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« MIAC Profiles of Excellence: Jeffrey Hilliard, University of St. Thomas10/19/2009 Gridiron Power Index (GPI), Richmond Remains No. 1 »

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CSN So South: Close Games Highlight the Weekend in the So South

floated rightBy Myron Hosea, CSN So South Columnist

For those who enjoy seeing teams play exciting, close, competitive conference games, Oct. 17 proved to be your weekend.

All four Southern Conference games featured margins of 10 points or less while two of the three Big South Conference games came in at seven points apiece. Only Liberty’s thumping of Coastal Carolina by a surprising 45 points bucked the trend.

...


Weekends such as this can build respect for a conference while making coaches, players and fans sweat through the final minutes. Let’s look at the weekend’s excitement:

+ Samford scored 14 fourth-quarter points, but Furman blocked a field-goal attempt as time expired to leave with a two-point victory.

+ Appalachian State posted 24 unanswered points in the final quarter-and-a-half to escape Spartansburg with a triumph over Wofford.

+ Western Carolina came from 10-0 down at halftime to beat The Citadel by four.

+ Georgia Southern used a second-half surge to hold off Chattanooga for a 10-point victory.

+ Charleston Southern scored with just under two minutes to go to tie Gardner-Webb. Overtime? Nope. The Runnin’ Bulldogs ran for the winning touchdown with 22 seconds remaining.

+ With less than three minutes remaining, VMI went ahead of Stony Brook by a point. The Seawolves rallied, though, and scored with under a minute to go to win by seven.

Most of the teams in these two conferences will be playing one another the rest of the way. Let’s hope the remaining five weeks of the regular season are as fun as this one.

SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Western Carolina finally notched a victory with its 14-10 comeback victory over The Citadel. The Catamounts broke a five-game conference losing streak with that triumph. Western Carolina will try to build momentum off this as it welcomes another visitor from South Carolina, Wofford, this weekend.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Big South: Offense – Gardner-Webb runningback Patrick Hall and Stony Brook quarterback Michael Coulter; Defense – the Liberty defense; Special Teams – Liberty placekicker Matt Bevins; Freshman – Liberty runningback Aldreakis Allen

Southern: Offense – Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards; Defense – Appalachian State defensive back Mark LeGree; Special Teams – Appalachian State placekicker Jason Vitaris; Freshman – Western Carolina runningback Dion Wilson

OCT. 17 REVIEW

Furman 26, Samford 24
With two seconds showing on the clock, Furman experienced the nightmare vision of a second straight home game going down the drain in the same fashion – a late field goal by the opponent. Instead, the Paladins realized the excitement of a repeat of last year’s game at Samford.

For the second straight year, Furman blocked a Samford placekick to preserve a narrow victory over the Bulldogs. This year, the Paladins blocked a 39-yard field-goal attempt by Samford freshman Cameron Yaw that would have given the Bulldogs a one-point victory. Kyle McKinney – the player who blocked an extra point for a one-point Furman triumph a year ago – stuffed the kick, and Furman hung on for a 26-24 victory.

The Paladins, who dominated the first half, had to survive against a more intense Bulldog defense in the second half, a ball-control offense and its own shortcomings in the kicking game. Remember that two weeks ago, a botched snap on a late extra-point attempt opened the door for Elon’s last-second victory over the Paladins. On this day, the wheels came off the Paladins’ kicking game as they missed two extra points and clunked a field goal try with 1:51 to go that would have given them a five-point advantage.

Furman coach Bobby Lamb said his team has suddenly lost the ability to make those critical kicks. “The other issue we had was just kicking extra points through the uprights. We are very poor at that right now. That was our strong suit up until last (game). The first four games, we were excellent – making everything, snapping it crisp, holding it and knocking it through. Today, we just couldn’t do it.”

The game started with the appearance of a shootout. Furman took the opening kickoff and drove 74 yards. The key play came when quarterback Jordan Sorrells, flushed from the pocket and running to his left, threw deep to David Hendrix, who took the ball to the Samford two on a 48-yard gain. Tersoo Uhaa punched it in on the next play for the touchdown. The first of the kicking mishaps occurred, and Furman led 6-0.

Samford came right back on a 63-yard drive to take its only lead. Quarterback Dustin Taliaferro threw passes of 17 and 10 yards to Riley Hawkins to spur the drive. Taliaferro ran 10 yards to the two, and runningback Chris Evans took it in for the score. Yaw added the extra point for a 7-6 Samford lead with 10:28 to go in the first quarter.

