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« 11/17/08 Gridiron Power Index (GPI), James Madison is No. 1CSN Down South: Ball Dropped as UCA Claims Share of First Place »

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CSN So South: Mountaineers Capture Key Late-Season SoCon Contest

floated rightBy Myron Hosea, CSN So South Columnist

Saturday’s game at the Rock in Boone, N.C., bore the marks of a classic big game with no less than a conference title and an automatic playoff berth on the line. The weather added to the atmosphere with strong winds, rain and even some snow (at game time the wind chill was 38 degrees with winds at 23 mph).

Plus, you had the preseason SoCon No. 1 – Appalachian State – hosting the preseason SoCon No. 2 – Elon. And those teams had held to the script, coming in one and two with the winner getting at least a share of the conference title and likely the automatic berth.

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The teams delivered. Overcoming an early 14-0 Mountaineer advantage, the Phoenix rallied to take a brief second-half lead. Then Appalachian State regained the lead and held off two late Elon possessions to earn a 24-16 victory.

“This was a great college football game,” Elon coach Pete Lembo said. “I think there was about 25,000 [actual attendance was 24,831], and everybody got their money’s worth, that’s for sure.

“It had a playoff feel to it,” he added. “It was definitely a heavyweight bout.”

Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore concurred. “It was a great football game, obviously. A classic. It was such a great thing for us to win four championships in a row. I’m just so proud of these players. … Guys just kind of keep stepping up. It’s been a rewarding year for all of the things that we believe in.”

With the triumph, the Mountaineers clinch at least a share of the SoCon title. That’s four straight they’ve won or shared. Only longtime rival Western Carolina stands between Appalachian State and an unbeaten run to sole ownership of the SoCon title and the automatic bid that comes with it.

Mountaineers’ quarterback Armanti Edwards produced his 17th career 100-yard rushing game, and he threw for three touchdowns. He also gave the home crowd anxious moments, spending parts of the second half on the sidelines because of injuries. He said afterward that he suffered a hip-pointer on a third-quarter scramble and a bruise of his right knee getting flipped in the air earlier in the game.

The Mountaineers took the opening kickoff and threatened to score immediately. Edwards took off on a long run, but Elon’s Cameron McGlenn forced a fumble that teammate Karlos Sullivan recovered.

Elon appeared ready to take advantage of the turnover, driving to the Appalachian State 31. On fourth down at that spot, it turned to Andrew Wilcox, who had hit 20 of 22 field-goal attempts coming in. Holder Brandon Lane bobbled the snap, and the field goal went wide left.

The Phoenix’s normally sound kicking game came up short a few times. Wilcox had a PAT go wide right in the second half, and a 41-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter hit the crossbar.

“Our kicking game has been one of our real strengths this year,” Lembo said. “Obviously, we didn’t perform up to expectations there today. When you get in tight games like this that can make all the difference in the world, but our kicker’s had a great season, and he’s helped get us to this point.”

After that initial Elon field-goal attempt failed, Edwards took the Mountaineers on a scoring drive. He ran four times for 40 yards and completed two passes for 22 yards, the second going to tight end Ben Jorden for a 13-yard touchdown. Appalachian State led 7-0 with 4:02 remaining in the opening quarter.

Elon punted on its next possession, and the Mountaineers doubled their lead with a 78-yard drive. Edwards, who completed his first six pass attempts and completed 12 of 14 for the game, found wide receiver Matt Cline wide open as Elon’s coverage broke down, resulting in a 33-yard touchdown pass. The Mountaineers led 14-0 with 12:29 left in the first half.

That’s where the Phoenix held true to that name and began to rally. After a series of short passes and runs, quarterback Scott Riddle found wide receiver Bo Williamson slanting in. Williamson took the pass and raced by Mountaineer defenders for a 55-yard touchdown pass and a 14-7 game.

Later in the quarter, Elon’s Zach Henderson recovered Josh Johnson’s fumble on a punt return at the Appalachian State 19. The Phoenix would get to the 4 before Wilcox booted a 21-yard field goal with 18 seconds left before halftime. The Mountaineers went into the break with a 14-10 lead.

