Chattanooga (2-1) at Ga. Southern (2-1, 0-1)
Saturday, 6 p.m.
Wofford 2-0 2-2
x-App State 1-0 1-2
Citadel 1-1 1-3
Chattanooga 0-0 2-1
Samford 0-0 2-2
Furman 0-0 1-2
x-GSU 0-1 2-1
Elon 0-1 1-3
West. Carolina 0-1 1-3
Coastal Carolina at Elon, 1:30 p.m.
Western Carolina at Samford, 3 p.m.
Charleston So. at App State, 3:30 p.m.
Chattanooga at Georgia Southern, 6 p.m.
Furman at The Citadel, 6 p.m.
*Georgia Southern and Appalachian St. ineligible for SoCon title due to impending moves to FBS.
The Chattanooga Mocs had a bye last weekend, and they’ve used every moment of the last two weeks of practice getting ready for Georgia Southern, a team they’ve been on the cusp of defeating each of the last two years.
In 2011, Chattanooga lost 28-27 in Paulson Stadium, and last season it was a 39-31 loss to the Eagles in triple overtime.
“I know a lot of people on a bye week, they’ll say, ‘We’re going to get back to basics and work on us.’ When you're playing Georgia Southern, you can't do that,” Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said at Tuesday’s Southern Conference teleconference. “We had to jump in there full steam ahead.”
Though the Eagles (2-1, 0-1 SoCon) lost three defensive players to the NFL in the offseason and struggle offensively on Sept. 14, in a 30-20 loss at Wofford, nothing’s changed for Huesman.
“Same challenges as every year. They’re physical and they can run. This team hasn’t changed from last year’s team,” Huesman said about GSU. “They know what they want to do offensively. Some of the names have changed, but they're talented and they're well coached. Those things don't change with a Georgia Southern football team no matter how many players they lose each year.”
The Mocs (2-1) have lost more close games than they can count over the last two seasons — eight of Chattanooga’s 11 losses were by a single possession — and since they were a play away from beating GSU in the last two games, and Huesman hopes the Mocs, like the Eagles, he said, have learned how to seal the deal in a close game.
“I’m hoping as a team, we can make a play at the end of the game like they do,” he said.
Still no answer for the option
Old Dominion gave up 49 and 55 points against Georgia Southern the last two years in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Apparently, the Monarchs (1-2) still haven’t figured out how to stop the option.
Though Saturday, when they played The Citadel (1-3, 1-1), it finally didn’t matter. The Bulldogs went for two at the end of the game and missed by a matter of inches, losing 59-58.
“It was an incredible football game, amazing,” The Citadel coach Kevin Higgins said. “We had our opportunities. We just couldn't finish from an offensive standpoint.”
The Citadel hosts Furman (1-2) on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Price is right
Appalachian State (1-2, 1-0) finally saw the return of its best offensive weapon, sophomore wide receiver Sean Price, who played for the first time this season after missing the first two games — both losses — with a suspension.
The sophomore caught 8 passes for 99 yards including a 41-yard touchdown.
Quarterbacks Kameron Bryant and Jamal Londry-Jackson combined for 404 passing yards and three touchdowns as the Mountaineers won their SoCon opener 31-21 over Elon. It was the first-career win for ASU head coach Scott Satterfield.
“We finally had some big plays,” Satterfield said. “Our offense is a rhythm offense, and when you’re not getting any big plays throughout the course of the game, it’s hard to get on that rhythm. That comes down to players, and having Price back, obviously he had some big plays for us, and (wide receiver Marcus Cox), playing a lot more, he had a lot of big plays as well.”
The Mountaineers play host to Charleston Southern on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Mud bowl a bust for Wofford
A week after Wofford’s SoCon opening win over Georgia Southern, the Terriers (2-2, 2-0) lost 3-0 to Gardner-Webb in what could be described as a monsoon.
“Sloppy is probably the best way to describe it,” Wofford coach Mike Ayers said. “Three and a half inches of rain, the field was saturated. In the kicking phase, we dropped the football four times — one on a field goal attempt, one on a punt, which led to their field goal, and we had two punts that we muffed, allowing them to get the ball back and play keepaway.”
The Terriers have a bye this weekend.
Around the league
Elon (1-3, 0-1) hosts Coastal Carolina on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Samford (2-2) will welcome back head coach Pat Sullivan, who missed the first four weeks of the season while recovering from back surgery. Samfors opens SoCon play against Western Carolina (1-3, 0-1), which is coming off of a 30-23 win over Mars Hill.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.