Furman took the lead for good on the next possession. Sorrells completed all four of his passes on the drive, the last one an eight-yard touchdown throw to runningback Jerry Williams.

Late in the first quarter, Paladin cornerback Ryan Steed intercepted Taliaferro at the Furman 25. Sorrells led the Paladins downfield again, completing five of six passes on a 10-play, 75-yard drive. He threw to wide receiver R. J. Webb who dove across the goal line to beat an oncoming defender. Furman made the extra point for a 20-7 lead with 11:07 left in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs threatened to score later in the quarter. Taliaferro completed six passes to pace an 18-play drive that covered 88 yards. The only problem with that is Samford needed to go 89 yards. The Furman defense stopped Taliaferro short of the goal line on fourth down to keep the score at 20-7 at halftime.

“I thought in the first half, we dominated the game,” Lamb said. “We came out with great tempo on offense and really moved the ball. (We) certainly had the chance with the big goal-line stand to gain momentum.”

Entering the game, Samford was allowing just 228 yards total offense per game. That’s the exact number of yards the Paladins produced in the first half. The Bulldogs toughened up after halftime, however, holding Furman to just 47 yards in the third quarter and 91 in the half. The defense and ball control enabled a Samford rally.

“I think there was a little more intensity on our part,” Samford head coach Pat Sullivan said of the defensive turnaround in the second half. “I don’t know what the stats are, but I would say that our offense kept the ball, and they (Furman) didn’t play as many plays in the second half as they did the first. That always helps your defense.”

“I told Coach Sullivan, I don’t know what you do at halftime, but they are one of the best second-half teams we’ve ever played,” Lamb said. “They are a very good club, and they outplayed us in the fourth quarter. They had a chance to win, and we just made one more play than they did.”

After a Samford field goal in the third quarter, Furman widened its lead on Sorrells’ eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Truss. The Paladins missed the extra point and led 26-10.

The Bulldogs scored a touchdown on Alex Barnett’s one-yard run with 11:53 left in the game. Taliaferro found Jonathan Lowery for the two-point conversion to make it a one-score game at 26-18.

On its next possession, Samford drove 66 yards to try to catch the Paladins. Taliaferro threw to Lowery twice on the drive for gains of 18 yards each time. Taliaferro also ran four times for 20 yards on the drive. Evans capped the drive with a one-yard scoring run with 6:23 remaining. Taliaferro went back to Lowery for the tying two-point conversion, but he caught the pass out of bounds.

Late in the game, Furman’s Adam Mims returned a punt 25 yards to the Samford 22, giving the Paladins an opportunity to seal the victory. However, more placekicking problems cropped up, resulting in a field goal try coming up short. That opened the door for Samford to drive for a shot at a winning field goal.

“This conference is a dogfight every week,” Sullivan said. “You look back to Furman and Elon two weeks ago right here on this very field and with two seconds to go, Elon scores to go up and ends up winning the ball game. We made a couple of mistakes last week against Chattanooga that cost us. It’s part of learning how to win, and I don’t know that we know how to do that yet. That’s my fault, and it’s my job to get that taught.”

Furman welcomed back runningback Mike Brown in this game. The preseason All-SoCon selection went down with an ankle injury before the season and got his first touch of the season by taking the opening kickoff of the game back for 20 yards.

“It feels great,” Brown said after the game. “I watched these boys work all offseason. I hate that I couldn’t be out there in the last game against Elon and help them win and even the games before that, but it’s just good to be back playing the sport I love.” Brown’s return adds depth to a Furman rushing attack that has been handled primarily by just Uhaa and Williams. Brown rushed for 35 yards on 10 carries against Samford and returned five kickoffs for 132 yards.

Appalachian State 44, Wofford 34
Trailing by 14 in the third quarter, Appalachian State scored the game’s final 24 points to overcome Wofford in an offensive shootout, 44-34.

Appalachian State won its fourth straight game overall and stayed unbeaten in SoCon play, going to 3-0. Wofford, already depleted by injuries – lost more players during the week and the game – fell to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the conference.

Big plays figured into this game from the start. On the game’s third play, Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards tossed a pass over the middle to CoCo Hillary, who turned it into a 57-yard gain that set up a 30-yard field goal by Jason Vitaris.

