#8 Wofford 24, The Citadel 21
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - On Saturday afternoon, the Wofford football team used a defensive stand in the fourth quarter to hold on for a 24-21 win over The Citadel at Gibbs Stadium. The Terriers had a 24-7 lead at the half, but the Bulldogs scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second half.
The Terriers are 7-1 on the season and 5-1 in the SoCon. The Citadel is 4-4 overall and 3-3 in conference play. For Wofford, Eric Breitenstein had 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Bryan Youman added 64 rushing yards, while Brian Kass had 36 rushing yards and 43 passing yards. The Citadel was led by Darien Robinson with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Domonic Jones had four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.
The Citadel had the ball to open the game and after gaining three first downs Ben Dupree found Domonic Jones for a 23-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs led 7-0 at 11:25 in the first quarter. Wofford had a 41-yard run by Bryan Youman and capped the drive with an eight yard touchdown run by Eric Breitenstein. The game was tied at 7-7 at 9:02.
After forcing the Bulldogs three-and-out, the Terriers were able to take a 14-7 lead on a 13-yard touchdown run by Will Gay with 1:53 left in the first quarter. The Citadel moved the ball down the field with four first downs, but a 39-yard field goal attempt was wide left. Wofford then went three-and-out and punted.
On the next drive by the Bulldogs, they gained a first down but then failed to convert on fourth-and-six and turned it over on downs. Wofford was able to take a 21-7 lead with a four-yard touchdown run by Eric Breitenstein with 57 seconds left in the half. The kickoff was fumbled by the Bulldogs and Wofford recovered. After a first down, Kasey Redfern kicked a 42-yard field goal that was tipped at the line, but went over the cross bar for a 24-7 advantage at the break.
Wofford opened the second half with the ball and gained two first downs, but did not convert a fourth-and-two. The Bulldogs scored on a 44-yard touchdown run by Darien Robinson to cut the lead to 24-14 with 8:49 on the clock in the third quarter.
With the ball back, the Terriers moved across midfield but were forced to punt. The Bulldogs put together a 91-yard drive that was capped by a five-yard touchdown run by Vandyke Jones. The score was 24-21 with 14:54 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
The Terriers went three-and-out and punted. The Citadel converted a fourth-and-one, but had to punt. Wofford then went three-and-out and punted back to the Bulldogs. With another fourth-and-one, the Bulldogs converted at their own 30-yard line. The Wofford defense held and the Bulldogs punted with 3:34 remaining in the fourth quarter. Wofford was unable to gain a first down and punted with 2:28 left. The Bulldogs gained one first down, but an incomplete pass on fourth-and-nine turned the ball back over to Wofford. The Terriers were able to run out the final 1:25 on the clock for the victory.
Wofford had 326 total yards, with 283 on the ground. The Citadel had 355 total yards, 271 of which were rushing. The Citadel had 22 first downs to 15 for Wofford. Wofford was 8-of-15 on third downs. The Citadel was 7-of-14 on third down and 2-of-4 on fourth down. Wofford had a season-high eight penalties, while The Citadel had two. Wofford had the time of possession by a 30:35 to 29:25 margin.
Furman 31, Elon 17
ELON, N.C. -- Jerodis Williams rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns and Furman's defense delivered a school record long fumble return along with seven sacks to power the Paladins to a 31-17 Southern Conference victory over host Elon Saturday afternoon at Rhodes Stadium.
Williams, whose 95 yards gave him 1,004 yards rushing on the season and his second straight 1,000-yard campaign, scored on runs of 1 and 4 yards in the first half to help Furman (3-6, 2-4 SoCon) snap a three-game losing streak and four-game series slide to Elon (3-5, 1-4 SoCon).
Furman's defense also contributed in a big way with a Marcus McMorris 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a seven-sack performance, the highest tally by a Paladin defensive unit in a game since the 2001 season.
Furman grabbed a 7-0 lead with an 11-play, 70-yard drive on its first possession that ended with a Williams 1-yard scoring plunge.
After Elon knotted it a 7-7, the Paladins went up 14-7 on a Williams' second scoring run of the game, a 4-yard burst off the right side at 10:16 of the second quarter.
