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SoCon Notebook: No. 20 Chattanooga not fooled by Elon’s record

SoCon Notebook: No. 20 Chattanooga not fooled by Elon’s record

SoCon Notebook: No. 20 Chattanooga not fooled by Elon’s record


     Heading into the season, Elon had everything going for it.
    The Phoenix were coming off a 9-3 season and a playoff appearance, and entered 2010 with senior quarterback Scott Riddle named as the Southern Conference preseason offensive player of the year.
    Seven games into the season, Elon sits at 2-5 overall, and 1-3 in conference play.
    “I’ve really reflected here not just this week but the last couple of weeks,” said Elon coach Pete Lembo. “Ten years of head coaching experience has really paid off. I think it starts with me and my positive attitude. You have to be honest, and you can’t ignore problems, but you have to attack problem with a positive attitude.”
    The passing game hasn’t been the problem. Riddle has led Elon to the top of the league in each passing catagory, as the Phoenix have racked up 327.3 yards per game through the air and thrown for 20 touchdowns.
    “They’re by far, not even close, the best 2-5 team in the country,” said Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman, whose No. 20 Mocs (5-2, 4-1) host Elon Saturday at 2 p.m., “and [the Phoenix] probably could be 5-2 with a break here and there, so we know we’re playing a good football team.”
    The problems for Elon have come on the ground, where it ranks dead last in the league at 94.4 yards per contest. The Phoenix are the only team in the SoCon averaging less than 100 yards on the ground.
    “We’d be foolish not to say that we’ve got to defend the passing game first and survive in the running game,” Huesman said. “That’s got to be our mentality.”
    Chattanooga has won five straight games, including Saturday’s 36-28 win over Furman in a game in which it scored 26 fourth-quarter points after falling behind 28-10.
    Furman had back-to-back turnovers in the fourth quarter to spark the comeback
    “I think if those two things don’t happen, we don’t win the football game,” said Huesman. “I think we were very fortunate there in the second half to get a couple of breaks and to win that game.”

Still can’t believe it
    Everything went right for Furman (4-3, 2-2) Saturday against UTC, except the final score.
    “We had four interceptions, we got one fumble recovery, we had a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and a blocked extra point, and we stopped a two point conversion. We still lost the game,” said Furman coach Bobby Lamb. “Chattanooga had six turnovers, we had four. Our problem was that three of the four came late in the game in an untimely fashion and they were able to come back and win the football game.”
    Furman travels to Boone, N.C. to face No. 1 Appalachian State (7-0, 5-0) Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Common ground
    Samford (3-4, 1-3) will travel to Georgia Southern (4-3, 2-2) Saturday for a 2 p.m. kickoff, and its season has been similar to GSU’s in at least one respect — injuries.
    “It’s been a frustrating year for us in that just like everybody you have some high expectations, whether they’re warranted or not,” said SU coach Pat Sullivan. “We’ve lost some players early. … We started five freshmen on offense two weeks ago against Furman, and we just haven’t had any continuity or gained any confidence.”
NOTES: The only other unbeaten team in the SoCon, Wofford (6-1, 4-0), defeated Elon 28-21 on a last-second Hail Mary Saturday on the road. The Terriers host The Citadel (2-6, 0-5) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on SportSouth. … Western Carolina (2-6, 1-4) has a bye this week after coming off of a 37-14 loss to Appalachian State in Cullowhee, N.C.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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