Wofford needed just one snap to take the lead. Derek Boyce – who had only one carry this year – took a pitch and raced 74 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Wofford missed the extra point and led 6-3 just five minutes into the game. Boyce would injure his knee and leave the game on his next carry.

The offenses really got rolling in the second quarter as they combined for 38 points. Wofford started it when Mike Rucker spurted through a big hole in the middle of the line and went 64 yards for a 13-7 Wofford lead.

On the following series, Devon Moore ran through a big hole for 38 yards. A few plays later, Edwards – who threw for 415 yards in the game – passed to Brian Quick for a 27-yard touchdown.

The strikes continued as the Terriers scored on a three-play drive. On third-and-one, quarterback Mitch Allen faked two handoffs and found Brenton Bersin wide open for a 66-yard touchdown. Wofford led 20-10 with 9:57 remaining in the half.

After another Vitaris field goal, the Terriers switched to the long drive, moving 78 yards in 12 plays. Allen’s 20-yard run started the drive, and Michael Scott’s one-yard run on fourth down kept it going. Scott would later run for 13 yards on a third-and-four. Allen got the touchdown on a four-yard run, giving the Terriers a 27-13 lead.

The Mountaineers cut the lead to seven by halftime. Edwards completed three big passes on the possession. He found Quick for 13 yards and a couple of plays later hit Quick again, this time for 37. A 14-yard completion to Matt Cline put the ball on the three. Edwards ran it in from there as time expired. Wofford led 27-20 at intermission.

Wofford regained a 14-point lead at the start of the second half. Austin Palmer, one of nine players to run the ball for the Terriers Saturday, scored on a two-yard run. Allen teamed with Justice Joslin for a 35-yard completion to set up the score.

From that point, however, the turnover problem that has plagued the Terriers this year reappeared. Four of Wofford’s last six possessions ended with turnovers.

Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree started that string with an interception. A few plays later, Moore stepped around a defender in the backfield and raced 48 yards for a touchdown to cut the Wofford lead to 34-27.

Vitaris booted his third field goal to begin the fourth quarter. This one covered 49 yards and trimmed Wofford’s advantage to four points.

Linebacker D. J. Smith recovered a Wofford fumble on the next possession, leading to the go-ahead score for the Mountaineers. Edwards completed three passes on the drive, and Moore carried the ball five times, the last one for one yard and a score. Appalachian State led 37-34 with 10 minutes remaining.

Edwards and Quick closed out the scoring on a 57-yard touchdown pass with 6:48 remaining.

Besides the 78 points, the teams combined for 1,148 yards in total offense.

Gardner-Webb 27, Charleston Southern 20
Runningback Patrick Hall’s career day helped Gardner-Webb pull out a 27-20 Big South victory over Charleston Southern in a televised game that started before noon.

Hall ran for 118 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns. His last touchdown – a 16-yard run – won the game with 22 seconds left.

The Bucs had just tied the game on Josh Atkinson’s diving catch of A. J. Toscano’s 11-yard pass. John Paglia’s extra point knotted the score at 20-20 with 1:56 remaining.

Gardner-Webb took over at its 22 following the kickoff. After an incompletion, quarterback Stan Doolittle threw to Hall for 12 yards and then ran for seven. He would complete three of his next four attempts to move the Bulldogs deeper into Charleston Southern territory. Hall ran for eight yards to set up his 16-yard run.

Hall’s first touchdown came with 8:38 to go in the first quarter for a 7-0 Bulldog lead. Ryan Gates extended the lead to 10 with a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Paglia got Charleston Southern on the board in the second quarter with a 37-yard field goal. The Bucs’ next possession began at their 16. Gerald Stevenson started it with runs of eight and 13 yards. Toscano hit Anthony Chalmers for 13 on third down. A 14-yard completion to Kwame Krakue and runs of seven and six by Stevenson set up a three-yard touchdown run for Toscano. The teams went into halftime tied 10-10.

Charleston Southern captured its only lead on Paglia’s 18-yard field goal in the third. Gates tied the game with a 27-yard kick later in that period.

Hall’s 21-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the final quarter gave Gardner-Webb a 20-13 lead.

Stony Brook 27, VMI 20
In a back-and-forth contest, Stony Brook made one more score – a Conte Cuttino touchdown run with 52 seconds left in the game – to beat VMI 27-20.

The contest featured four lead changes, two of them in the last three minutes, and the triumph boosted the Seawolves to 2-0 in the Big South. The Keydets, meanwhile, have lost seven straight Big South games.