“Our kids hung in there,” Lembo said. “We told them all week that we were going to stick to the plan even if there were some setbacks early, and we did that.”

The Phoenix came out of the locker room intent on holding the momentum. Riddle and runningback Brandon Newsome led the Phoenix on a nine-play, 64-yard drive to capture the lead. Newsome ran five times on the drive for 38 yards. Riddle hit three of four passes. On the last one, he found Elon’s leading receiver – Terrell Hudgins – in man-to-man coverage, getting him the ball in the end zone for the 13-yard touchdown pass (Hudgins’ first catch of the game). That’s when Wilcox’s extra-point attempt went wide right, but Elon led 16-14.

Briefly. In typical Mountaineer style, they responded quickly, needing just four plays. On the second, Edwards hit Tavaris Washington for 25 yards. Two plays later, he connected with Brian Quick for a 22-yard touchdown pass, and Appalachian State led 21-16 with 9:49 remaining in the third quarter.

The teams traded possessions before Elon started a drive late in the third and into the fourth. That one ended on the field goal that hit the crossbar.

Edwards returned to the field on the next possession, but his pass attempt on first down sailed high and was intercepted. “I tried to throw it,” Edwards said. “My hip wouldn’t let me turn like I wanted to. I couldn’t get enough on it.”

Penalties nullified the play, but backup quarterback DeAndre Presley again filled in for Edwards. The freshman quarterback would make a couple of plays that led to more points.

On third and six at the Elon 42, Presley threw 18 yards to Jorden for a first down. Then, on second and 15, he ran for 10 yards and followed that with an eight-yard run for another first down. That put the Mountaineers in position for Jason Vitaris to hit a 24-yard field goal for an eight-point cushion with 9:03 left.

“I think it (the drive Presley led) was very crucial,” Moore said. “At worse it was going to be a tie at that point. I think it’s huge for him. I think it’s huge for our football team. You’ve got a guy like that, he knows now, too, that he can come in and do those things.”

On the ensuing possession, the Phoenix found themselves facing fourth and one on their 40. Elon went for it, and Mountaineer defenders Lanston Tanyi and D.J. Smith stopped Newsome for no gain.

Elon forced Appalachian State to punt, though, giving the Phoenix one more shot beginning at their 20. Riddle ran 15 yards to convert on a third down early in the possession. He would later run for two yards on fourth and one to keep the drive going. After getting a first down at the Appalachian State 32, however, Riddle’s next four passes went incomplete, and the Mountaineers celebrated the big victory.

Afterward, Moore said he hoped his team would continue its style of focusing only on the next game, not what might be ahead in the playoffs. He also said he could be among the walking wounded joining Edwards in the training room. A player’s helmet hit him in the right thigh on a sideline play, leaving him with a sore leg after the game.

Lembo praised his players for their effort. “Anybody who knows me even just casually knows that I hate to lose and never accept losing and there’s never any moral victories. But those feelings are secondary right now to how extremely, extremely proud I am of our football team. We absolutely played our tails off today. We just slugged it out with these guys.”

Elon now travels to Lynchburg, Va. for a critical game against Big South champ Liberty. Both teams are ranked, and both are seeking at-large berths to the playoffs. (More later on this game.)

Key Stats
Edwards ran for 104 yards and threw for 147. … Newsome led all rushers with 118 yards on 25 carries. … Riddle threw for 196 yards on 20 of 39 passes. … While Hudgins caught just three passes, Williamson snared five and Sean Jeffcoat stepped up with seven catches. … Linebacker Brandon Wiggins led Elon with 14 tackles while his counterpart on Appalachian State, Jacque Roman, was credited with 10.

Quotes
Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards on the touchdown passes: “We knew they were going to bite on our play-action passes. When we ran our play-action sweeps, everybody in the secondary would always come down, and they had their eyes on the backfield, so we knew we could sneak past them.”

