* Southern Conference game
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• After its 26-23 win at The Citadel on Oct. 13, ETSU is alone in first place in the Southern Conference at the halfway point of its league schedule, sitting 4-0 in SoCon play. The Bucs host second-place Wofford, the defending league champion, on Saturday.
• At 6-1 overall, ETSU is off to its best start since beginning the 1996 campaign 8-1. The Bucs, who did not field a program from 2004-14, moved up to No. 21 in both the AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 and the STATS FCS Top 25 this week. Wofford, which fell 34-14 to Furman on Oct.13, dropped to No. 12 in both polls.
• Saturday’s bout will feature the two rookie head coaches in the league in ETSU’s Randy Sanders and Wofford’s Josh Conklin, whose teams are a combined 10-3 overall and 7-1 in the SoCon and are the only two league teams to currently appear in the national rankings.
• One week after setting a school record for points in a SoCon game in a 66-28 win over Western Carolina, Samford supplanted that mark with a 73-22 win over VMI on Oct. 13, rolling up a school-record 773 yards of total offense, the fourth-best mark in SoCon history. The Bulldogs’ 73 points tie for 10th in a game in league history.
• Quarterback Devlin Hodges had another record day for the Bulldogs, tying the school record with six touchdown passes for the second straight week. He also rushed for a TD, giving him seven total on the day to match that school record, as well.
• With 400-plus yards in each of his last two games, Hodges set a league record for passing yards in consecutive games with 1,035, unseating the record VMI’s Reece Udinski set just two weeks ago with 925 in games on Sept. 22 and 29. Hodges threw for a SoCon-record 562 against Western Carolina on Oct. 6 before adding 473 against VMI.
• Chattanooga, which was ranked on Sept. 24, received votes in both national polls after its 26-6 win over Western Carolina on Oct. 13, while Furman received votes in the STATS poll after its win over then-No. 4/6 Wofford.
• Paladin quarterback Harris Roberts accounted for all five TDs in the win over Wofford en route to earning SoCon Offensive Player of the Week honors.
• ETSU defensive back Tyree Robinson became the second Buc to earn national player of the week honors this season when he was named the STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Teammate running back Quay Holmes earned STATS National Freshman of the Week honors on Sept. 24.
• VMI receiver Javeon Lara has totaled 434 receiving yards in the Keydets’ last three games, totaling 143 against Western Carolina, 150 against Mercer and 141 against Samford.
• The Citadel’s Raleigh Webb had 116 receiving yards against then-No. 24/23 ETSU on Saturday, becoming the first Bulldog receiver to surpass 100 yards since 2012.
• Rivals VMI and The Citadel will meet in Lexington, Virginia, on Saturday. The Bulldogs have won 11 straight against the Keydets, accounting for their 41-30-2 advantage in the series, which dates to 1920.
DID YOU KNOW?
• There have been 49 400-yard passing games in SoCon history, and six of them have happened this year. Samford’s Devlin Hodges has three of them, while VMI’s Reece Udinski has two and Western Carolina’s Tyrie Adams has one.
• Samford’s Devlin Hodges is on pace to set several SoCon career records in the near future. With 12,975 passing yards, he needs just 290 to pass the league record of 13,264 set by Elon’s Scott Riddle from 2007-10. Hodges is also just three passing touchdowns back of Riddle’s record of 106 and needs 11 more completions to pass Riddle’s 1,168 completions.
• Hodges is currently eighth in FCS history in passing yards. Up next is Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, who had 13,156 from 2010-13. Should Hodges maintain his current pace of 382.0 yards per game over Samford’s last four contests, he’d finish with 14,503 yards, just ahead of Alcorn’s Steve McNair’s FCS record of 14,496. No quarterback in FCS history has surpassed 14,000 yards other than McNair.
• With 13,856 yards of total offense to his credit in his career, Hodges is also on pace to set the SoCon record in that category. If he maintains his current pace of 407.3 yards per game, he’d finish the season with 15,485 yards, easily outdistancing SoCon record-holder Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State, who posted 14,753 from 2006-09. Edwards is second in FCS history behind McNair (16,823), while Hodges is currently sixth.
• Hodges has thrown 24 touchdowns this season, easily leading the FCS. Five players are tied for second at 16.
• Hodges is nearly 600 yards in the FCS lead in passing yards with 2,674 this season. He’s on pace for 4,202, which would surpass his own record of 4,088 set in 2016.
• Furman placekicker Grayson Atkins missed his first career extra-point attempt in the Paladins’ 34-14 win over No. 4 Wofford on Oct. 13, snapping the longest active streak in the league at 68 consecutive makes, which was the seventh-best streak in SoCon history. Wofford’s Luke Carter now has the best active streak at 67 straight made PATs, which is eighth-best in league history.
• Western Carolina’s Tyrie Adams has been named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Month for September in each of the last three seasons.
• Five of the SoCon’s nine teams – ETSU, Furman, Samford, Chattanooga and Wofford – have appeared in the national rankings this season. Wofford is the lone league program to appear each week of the season. The Terriers have appeared in 25 consecutive polls, dating back to Nov. 14, 2016.
• Mercer leads the FCS in 4th-down percentage, as the Bears are 4-for-4 on the year.
• Wofford’s offense is leading the FCS with just 2.50 tackles for loss allowed per game, while ETSU’s defense leads the FCS with 9.4 tackles for loss per game.
• The SoCon claims two of the top three receivers in the FCS in terms of total receiving yards. Samford’s Kelvin McKnight ranks second with 880, while Chattanooga’s Bryce Nunnelly is third at 817.
SOCON PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (link):
Offense: Harris Roberts, Furman, R-Sr., QB
Defense: Tyree Robinson, ETSU, So., DB
Special teams: JJ Jerman, ETSU, Sr., PK
GENERAL SHALE SOCON STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK (link):
Harris Roberts, Furman, R-Sr., QB