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Spread frightening for SoCon defenses
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    From Jayson Foster to Armanti Edwards, Scott Riddle and Duran Lawson, the Southern Conference is stacked with dangerous and talented quarterbacks this year.
    And the list doesn’t end there. Every school has a legitimate threat at the helm, and that’s just part of the reason why SoCon teams continue to light up scoreboards on Saturdays.
    Five league schools rank in the top 15 in the country in scoring offense led by Appalachian State (eighth, 38.75 points a game), Georgia Southern (ninth, 38.5), The Citadel (10th, 37.25), Wofford (11th, 37.11) and Elon (15th, 35.25). Gifted and mostly veteran quarterbacks are a large part of why.
    Last week Citadel coach Kevin Higgins was amazed by what he saw when watching the game tape of GSU’s upset of Appalachian. Foster and Edwards, the starting quarterbacks for the Eagles and the Mountaineers, combined for 587 total yards, while their backups, GSU’s Billy Lowe and ASU’s Trey Elder added 185 more.
    “You talk about a performance by two quarterbacks,” Higgins said. “That was one of the most incredible games I’ve ever seen in terms of quarterback performance — throwing the football, running the football. It’s amazing.”
    Perhaps the biggest surprise of all has been the play of Elon’s Riddle, a true freshman who leads the league with more than 325 passing yards a week.
    “The kid is incredible, his ability to throw the football and manage a game,” Higgins said.
    The increased popularity of spread offenses and teams equipped with playmakers at other positions have also attributed to high scores. Noteworthy difference-makers include running backs Tory Cooper (The Citadel), Kevious Johnson (Wofford), Lamar Lewis (GSU), Kevin Richardson (ASU) and Jerome Felton (Furman), and receivers Terrell Hudgins and Michael Mayers (Elon) and Andre Roberts (The Citadel).
    “Great players usually find a way to get into the end zone,” Georgia Southern coach Chris Hatcher said.
    A new rule moving kickoffs back five yards this year may also play a role, as well as the reversal of clock rules designed to shorten the game, a change that’s increased the number of plays. There are nearly 14.5 more plays per game in the Southern Conference this year than last.

Eagles need ‘mistake-free football’
    Elon is the only Football Championship Subdivision school that’s topped Wofford this season, and Phoenix coach Pete Lembo said his team’s 24-13 win had a lot to do with its ability to limit errors.
    “You really have to play close to mistake-free football against Wofford because they make very few mistakes,” Lembo said. “We were fortunate in our game that we got some turnovers in the second half. Whether it was us causing them or their mistakes, whatever way you want to look at it, that certainly helped us win that game.”
    Georgia Southern (6-2, 3-2) will look to hand Wofford (7-2, 4-1) its second conference loss Saturday when the Eagles travel to Spartanburg, S.C., for a 1:30 p.m. game.
    After trailing 37-3 at the break, last-place Western Carolina (1-8, 0-5) hung 41 second-half points on the Terriers in Wofford’s 47-44 win last Thursday. The Catamounts scored six straight touchdowns while successfully rotating between quarterbacks Todd Spitzer and Adam Hearns during the rally.
    “We kind of got hot and made some big plays, which is very unusual for their defense to have big plays against them,” Western coach Kent Briggs said, adding that teams need two weeks to prepare for Wofford’s unique option offense.
    “Coach (Mike) Ayers always does a tremendous job with game-planning, and they just execute so well,” Briggs said. “They’ve done that all year, and that’s kind of their trademark.”

Lawson questionable for App
    Citadel quarterback Duran Lawson is questionable for the Bulldogs’ (5-3, 3-2) homecoming game against Appalachian State (6-2, 2-2) this weekend.
    Bulldog coach Kevin Higgins said Lawson has a slight tear in his meniscus, but the swelling wasn’t as bad as originally expected. Lawson, a key component to The Citadel’s offense because of his abilities as a passer and runner, was injured while making a cut against Georgia Southern last weekend.
    “Hopefully they are going to scope it here real soon,” Higgins said. “There’s a chance for Saturday, but it doesn’t look great.”
    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.