Stony Brook struck first on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Michael Coulter to Jordan Gush. The extra-point kick failed, enabling VMI to take its first lead with 26 seconds left in the first quarter. Jafri Taylor blocked a Stony Brook punt, setting up Tim Maypray’s 19-yard touchdown run.

The Seawolves appeared to be taking control in the second quarter. Coulter tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to Matt Brevi, and Wes Skiffington booted a 24-yard field goal as time expired in the first half for a 16-7 lead.

After a scoreless third, the teams combined for 24 fourth-quarter points. Maypray started the spurt with a 30-yard touchdown run on the quarter’s first play. That cut the Stony Brook lead to 16-14 with 14:53 left.

The Seawolves drove 52 yards for a Skiffington field goal of 21 yards. They led 19-14 with 6:47 to go.

Fullback Howard Abegesah started VMI’s rally with a 22-yard run. Quarterback Kyle Hughes ran for 10 and three yards before hitting Michael Rainey-Wiles for 28 yards to the Stony Brook six. On fourth down, Hughes scored from the one. VMI led 20-19 after a failed extra point and with 2:56 remaining.

On the winning drive, Cuttino ran for four yards and then caught a pass for eight more. Coulter teamed up with Stephan Towns for three completions that set up Cuttino’s 13-yard touchdown run for the victory.

Western Carolina 14, The Citadel 10
Dion Wilson scored on two short touchdown runs in the second half to lift Western Carolina to a 14-10 triumph over The Citadel and break a five-game SoCon losing streak.

It also marked the first victory of 2009 for the Catamounts as the Bulldogs fell to 0-3 in the SoCon.

Neither team scored in the opening period, and The Citadel posted all of its points in the second quarter. Sam Keeler kicked a 32-yard field goal to start the second quarter.

The Bulldogs extended their lead just before halftime when Western Carolina punter Blake Cain dropped the snap for a loss of 13 yards to his own 25. Quarterback Bart Blanchard immediately hit Van Dyke Jones for 23 yards to the two. A couple of plays later, Blanchard found Andre Roberts on the fade for a three-yard score.

In a bit of an oddity, Western Carolina’s two touchdowns followed missed Bulldog field-goal attempts. The Citadel’s Milford Scott blocked a Cain punt and recovered it at the Catamount 43. The Bulldogs moved 17 yards before Keeler missed a 44-yard attempt.

The Catamounts then drove 74 yards in eight plays to cut the margin to 10-7. Wilson’s only carry of the drive covered one yard for the score.

Keeler missed a 43-yard attempt after a 47-yard drive. Western took over at its 25 late in the third. Quarterback Zack Jaynes made two big pass completions on third downs – the first 24 yards to Marquel Pittman and then 20 yards to Chris Everett – to spur the drive. Wilson finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown run with 10:30 left.

On its next possession, The Citadel kept the ball for 14 plays and seven minutes, but the Catamounts threw Roberts for an 11-yard loss on a run and held on fourth down.

The Bulldogs blocked another punt, however, to get one more shot at the Catamounts’ 34 with 1:12 remaining. Quarterback Miguel Starks ran four yards on fourth down for a first, but The Citadel ran out of downs on the Western Carolina 15.

Georgia Southern 30, Chattanooga 20
Georgia Southern scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to take control and defeat Chattanooga 30-20.

The loss brings the upstart Mocs back to earth a bit while the Eagles remain in the conference chase with a 3-1 mark.

Chattanooga’s Craig Camay had just tied the game at 13-13 on a 23-yard field goal with 12:11 to go in the third quarter. That’s when the Eagles went on the attack. Runningback Adam Urbano, who rushed for 153 yards, scored on a two-yard run to cap a 65-play drive.

In the fourth quarter, quarterback Lee Chapple completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Sumner at the conclusion of a 70-yard drive. That pushed the Eagles’ lead to 27-13 with 10:36 to go. Adrian Mora added a 20-yard field goal with 3:20 left for a 30-13 advantage.

Chattanooga scored a touchdown with 1:16 remaining for the final margin.

Liberty 58, Coastal Carolina 13
Liberty blew open a close game with six unanswered touchdowns in the second half and blew out Coastal Carolina 58-13.

The triumph makes an emphatic statement that the Flames might be reloading and unwilling to loosen their two-year hold on the Big South title. Liberty also extended its conference-record streak of league victories to 12.

