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SoCon Notebook: App State and Furman battle on Saturday
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The Southern Conference’s top two teams will meet in Boone, N.C., Saturday in a game rife with league title implications. Appalachian State, the nation’s top-ranked team, will host No. 8 Furman in a 3:30 p.m. contest that will be televised by SportsSouth. Both teams are a perfect 4-0 in conference games after needing overtime to secure victories last week. App State (7-1) defeated Georgia Southern, 27-20, in double overtime, while the Paladins (6-2) downed Chattanooga, 28-22. “It’s just like last weekend,” Appalachian coach Jerry Moore said, looking ahead to the Paladins. “You are playing traditionally one of the best teams in our league. Those two teams, Georgia Southern and Furman, are traditionally as good as you are going to meet in I-AA football. We’ve got another one that is probably going to be a tough, hard football game.” The highly anticipated contest has an interesting twist – the starting quarterbacks, ASU’s Armanti Edwards and Furman’s Renaldo Gray, are first cousins. Edwards accumulated 350 total yards in the GSU game to earn his fourth SoCon freshman of the week award. He banged up his knee in the third quarter last weekend, but Moore said he’ll probably start. Edwards shared the league accolade with Furman quarterback Jordan Sorrells, who has been filling in for an injured Gray. Gray is expected to return this week. “He practiced (Monday) and looked very good,” Furman coach Bobby Lamb said. “He said he felt 90 to 95 percent, and I’m hoping that moves up to 100 percent by the end of the week. He will be our starting quarterback going into Saturday, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.” Standout running back Jerome Felton has rushed for a league-high 20 touchdowns for Furman, but he's listed as day-to-day after a suffering a high ankle sprain against Chattanooga. Lamb is hopeful Felton will play Saturday. “What you see is what you get with (ASU),” Lamb said. “Hopefully it’ll be another great football game. I hope we are able to stay in the game because they are awful good, and we’ve got a long way to go to try to make it a game.” Chattanooga (3-5, 2-3) hosts Elon (3-4, 1-3) this Saturday. Citadel running back comes up big The Citadel’s Tory Cooper shined in the Bulldogs’ 30-27 overtime win against Western Carolina last weekend, rushing for a career-high 204 yards on 36 carries. Formerly a wide receiver, Cooper sealed the Bulldog win with an 8-yard TD run in overtime, his second score of the game and fifth this season. This week’s SoCon offensive player of the week, Cooper totaled 251 yards of total offense and caught six passes. He is the first Citadel running back to rush for 200 yards since 2001. “We were hoping he’d be able to do that on game day,” Bulldog coach Kevin Higgins said. “I felt like he got stronger as the game progressed.” The Bulldogs (2-5, 2-2) host Georgia Southern (3-4, 2-2) Saturday. Working out their frustrations Looking to rebound from consecutive overtime losses, Western Carolina (2-5, 0-5) travels to Wofford (3-4, 2-2) Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. game. Both teams have been riddled with injuries this year, and the Catamounts are still searching for their first league win. “We have to forget (about our losses) and move on,” WCU coach Kent Briggs said. “Spartanburg has always been tough for the Cats, and we’ve got to go down there and change that this weekend.” The Terriers are dealing with another injury on the defensive line, where Wofford coach Mike Ayers is moving guys around to fill the holes. “Western is probably frustrated with losing, just like we are,” Ayers said. “I’m sure Kent will have his guys ready to play.” Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.