stout rushing attack. Cuttino ran for 104 yards and a score while Gowins rushed for 147 and two touchdowns. They were named Big South Offensive and Freshman Players of the Week, respectively.
The Seawolves led 35-6 in the third quarter before Colgate managed its first touchdown. Gowins added a 20-yard run in the third to put Stony Brook ahead 42-12. Colgate added two more scores to trim the margin, but neither team scored in the last 14:54.
Colgate completed just 10 of its 22 passes against the Seawolves defense. New starting cornerback Chris Richards of Stony Brook was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week after intercepting two passes, including the first pass thrown his way.
In the ever-important matter of field position, Seawolves punter Luke Gaddis booted three inside of the 20 and average more than 42 yards a kick … New starting Stony Brook quarterback Dayne Hoffman completed eight of 16 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown.
Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore: “We performed very well on both sides of the ball in the first half. We might have scored a little too quickly in the second half and lost our concentration a bit. We are a better football team than we played at times in the second half. But we came back and made crucial stops and controlled the ball in the fourth quarter.”
Liberty 49, North Greenville 10
The Flames opened their season of promise by breezing past North Greenville 49-10 in Lynchburg, Va. Runningback Rashad Jennings, the preseason Big South Offensive Player of the Year, led the way with 100 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
In posting their ninth straight home victory, the Flames scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters. Also, the expected leaders of the offense took center stage. Runningback Zach Terrell opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run. Jennings then scored the next two touchdowns. Quarterback Brock Smith teamed with wide receiver Dominic Bolden on a 48-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Even though the Crusaders from the Upstate of South Carolina ran 72 plays to Liberty’s 57, they could manage only 247 yards.
Smith threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 14 of 17 passing. He was sacked three times, though … Bolden and Jonathan Crawford (Big South Special Teams Player of the Week) led the receivers with five catches each … Terrell added 70 yards rushing as the Flames finished with 241 on the ground.
Miami, Fla. 52, Charleston Southern 7 (Thursday)
Charleston Southern ran headlong into a hungry Miami team in the first contest of its Miami twinbill. The Hurricanes – playing its first home game in Dolphin Stadium – scored on their first two possessions and added a punt return for a touchdown to lead 21-0 after one quarter. Miami built a 35-0 lead before the Bucs scored on Tribble Reese’s two-yard pass to Tyrese Harris in the third quarter.
The game marked Reese’s debut as Charleston Southern’s quarterback after transferring from Clemson. He completed 10 of 21 passes for 81 yards, and Miami sacked him three times. On a night of few pluses for the Bucs, they were even in the turnover category – each team lost one fumble.
Miami 224 rushing, CSU 49 … Bucs wide receiver Gerald Stevenson had 143 all-purpose yards … Preseason All-Big South wide receiver Dee Brown caught four passes for 24 yards.
Bucs head coach Jay Mills: “I think that both programs, us as we try to achieve national prominence at the FCS level, and Miami as they try to restore national prominence at the FBS level, are headed in the right direction.”
Reese: “I think our game plan was good. Miami just came out and played really well and put pressure on us. We just have to get everyone on the same page to execute our offense as well as we know we can.”
Tennessee Tech 28, Gardner-Webb 12 (Thursday night)
Tennessee Tech scored 15 points in a seven-minute stretch of the second quarter to take control and defeat the Running Bulldogs.
It was a disappointing start for Gardner-Webb, which returned almost every starter. The Bulldogs defense allowed the Golden Eagles only 262 total yards, but could muster only 280 yards of their own. Gardner-Webb didn’t find the end zone until 5:52 remained.
Leading 7-3 in the second quarter, the Eagles began their brief surge with a four-yard touchdown run by Henry Sailes. On the next series, a bad snap on a Gardner-Webb punt resulted in a safety. Of course, Tech got the ball following the safety and capitalized with a nine-play, 59-yard scoring drive and a 22-3 lead.
Ryan Gates kicked field goals of 41 and 18 yards for the Bulldogs. The lone touchdown came courtesy of runningback Philip Peoples on a one-yard run.