Elon quarterback Scott Riddle on Appalachian State’s defensive plan for wide receiver Terrell Hudgins: “They stacked a guy on top of him. They did a good job of making me use my other receivers. For the most part, everybody stepped up, and when they did give Terrell one-on-one coverage he made them pay with the touchdown. They did what we thought they were going to do. It was a good game. We just didn’t come out on top. That would have been great. Things could have been a little different. A couple of plays here, a couple of plays there.”

What a Great Week

Appalachian State and Liberty – The Mountaineers clinched at least a share of their fourth straight SoCon title with its eight-point home victory over Elon. Liberty won its second straight Big South title last week, but this week made it two unbeaten conference records in a row. They need to beat Elon at home Saturday to bolster its at-large playoff hopes.

Wait till Next Week

Furman – Losing at home to Georgia Southern ended the Paladins’ opportunity for an at-large playoff berth. Now, it will have to focus on getting to eight victories by upsetting rival Wofford on the road in the regular-season finale.

The Games of Nov. 15

Georgia Southern 17, Furman 10

When he was leading the Valdosta State football program to national prominence on the Division II level, Chris Hatcher was known for his wide-open, pass-first offenses. Georgia Southern relived those days at Furman, returning the favor from last year and knocking the Paladins from the playoffs.

Georgia Southern finished its season 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the SoCon, including a series of narrow losses to the league’s top three teams: Appalachian State, Elon and Wofford. Hatcher now has posted winning records in each of his first two seasons in Statesboro.

The Eagles showed their intent right from the start, sending Lee Chapple out as the starting quarterback and putting the ball in the air. Chapple attempted five passes on the opening possession. Steve Cundari went up in the air and caught a 32-yard touchdown pass falling back in the end zone for the first score with 12:17 to go in the first half.

Chapple (SoCon Offensive Player of the Week) and Cundari teamed again in the second quarter for a six-yard touchdown pass that put the Eagles ahead 14-0 with 11:24 remaining in the second quarter. The teams traded field goals, and Georgia Southern led 17-3 at halftime.

Chapple completed 29 of 40 passes for 260 yards in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Eagle defense was locking up the Paladin offense. Furman mustered just 99 yards in the first half, 50 of them coming on the late drive for the field goal.

In the second half, neither team produced much offense. Furman scored the only points on Tersoo Uhaa’s two-yard run with 6:25 remaining.

Furman attempted to tie the game or even take the lead in the final minutes, but the Eagles’ defense held. Georgia Southern had moved to Furman’s 47 but chose to punt on fourth and one at that spot. The Paladins then drove 59 yards from their 17 to the Georgia Southern 24 where it faced a fourth and five with 1:17 remaining.

The Eagles forced quarterback Jordan Sorrells out of the pocket. He threw on the run, but Georgia Southern defensive back K. R. Snipes intercepted at the Eagles three to seal the victory.

Key Stats
Chapple finished with 39 completions in 56 attempts with just one interception and one sack. He threw for 323 yards. … Five backs and receivers did a lot of the damage for the Eagles: Raja Andrews caught eight passes for 82 yards, Zeke Rozier six for 32, Leander Barney six for 20, Tim Camp five for 60, and Jarrell Crawford five for 18. … Uhaa led Furman with 79 yards rushing. … Adam Mims and David Hendrix grabbed five passes each for the Paladins. … Georgia Southern linebacker Dion Dubose (SoCon Defensive Player of the week) made 10 tackles (nine solos) and two sacks.

Quotes
Georgia Southern coach Chris Hatcher: “I am very proud of our team. It was a defensive battle, especially in the second half. Our defense has been playing really well the last four weeks, and they played great today. We talked about if we executed our game plan defensively, we really felt good about stopping them, and we sure enough did. How fitting it is we got a fourth down stop, something that had plagued us all season long. We were due for one.”

Furman coach Bobby Lamb: “We’re obviously disappointed we couldn’t win the game. I don’t think anybody other than the guys on our sideline thought we had a chance when we went into the fourth quarter, but we never gave up. You have to give Georgia Southern credit. They are very athletic, especially on defense, and that hurt us today.”