Four interceptions sparked the Liberty point explosion as each led to a touchdown. Runningback Aldreakis Allen rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Flames’ offense. Sir Chauncey Holloway added a pair of touchdown runs, and Danny Broggin ran for 82 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Mike Brown also threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Chris Summers.

The teams played fairly even in the first half as Liberty took a 16-6 lead into halftime. Liberty placekicker Matt Bevins kicked three first-half field goals while his Coastal Carolina counterpart, Justin Durham, booted two. Allen scored one of his touchdowns for the only touchdown of the first half.

The Chanticleers came into the game fifth in the nation in scoring defense (13.8) and first in the Big South in total defense.

Not playing this week: Elon, Presbyterian College

NUMBERS FROM OCT. 17

+ Furman quarterback Jordan Sorrells passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns as he completed 21 of 28 pass attempts in the Samford game.

+ Samford quarterback Dustin Taliaferro completed 29 of 46 passes for 306 yards and ran 18 times for 47 yards against Furman.

+ Besides Armanti Edwards’ 415 passing yards, Devon Moore rushed for 180 yards and Brian Quick added eight catches for 181 yards
in Appalachian State’s triumph over Wofford.

+ Wofford rushed for 384 yards against Appalachian State with Mike Rucker (eight carries for 104 yards), Derek Boyce (two for 76) and Mitch Allen (11 for 60) leading the way.

+ Gardner-Webb quarterback Stan Doolittle completed 16 of 25 passes for 184 yards and ran for 43 yards versus Charleston Southern.

+ Charleston Southern’s Gerald Stevenson totaled 215 yards all-purpose yards against Gardner-Webb, including 68 rushing, 40 receiving and 107 on kickoff returns.

+ Stony Brook quarterback Michael Coulter completed 28 of 44 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns against VMI. Senior wide receiver Stephan Towns caught 11 of those passes for 112 yards.

+ Tim Maypray of VMI produced 218 all-purpose yards: 86 rushing, 8 receiving, 102 on kickoff returns, and 22 on punt returns.

+ Runningback Mike Johnson led Western Carolina with 92 yards rushing on 21 carries versus The Citadel.

+ The Citadel wide receiver Andre Roberts reached 100 all-purpose yards, getting 78 of them on nine receptions.

+ With Adam Urbano’s 153 yards leading the way, Georgia Southern outrushed Chattanooga 188 to 33.

+ Chattanooga quarterback B. J. Coleman finished 23 of 43 passing for 208 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against Georgia Southern.

+ Liberty outgained Coastal Carolina 575 (300 rushing, 275 passing) to 175.

+ Coastal Carolina runningback Eric O’Neal managed 21 yards on the ground and led his team in receiving against Liberty with four receptions for 37 yards.

COMING UP THIS WEEK
Saturday, Oct. 24

Conference games once again dominate the schedule. Only one team has an open date while one plays a nonconference opponent.

Chattanooga (4-2, 2-2) at Elon (5-1, 3-0), 1:30 p.m.
Series Record: Elon leads 4-2 (Last meeting: Elon won in Chattanooga a year ago, 42-7)
Elon took its breather last week, getting ready for the stretch run of what the Phoenix hope will be a SoCon title and a playoff berth. The push begins with a resurgent Chattanooga program. The Mocs will face a team that ranks first or second in nine of the top 10 team statistical categories in the Southern Conference and the only team in all of FCS that ranks in the top 10 in both total offense and total defense. And they’ll be rested.

Furman (4-2, 3-1) at The Citadel (2-4, 0-3), 1:30 p.m.
Series Record: Furman leads 55-30-3 (Last meeting: Furman won 34-20 at home in 2008)
One of the oldest football rivalries in the South resumes in historic Charleston. The Citadel comes in on a three-game losing streak, but this is the first of three straight home games, offering a chance to revive the season. The Bulldogs will try to get that going against a Furman team fired up over its last-second triumph against Samford. The Paladins believe they have a shot at the SoCon title if they can take care of business beginning this week.

Liberty (4-2, 1-0) at Charleston Southern (2-4, 0-1), 1:30 p.m.
Series Record: Liberty leads 14-2 (Last meeting: A year ago, Liberty won at home, 42-0)
In the first three seasons of the Danny Rocco era at Liberty, the Flames have dominated this series, winning by 14, 40 and 42. Liberty can pretty much eliminate another of its competitors for the league crown with a victory in Charleston. The Bucs will try to stay in the race with a triumph.