GWU quarterback Stan Doolittle threw for 235 yards on 28 of 41 passing … In his first game as the No. 1 receiver, Dobson Collins snared eight passes for 67 yards. Tre Perry added seven catches for 68 yards … The teams combined for a meager 108 yards rushing.
Penn State 66, Coastal Carolina 10
Ouch, part 2. Coastal Carolina’s first game ever against a FBS team did not go well.
Penn State scored first with 11:02 to go in the first quarter and led 38-7 at halftime. The initial Chanticleer touchdown of 2008 came on a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach McDowell to wide receiver Trent Usher. Penn State continued its assault on the scoreboard in the second half, rolling up 28 more points before Coastal’s Justin Durham booted a 31-yard field goal.
Eight Chanticleers caught passes, led by Usher (three for 50 yards) and runningback Eric O’Neal (three for 40) … Thirteen Nittany Lions caught passes … Coastal managed just 1.6 yards per carry on 32 rushes … Time of possession isn’t always that good of a statistic: Penn State led in TOP just 30:29 to 29:31.
Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett: “We learned what big-time football is about. You can’t slouch on training in the weight room, running, things you need to do. We knew coming in that we had to win battles. We’re proud of our guys. They had a couple of drives and had the drive for the field goal at the end.”
Games of Sept. 6
[Due to Tropical Storm Hanna’s expected landfall along the South Carolina coast, Big South football members Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina announced game changes for this weekend’s action. Charleston Southern’s 1:30pm home game vs. Wofford on Saturday has now been moved to Spartanburg and will be played at Gibbs Stadium on Saturday.
Coastal Carolina’s 7:00pm home game Saturday with Colgate has been moved to Sunday, Sept. 7 at 1:00pm at Brooks Stadium. More information on these games, as well as any additional changes to Saturday’s Big South football schedule, will be announced once determined.]
Jacksonville (1-0) at Appalachian State (0-1), 3:30 p.m.
The quest for FCS title No. 4 begins here, and the guest contestant for Appalachian’s home opener is Jacksonville, a nonscholarship program from the Pioneer Conference. Jacksonville won its opener 20-7 over Savannah State. It’s likely the Mountaineers have an opportunity this week to get their game fully adjusted following the LSU loss. This is the first time the Dolphins and the Mountaineers have met.
The Citadel (1-0) at Clemson (0-0), 3:30 p.m.
The Citadel travels to the other side of the state to face a Clemson team smarting from a smacking in its opener with Alabama. What will be Clemson’s frame of mind Death Valley? Will it be bent on renewing its pride or will it still be down? The Citadel had an opportunity in week one to work through its early season kinks. The Bulldogs have played their fellow South Carolina school 35 times. Clemson has dominated by a count of 29-5-1. The last time The Citadel beat Clemson was 6-0 in 1931 in a game played in Florence.
Cumberland (1-0) at Chattanooga (0-1), 6 p.m.
Talk about going to extremes. One week after losing large to one of the top teams in the FBS (Oklahoma), the Mocs host Cumberland University, a NAIA team from Lebanon, Tenn. The Bulldogs defeated Campbellsville University 48-38 in their opener. With a game at Florida State next week, the Mocs need to use this contest to regroup on both sides of the ball. Chattanooga leads this series 4-0-2, but the teams have not played since 1925.
Elon (0-1) at Stony Brook (1-0), 3 p.m.
Elon entered the 2008 season with an opportunity to challenge for the SoCon title and build a resume outside of the conference. The loss to Richmond hurts and makes each game important for the Phoenix. Meanwhile, Stony Brook turned some heads with its performance against Colgate, raising the profile of this contest. The Phoenix defeated the Seawolves 38-23 at Elon in the 2007 season finale. That’s the only time these teams have played.
Faulkner (0-0) at Samford (1-0), 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs look for improvement from week one to week two as they host NAIA program Faulkner from Montgomery, Ala. The Eagles will be opening their season and are coming off an 0-9 2007 season. Samford and Faulkner are meeting for the first time.
Fayetteville State (1-0) at Presbyterian (0-1), 1:30 p.m.