Wofford 28, Samford 7
Wofford stayed on track for an at-large playoff bid by grabbing a road victory at Samford.

The Terriers earned the triumph by controlling the ball and bottling up Samford’s favorite offensive tactics. Wofford held the SoCon’s leading rusher, Samford’s Chris Evans, to his lowest rushing output of the season, just 43 yards on 13 carries. For the most part, the Terriers also kept freshman quarterback Dustin Taliaferro from hitting quick strikes. He did throw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Riley Hawkins in the third quarter for the Bulldogs’ lone score.

Meanwhile, Wofford’s offense played keep-away. The Terriers rushed 73 times for 349 yards and completed six passes for 119 yards. They won time of possession 44:53 to 15:07.

Dane Romero once again paced the Wofford ground attack with more than 100 yards and two touchdowns – both two-yard runs in the first half. Stev Davitte started the Wofford scoring with a three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Quarterback Ben Widmyer connected with Justice Joslin for a 38-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

Key Stats
Romero rushed for 124 yards on 27 carries while Mike Rucker added 118 yards on 13 carries. … Wofford’s defense limited Samford to just 186 yards of total offense. … Samford defenders Bryce Smith, Rodney Shepard, and Quinton Smith all finished in double figures in tackles. … With Samford running just 47 offensive plays, no Wofford defender had more than five tackles.

Quotes
Wofford coach Mike Ayers: “A big part of our game plan was to keep the ball away from them. We felt they were very explosive offensively with the top rusher in the league. We felt like if we could keep it away from them, it would give us a better opportunity to win the game. It was a fun game to watch. It was a great win against a heck of a football team.”

Samford coach Pat Sullivan: “You have to give Wofford credit. They’re an outstanding football team. With their style and the things they do, they can frustrate you.”

Liberty 30, Gardner-Webb 10
Liberty scored 21 second-quarter points en route to a home victory over Gardner-Webb. It was the Flames’ 11th consecutive Big South triumph and gives them two straight years of going unbeaten in the league.

With Liberty leading 3-0, runningback Rashad Jennings ran six yards for a touchdown with 9:12 to go in the first half. The Flames intercepted a Devin Campbell pass on the Bulldogs’ first play following the kickoff. It took Liberty one play to go up 17-0. Quarterback Brock Smith threw 25 yards to Jonathan Crawford for the touchdown.

Following a Ryan Gates field goal for Gardner-Webb, Smith tossed a screen pass Dominc Bolden who took it 31 yards for a touchdown and a 24-3 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown in the fourth quarter following a 13-play, 91-yard drive. Patrick Hall capped it with a one-yard scoring run. Gardner-Webb missed other opportunities to score. It turned it over downs at the Liberty 39 in the first quarter, fumbled it away on the Liberty 37 late in the second quarter, lost a fumble at the Liberty one in the third quarter and another at the Liberty 23 in the fourth. Plus, Liberty threw an interception in the end zone late in the game.

Flames placekicker Ben Shipps (Big South Special Teams Player of the Week) booted two 28-yard field goals.

Key Stats
Jennings had his string of 100-yard games end as he played sparingly in the second half. He finished with 56 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving. … Flames runningback Zach Terrell returned to rush for 84 yards, and he completed one of two passes for 14 yards. … Crawford and Bolden combined for eight catches for 165 yards. … Dobson Collins turned in another big performance for the Bulldogs, catching 10 passes for 109 yards. … Flames linebacker Nick Hurskey (Big South Defensive Player of the Week) made 15 tackles, including three for losses and one sack. He also forced a fumble.

Stony Brook 40, VMI 26
Seawolves coach Chuck Priore said recently the team had decided running the football would be its identity to close out the season. Well, yeah.

For the second straight week, Stony Brook runningbacks Edwin Gowins and Conte Cuttino both topped 200 yards rushing en route to the Seawolves Big South triumph. The victory clinches a winning record (3-2) in Stony Brook’s first season playing Big South football. The Seawolves finished 5-6 overall.

