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SoCon Notebook: Chattanooga back on top in Southern Conference

SoCon Notebook: Chattanooga back on top in Southern Conference

SoCon Notebook: Chattanooga back on top in Southern Conference


By MATT YOGUS
myogus@statesboroherald.com

    Chattanooga accomplished something the program hasn’t done since 1984 by beating Wofford 20-10 on Saturday.
    The Mocs clinched at least a share of the Southern Conference championship.
    Chattanooga (8-2, 6-1 SoCon) faces Samford on the road Saturday at 3 p.m., in Birmingham, Ala., and will win the title outright with a victory.
    Samford (6-2, 4-2), the early favorite to take the crown, is coming off a two-game losing streak against The Citadel and Furman. The Bulldogs, who are still in the mix for a share of the SoCon title, haven’t played at home in over a month, dating all the way back to a 44-34 win over Georgia Southern on Oct. 5.
    “What is home? We’ve been on the road for seven games this year and I think we’ve had three at home,” Samford coach Pat Sullivan said. “It’ll be good to go back home.”
    It won’t be easy for the Mocs. Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin averages almost 300 yards per game and has three different receivers averaging more than 45 yards per game.
    “Pat and them have the best wide receiving corps in the league,” Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said. “I don’t think it’s close where anybody can say, ‘We’re a close second.’ They’re head and shoulders above everybody and they’re getting the ball to those guys in a lot of different ways.”
    Chattanooga’s not-so-secret weapon is quarterback Jacob Huesman, who is the team’s leading rusher and has passed for 1,372 yards on the season. He is the reason for most of the Mocs’ offensive success.
    “I know where it starts, you know where it starts, everybody in the league knows where it starts,” Sullivan said. “It starts with (Jacob Huesman) at quarterback. He’s a great run-pass threat.”
    Chattanooga has ripped off six-straight wins since losing 23-21 at Georgia Southern on Sept. 28.
    That doesn’t make Huesman overly confident against the Bulldogs.
    “I’m not sure how it’s going to play out to be honest,” Huesman said. “I just know that we’d better tackle, we’d better play hard and we’d better run to the football. We’d better play with a lot of energy or else we won’t slow them down.”

Last SoCon tilt
    Georgia Southern is playing its last Southern Conference in its program’s history on Saturday at 3 p.m., at Elon. Much like the Eagles last Saturday, Elon will be playing its last home SoCon game before moving to the Colonial Athletic Association in 2014.
    GSU coach Jeff Monken’s thoughts on the game could be applied to either team.
    “I think being the last Southern Conference game in our program’s history would be something that they’d take some pride in to try to win the game,” he said.
    The Eagles (5-4, 3-4) will clinch a winning record with a win, and would prevent the program's first losing record in conference play since it finished 2-5 in Socon games in 2006.
    Georgia Southern’s only other losing record in the SoCon was when it finished 2-6 in 1996. The Eagles have won 10 SoCon titles since 1993, the most of any program in the span.
    “Right now we’re 3-4 in the league,” Monken said. “That doesn’t happen often at Georgia Southern. We’re disappointed with where we are in the league right now, and we’d like to be 4-4.”
    Elon (2-8, 1-5), which made the playoffs in 2008 and 2009, has won only a combined five games the last two season.
    “We have nine seniors who have seen the highs and lows of Elon football,” Elon coach Jason Swepson said. “We’re just trying to send them out on the right note.”

Still in the mix
    Along with Chattanooga and Samford, Wofford (5-4, 4-2) and Furman (5-5, 4-2) are still in the mix for a share of the SoCon championship.
    Furman faces Western Carolina (2-8, 1-5) on the road Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
    Wofford faces Appalachian State (2-8, 2-4) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., in Spartanburg, S.C.
    The Citadel (4-6, 4-4) plays host to future SoCon member Virginia Military Institute on Saturday, at 1 p.m.

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

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