The Phoenix used a 53-yard pass from quarterback Thomas Wilson to Aaron Mellette to move into position to tie the game, but running back Karl Bostick's fumble at the Furman 5-yard line was scooped up by McMorris, who raced 95 yards the other way into the end zone to stretch the Paladins' lead to 21-7. The fumble return bested the program's previous long return of 94 yards by Kevin Quinlan versus North Carolina in 1980.
Elon threatened again on its next possession, advancing to the Furman 8 before having to settle for an Adam Shreiner 24-yard field goal to make it 21-10.
The Paladins responded in quick fashion, getting a 28-yard pass completion from Reese Hannon to tight end Colin Anderson to the Elon 47. Then, on the next play, fullback Ernie Cain took an inside handoff and raced 47 yards into the end zone for a 28-10 advantage with 4:29 to go in the first half.
Furman opened the second half with an 14-play, 71-yard drive that netted a Ray Early 24-yard field goal and 31-10 lead.
The Phoenix knocked on the door on their first possession of the second half but again came away empty when Wilson's fourth-and-goal pass from the 3-yard line was collected by Doug Warrick outside the goal line pylon.
Furman appeared set to give the ball right back to the Phoenix after two plays and a penalty put the Paladins at their own 2, but on third-and-11 Hannon let fly with a deep sideline pass that Gary Robinson snagged for a 41-yard gain to the Paladin 43.
Elon later forced a punt and finally cut into Furman's lead with a 2-yard connection from Wilson to Mellette with 9:21 remaining in the game.
From that point, however, the Paladin defense slammed the door. On the Phoenix's final possession, the Paladins combined to sack Wilson five times, with defensive end Ricky Lang and linebacker Gary Wilkins collecting two takedowns apiece, and Shawn Boone registered the other.
Furman, which took over possession on downs at Elon's 24 with 2:36 to go, ended the game by taking a knee at the Phoenix 9-yard line.
Williams' 95-yard rushing effort headlined a Paladin ground game that netted 186 yards and three scores. Hannon completed 11-of-19 passes for 181 yards and an interception.
Wilson threw for 283 yards and two scores, connecting on 23-of-33 pass attempts. Mellette finished with 14 receptions for 194 yards and both scores.
The Paladins managed a 367-363 advantage in total offense.
Gary Wilkins led Furman with nine tackles, two of which were sacks.
#15 Appalachian State 38, Western Carolina 27
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - No. 15 Appalachian State University jumped out to a 38-13 lead and cruised to a 38-27 win over archrival Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon at E.J. Whitmire Stadium.
Appalachian State (6-3, 4-2 SoCon) retained possession of the Old Mountain Jug, the traveling trophy awarded to the winner of the annual meeting between the longtime rivals, with its eighth-straight victory and 26th triumph in the last 28 years over Western Carolina (1-8, 0-7 SoCon).
The story of the day was Appalachian quarterback Logan Hallock, who entered the game in place of injured starter Jamal Jackson in the first quarter and completed the first 20 passes of his career, helping the Mountaineers stretch an early 10-0 lead to a 38-13 advantage when he found tight end Drew Bailey for a 16-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Hallock, whose only two previous plays as a college quarterback came when he handed off twice to close out Appalachian's 55-14 win over Coastal Carolina on Sept. 29, finished 230 yards on 20-of-21 passing and two touchdowns. His sterling .952 completion percentage set a school record, breaking the previous mark of .895 (17-19) set by Armanti Edwards in a 70-24 win over Wofford in 2008.
Not to be overshadowed by Hallock's unlikely starring role was the performance turned in by senior running back Steven Miller, who set career highs with 245 rushing yards and 34 carries in the smashmouth victory. In the process, Miller became only the 12th running back in Appalachian State history to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing plateau in a season, finishing the day with 1,077 yards on the campaign, and the first since Devon Moore in 2009.
Freshman wide receiver Sean Price also helped Hallock's cause, matching his own Appalachian State freshman record with 10 receptions for a career-high 142 yards and a back-breaking 18-yard touchdown catch on the Mountaineers' final offensive play of the first half that gave Appalachian a 24-7 halftime lead.
Appalachian did not allow Western Carolina to register its first first down of the ballgame until only 3:44 remained in the first half and held a 484-167 advantage in total yardage after three quarters. The Catamounts made it interesting with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull within two scores at 38-27 but the Apps forced an interception and a turnover on downs on WCU's final two possessions to seal the victory.