Gowins (Big South Offensive Player of the Week) rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries while Cuttino added 233 yards on 28 carries.

The Seawolves grabbed the early lead with two touchdowns in the game’s first five minutes. Those came on a Gowins’ 36-yard run and an eight-yard scoring pass from Dayne Hoffman to Dwayne Eley. VMI’s Tim Maypray cut the lead to 13-7 with a 60-yard scoring run.

Trailing 20-10 at the break, VMI narrowed the gap to three on Howard Abegesah’s two-yard touchdown run with 6:38 left in the third quarter. A short time later, Gowins ran 65 yards for a score, but the Keydets added two points by blocking and returning the extra point.

Stony Brook wrapped a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns – one of them a 32-yard run by Gowins – around a VMI score to produce the final of 40-26.

Key Stats
Eley caught six pass for 104 yards. … Abegesah ran for 109 yards on 22 carries. … Maypray finished with 99 yards on 18 carries. … These teams, which emphasize the rush, combined for 811 yards on the ground on 113 carries.

Quotes
Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore: “I am proud of the entire team. It took some believing after the way we started the season, which did not happen right away. If you have talented players, they will find the right mechanism to make things work. I go back to the goal-line stand we made against Charleston Southern. We followed that up with a 98-yard drive, and I think that turned our season around.”

Coastal Carolina 21, Presbyterian 13
The Chanticleers scored 21 second-quarter points and made them stand up to win a road game at Presbyterian College.

Coastal Carolina moves to 6-5 overall with this victory over Big South foe Presbyterian, but the triumph doesn’t count in the conference standings because the Blue Hose are in the transition phase from Division II.

The Blue Hose threatened early by driving 47 yards to the Coastal 17. Mario Carter ran for a score from that spot, but a holding penalty nullified the touchdown. On the next play, Chanticleer defensive back Josh Norman (Big South Freshman of the Week) intercepted a pass at the four to end the drive.

Presbyterian did score first as Chetyuane Reeder scored on a 16-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Trailing 7-0, Coastal dominated the remainder of the quarter. Quarterback Zach MacDowall got it started with a 38-yard touchdown run with 12:46 to go. Seven minutes later, MacDowall hit Keith Graham for an eight-yard touchdown pass and a lead the Chanticleers wouldn’t relinquish. Racheed Gause capped the second-quarter scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run.

The Blue Hose cut into the lead with 5:41 left in the third quarter when quarterback Brandon Miley found Reeder for a 67-yard scoring pass. Coastal blocked the extra point for the 21-13 final.

Key Stats
The Chanticleers ran for 246 yards, with Jamie Fordham getting 91 of them on 19 carries. … Miley completed 23 of 44 passes for 283 yards but suffered two interceptions and five sacks. … Coastal linebacker D.J. Rice contributed eight tackles, recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass. … Defensive backs Anthony McKnight and Bo Tribble led PC’s defense with 15 and 11 tackles, respectively. … Besides his interception, Norman made six solo tackles and broke up a pass.

Charleston Southern 48, Edward Waters 6
Charleston Southern scored 35 first-half points and coasted to victory over Edward Waters, clinching an unbeaten record at home and at least a six-victory season.

Quarterback Tribble Reese once again had a hand in many of those early scores. In the first period, he connected with Gerald Stevenson for a 30-yard touchdown pass. After Edward Waters had trimmed the score to 7-6, Reese found Clayton Coffman for a five-yard touchdown pass and a 14-6 lead after one period.

In the second quarter, Reese hit Markus Murry for a 46-yard touchdown pass and ran 10 yards for another score. With T.J. Latimore’s six-yard touchdown run, the Buds led 35-6 at halftime. Reese and backup quarterback Gabe Gilmour each tossed a touchdown pass in the second half.

This is only the third time in the 18-season history of Charleston Southern football that the Bucs have won more than five games in a season (all three under head coach Jay Mills).