Presbyterian opens its home slate here. The Division II Broncos knocked off FCS member North Carolina Central 33-22 Sunday afternoon. The Broncos, who gave up 284 yards passing to NC Central, will have to deal with an even more prolific PC passing attack. The Blue Hose have defeated Fayetteville State both times the teams have played.
Furman (1-0) at Virginia Tech (0-1), 1:30 p.m.
The Paladins will visit Blacksburg for the Hokies’ first home game. They’ll catch Virginia Tech smarting from a stinging loss to East Carolina in week one. Furman had an opportunity in week one to ease into its offensive and defensive updates, which will come in handy on this trip. The Hokies own a 4-0 mark against Furman. These teams have not played since 1947.
Austin Peay (0-1) at Georgia Southern (0-1), 6 p.m.
The Governors of Austin Peay haven’t shied away from tough games. They opened against highly ranked North Dakota State, losing 41-6. Now they travel to storied Paulson Stadium to face another Top 25 team in Georgia Southern. The Eagles’ young players received valuable experience in the loss at Georgia. The Austin Peay game begins a run of four straight at home for Georgia Southern. This is the first game between the two schools.
Glenville State (1-0) at Liberty (1-0), 7 p.m.
Liberty welcomes Glenville State, a Division II team, to Lynchburg for game two. The Pioneers defeated Lock Haven 30-0 in their season opener. Liberty coasted to victory over North Greenville in week one. It’s another good tuneup for Liberty, which goes on the road to face Western Carolina, Youngstown State and Coastal Carolina over the next three games. The Flames lead this series 3-0.
Tusculum (1-0) at Gardner-Webb (0-1), 6 p.m.
Coming off a disappointing road loss to Tennessee Tech, the Bulldogs will try to get back on track against Division II Tusculum. The Pioneers opened with a 40-0 victory over Charleston, W.Va. These teams have played three times previously with Gardner-Webb winning each time.
St. Francis (Pa.) (0-0) at VMI (0-0), 1:30 p.m.
Sparky Woods makes his debut as the Keydets’ head coach in this home game against St. Francis (Pa.). This also is the first game of the season for the Red Flash. Woods and his new staff have accepted the challenge of creating a winning program in Lexington, and they hope to get started in the right way against this Northeast Conference opponent. It’s the first meeting between these schools.
Western Carolina (1-0) at Florida State (0-0), 6 p.m.
In Tallahassee, Western Carolina will find a Florida State team ready to start its season but lacking many players. Several starters are among those still out from last year’s suspensions, and the Seminoles have lost a few more players to injuries in practice. The Catamounts won their season opener easily, but they will find a great deal of difference between Shorter and a short-staffed Florida State team. The Seminoles lead the series 2-0.
Wofford (1-0) vs. Charleston Southern (0-1)
This game features another Big South-SoCon matchup as well as a second straight intrastate contest for the Terriers. Wofford fought off another Big South team when it defeated Presbyterian in week one. Charleston Southern is coming off a large loss to Miami. It’s a tough way to start the season for the Buccaneers, playing a Top 25 FCS team in between two FBS teams. Wofford has won all 10 games in this series.
Games of Sept. 7
Colgate (0-1) vs. Coastal Carolina (0-1), 1 p.m.
It’s a fresh start for the Chanticleers as they play a Red Raider team that got stung by Coastal’s Big South brethren at Stony Brook. CCU will seek to shake off the whipping it received from Penn State in week one and to make a run at the Big South title and an at-large playoff bid. This is the first game between the two teams.
* * *
News and Notes
As Hurricane Gustav raised concerns in the Gulf states, Tulane University once again relocated its football team for practices. Samford has opened its doors, and Tulane will practice at Seibert Stadium this week. The Green Wave open their season this week at Alabama. Other teams from Tulane are expected to call Samford home for a while.
Liberty has consistently been one of the top 20 draws at home in all of FCS and by far the tops in attendance in the Big South. The Flames continued to bring in the fans in the home opener as 15,311 – the second-largest home crowd in school history – attended the game against North Greenville.