VMI (1-5, 0-3) at Presbyterian College (0-6, 0-1), 2 p.m.
Series Record: Series tied 1-1 (Last meeting: VMI won 49-27 in Lexington, Va., in 2008)
Back in week one, Blue Hose head coach Harold Nichols said he tells his young team to learn from the past, forget the details and move on. It likely focused on that during the off week to put the winless first half of the season behind it and prepare for a tough second half against an all-Big South schedule. That second-half ride begins at home against VMI, a team equally interested in moving on from the first half of the season.

Georgia Southern (4-3, 3-1) at Appalachian State (4-2, 3-0), 3 p.m.
Series Record: Appalachian State leads 12-11-1 (Last meeting: Appalachian State won in Statesboro a year ago, 37-36). This game between longtime power programs in FCS will have a big bearing on the SoCon title chase. The Eagles are in the chase but won’t go all the way without this one. Appalachian State hasn’t really dominated anyone in its first three conference games and will find the going tough in this one. The last three games in the series have been decided by seven (in two overtimes), three and one. Georgia Southern won on its last trip to Boone.

Coastal Carolina (3-3, 1-1) at Stony Brook (3-4, 2-0), 3:30 p.m.
Series Record: Stony Brook leads 1-0 (Last meeting: In 2008, Stony Brook won at Coastal Carolina, 28-24)
The Chanticleers are in a tough spot, having to travel all the way to New York to face a solid Stony Brook team a week after getting beaten badly at Liberty. It’s also a week before Coastal Carolina’s first-time game against one of the Palmetto State’s big two (Clemson). Stony Brook can position itself for a serious run at the conference title if it can take care of business at home.

Wofford (1-5, 0-3) at Western Carolina (1-5, 0-3), 4 p.m.
Series Record: Wofford leads 19-12 (Last meeting: Wofford won at home a year ago, 42-14)
The last time these teams played in Cullowhee, they produced one of the wildest SoCon contests of all time. The Terriers appeared on the way to a blowout victory at halftime before the Catamounts rallied with a huge second half before falling 47-44. The Catamounts have struggled to get traction toward a winning program the last few years. Wofford is off to its worst start since 1987. Both teams are young, and Wofford’s ranks get thinner by the week.

Southern Virginia (1-6) at Gardner-Webb (4-2, 2-0), 6 p.m.
Series Record: First meeting
The NAIA Knights travel from, well, southern Virginia, to take on the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Southern Virginia is coming off its first victory of the season. This should be a tuneup game for Gardner-Webb before the finishing stretch of Stony Brook, at Coastal Carolina, Liberty and at Presbyterian College.

Not playing this week: Samford (3-4, 1-3)

* * *

NEWS AND NOTES

+ They’ve played only 12 times, but Furman and Samford have developed one of the more competitive series in the region. With Saturday’s 26-24 Furman triumph, the Paladins lead the series 7-5. Furman has averaged 24.6 points in the 12 games, Samford 21.3. Seven of the games have been decided by 10 points or less.

+ Southern Conference football teams own a 10-3 record against nonconference FCS opponents. They have a losing record only to the Missouri Valley (0-1) and Southland (0-1) conferences. The only nonconference FCS game remaining for SoCon teams is Western Carolina’s Nov. 14 trip to Eastern Kentucky of the Ohio Valley Conference.

+ Stony Brook sophomore runningback Edwin Gowins added his name to the Top 10 runners of all time in the Big South with his 55 yards on the ground against VMI.

+ In the same game, VMI fullback Howard Abegesah moved into sixth place in Big South career rushing. Also, VMI’s Tim Maypray became the seventh Big South player to surpass the 200-point mark in his career.

+ Current So South GPI:
5. Southern Conference (38.00)
9. Elon (10.50)
18. Appalachian St (20.50)
26T. Furman (25.88)
30. Ga Southern (28.13)
44. Chattanooga (36.88)
56. Samford (47.00)
70. Wofford (51.50)
73. The Citadel (55.00)
91. W Carolina (66.63)

8. Big South Conference (53.36)
24. Liberty (22.88)
49. Gardner Webb (40.88)
54. Stony Brook (44.88)
69. Coastal Car (50.25)
85. Charleston So (64.00)
95. VMI (68.50)
117. Presbyterian (82.13)