Key Stats
Reese attempted only 14 passes, but he completed 10 for 163 yards and the four touchdowns. … Murry had the first 100-yard receiving game in his career, finishing with five receptions. … Stevenson tallied 125 yards of total offense. … The Bucs’ defense turned in another solid performance. It allowed only 236 yards and made five sacks.

The Citadel 24, Chattanooga 21
Citadel wide receiver/punt returner Andre Roberts wrote another chapter in his book of legends at the school, returning a punt 43 yards with 1:46 left to lift the Bulldogs.

Robert’s return – which comes one week after a 14-catch performance – led to the 450th victory in the history of Citadel football, something the team had failed to reach during a six-game losing streak. The return also kept Chattanooga winless in the SoCon with one game remaining in head coach Rodney Allison’s tenure at the school.

Roberts (SoCon Special Teams Player of the Week) had a good day as a wide receiver, too. He snared nine passes for 116 yards.

The Mocs had taken a 21-17 lead with 14:03 left in the third quarter when quarterback Jare Gault completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Blue Cooper. The Citadel couldn’t regain the lead until Roberts’ punt return.

Early on, the Bulldogs took control. Less than five minutes into the game, runningback Terrell Dallas (SoCon Freshman of the Week) scored on a seven-yard run to cap a nine-play, 73-yard drive following the opening kickoff. Late in the quarter, Roberts made a 10-yard return on a short punt, giving the Bulldogs possession on the Mocs’ 39. On second down, quarterback Bart Blanchard threw 28 yards to Dallas, setting up Dallas’ three-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.

Chattanooga roared back, going 66 yards for a touchdown. Gault threw 40 yards to Christ Pitchford for the score. The Citadel drove 55 yards on its next possession, which led to a Mocs’ score. Buster Skrine blocked Sam Keeler’s 19-yard field goal attempt, and J.D. Dothard returned it 64 yards for a touchdown and a 14-14 score.

Keeler hit a field goal on the next Citadel possession for a 17-14 Bulldogs’ lead at halftime.

Key Stats
Gault completed 11 of 17 passes for 182 yards. … Blanchard finished 18 of 33 for 221 yards. … The Mocs didn’t throw an interception and suffered only two sacks, but they did lose three fumbles. … The Citadel outgained Chattanooga 358 to 242.

Quotes
The Citadel coach Kevin Higgins: “What can you say about that kid (Andre Roberts). What a great competitor. Every time he had the ball in his hands in the second half, I knew that he was going to fight and get whatever he could get. As a coach, I had to figure a way to give him the ball more.”

Chattanooga coach Rodney Allison: “I hate it for these guys. I really wanted to see them win this game, but we made some mistakes there in the fourth quarter. The bottom line is turnovers. We turned it over two times in the running game, and the turnovers and the punt return were the difference.”

Not playing this week: Western Carolina (3-8, 1-6)

Games of Nov. 22
(All times are Eastern)

No. 20 Furman (7-4, 4-3) at No. 9 Wofford (8-2, 6-1), noon
The Paladins have the challenge of finishing the regular season with two of their biggest rivals in consecutive weeks. Wofford and Furman have played each other on the gridiron 81 times dating to 1889 (which Wofford won 5-1). The Terriers are in a good spot for a playoff berth, but a victory would just about confirm it. The Paladins, meanwhile, will be looking to finish with eight victories. By the way, Furman has won the last four meetings in Spartanburg. Wofford hasn’t won back-to-back games against Furman since 1970-71.
Series: Furman leads 49-25-7

No. 13 Elon (8-3, 6-2) at No. 22 Liberty (9-2, 5-0), 1 p.m.
Many observers have had this season-ender circled for some time, and both teams are hoping it will not be a season-ender for it, regardless of the outcome. Both teams can run and throw, and it should be a physical game as the combatants have a playoff berth as motivation. A Liberty triumph also would be a big one for the Big South. For Elon, a nine-win regular season would be its first since 1999. Liberty likely has to win this game to really have a shot at the playoffs. Elon might still have an opportunity with four losses, but a victory would make the playoffs a near certainty. “We’ve got to be on a mission again this week,” Elon coach Pete Lembo said. “To go up into another hostile environment and play a very good Liberty team. I believe in the bottom of my heart that if we win that game, we’re going to have a chance to play again.”
Series: Elon leads 8-3

The Citadel (4-7, 2-6) at Florida (9-1), 2 p.m.
Well, thanks for playing. There’s not much to say about this one. The Bulldogs have the opportunity to travel to the Sunshine State to face one of the hottest teams in all of football. The Gators have won their last six games by an average margin of 39 points. They were extremely inhospitable last Saturday to another team from the Palmetto State (crushing South Carolina 56-6).
Series: Florida leads 13-0

Presbyterian (4-7) at VMI (3-7, 1-4), 1:30 p.m.
These teams with differing offensive styles clash in Virginia to close out their seasons. PC cannot match its six victories of last season but can finish with five while a victory would give the Keydets their most victories in a season since going 6-6 in 2003. It’s the run (VMI) versus the pass (PC) in this one.
Series: Presbyterian leads 1-0

Samford (5-5, 3-4) at Chattanooga (1-10, 0-7), 2 p.m.
One of the advantages of adding Samford to the SoCon was placing a team closer to Chattanooga, which previously had been the league’s western-most outpost. This could be the beginning of an interesting in-conference rivalry that already has 33 games in the books. Chattanooga, playing its last game for head coach Rodney Allison, will have to generate more offense against one of the SoCon’s better defenses.
Series: Chattanooga 22-8-3

No. 2 Appalachian State (9-2, 7-0) at Western Carolina (3-8, 1-6), 3 p.m.
The Battle for the Old Mountain Jug will be in Cullowhee this year. The Mountaineers, who will be seeking to win the SoCon outright, have dominated this series, winning 21 of the last 23 games. The last Catamounts’ victory came in 2004 in Cullowhee (a 30-27 score).
Series: Appalachian State leads 53-18-1

Charleston Southern (6-5, 2-2) at Coastal Carolina (6-5, 1-3), 6 p.m.
The battle of the South Carolina coastline has become an interesting rivalry since Coastal Carolina began playing football a few years ago. While this game will end the season for both teams, each squad has a shot at a 7-5 season. Attaining that and keeping your rival at .500 should be strong motivation.
Series: Coastal Carolina leads 4-1

Regular season complete: Gardner-Webb (5-6, 2-3 in the Big South), Georgia Southern (6-5, 4-4 in the Southern Conference), Stony Brook (5-6, 3-2 in the Big South)

News and Notes

* Appalachian State honored 14 senior football players on Saturday at the Elon game. Thirteen began as true or redshirt freshmen in 2005, and since that time, Appalachian State has fashioned a record of 48-8 overall and 30-1 at home.

* Andre Roberts, Citadel wide receiver, set a school record for receiving yards in Saturday’s game against Chattanooga. He now has 1,268 yards receiving, surpassing the previous mark Brian Baima set at 1,230 in 1971.

* Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree – who replaced All American Corey Lynch this season – intercepted his ninth pass of the season in the first half against Elon. With that, he set a school single-season record for interceptions.

* During his 200-yard performance versus VMI, runningback Conte Cuttino became Stony Brook’s all-time leading rusher. Liberty’s Rashad Jennings enters the last week of the regular season with 1,391 yards rushing. That number is the most in a single season for a Liberty player and for a Big South player.

* Four players in the So South region have double-digit 100-yard rushing games in their careers, but only two added to their total on Saturday. Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards notched his 17th career 100-yard game on the ground. Runningback Conte Cuttino of Stony Brook reached 12 100-yard rushing games Saturday. Liberty runningback Rashad Jennings has 21 such games while Samford’s Chris Evans has 10.

* Coastal Carolina quarterback Zach MacDowall moved into the Top 10 in career passing yardage in the Big South.

* Stony Brook is the first Big South team to have two runners break the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season.

* Gardner-Webb wide receiver Dobson Collins had 67 career receptions coming into the 2008 season. He finished this season with 76 receptions.