In all, Appalachian's defense forced five three-and-outs and allowed only 316 yards of total offense, nearly 50 yards fewer than the Catamounts' season average of 365.8 coming in to the afternoon. The Mountaineers sacked WCU freshman quarterback Troy Mitchell seven times, good for the Apps' highest sack total since they also recorded seven against Jacksonville in 2008, and tallied a season-high-tying nine tackles for loss.
Mitchell led the Catamounts with 91 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He also completed 13 of 22 passes for 167 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wideout Deja Alexander caught two passes for 82 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown. WCU's Rock Williams led all defenders with 23 tackles. He tallied three tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.
Filling in for injured weakside linebacker Brandon Grier, Karl Anderson led the Mountaineers with a career-high-tying 10 tackles. Senior middle linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough added nine tackles and set career highs with three sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.
#2 Georgia Southern 39, Chattanooga 31 (3OT)
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (4-4, 3-2 SoCon) pushed No. 2 Georgia Southern (7-1, 6-1 SoCon) to the limit before losing 39-31 in triple overtime at Finley Stadium. The loss spoiled a strong comeback for Chattanooga after a fast start by the Eagles.
GSU took a 21-7 lead, scoring touchdowns on three of its first four possessions. Jacob Huesman's two-yard first quarter score was sandwiched by three rushing touchdowns for the Eagles. Darreion Robinson (29 yards) and Jerick McKinnon (10 and 18 yards) looked like a juggernaut early.
But the Mocs defense stiffened and the offense took flight on Huesman's legs. The redshirt freshman quarterback ran for a career-high 170 yards on 26 carries, scoring twice in the game. Down 21-7, he engineered a drive that resulted in Nick Pollard nailing a career-best-tying 39-yard field goal which led to a 21-10 deficit at intermission.
That trio of points started a great run for the Mocs. It was the beginning of 17 unanswered as Chattanooga dominated play in the third quarter. Marquis Green and Huesman scored on six and 10-yard runs, respectively, to give UTC a 24-21 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
After holding GSU to a three-and-out on the first possession of the fourth quarter, a turnover sent the Mocs defense back on the field. Tommy Hudson fumbled the GSU punt which the Eagles recovered on the UTC 36. McKinnon converted a key third-down in the drive to get the ball inside the UTC 10 at the nine.
The Mocs defense was up to the task. It allowed just two more yards in three plays and Alex Hanks tied the game at 24-all with a 24-yard FG. Neither offense mounted a dangerous threat although the Eagles did manage to give Hanks a chance from 49 yards out to win the game. His kick was not close and free football for all commenced in the Scenic City.
Georgia Southern wasted no time. Two plays and a score as Robinson ran 20 yards down the right sideline for the 31-24 lead.
The Mocs opened with a Huesman to Terrell Robinson connection for nine yards and a Huesman three-yard run. But three plays later they faced elimination on fourth-and-five from the eight. Huesman scrambled, bought time and found Faysal Shafaat in the back of the end zone to tie the game at 31.
In the second extra period, UTC started with the ball. Three plays netted one yard. Pollard's 41-yard field goal effort sailed wide right opening the door for the Eagles. It was slammed shut on the first play as Zack Rayl pounced on McKinnon's fumble sending the game to a third overtime period.
GSU started with the ball and could not have been more methodical. It took 10 plays to move 25 yards converting on short-yardage three times, including fourth-and-one before McKinnon edged in from a yard out. He rushed in for the two-point conversion for a 39-31 advantage.
That score would hold up. The Mocs got inside the Eagles' 10 but could not convert on fourth-and-two from the five. The loss overshadowed some amazing efforts.
Huesman's 170 yards rushing is the second-most by a freshman in school history. He had a game-high 282 yards of total offense throwing for 102 on 11 of 20 passing and a touchdown. He also caught a Robinson offering for 16 yards.
Defensively, Derrick Lott had 15 tackles at defensive tackle. That's a number not often reached by the interior of a defensive line as a unit much less by an individual. He was joined in game-high honors by Wes Dothard with 15 stops of his own.
Defensive end Davis Tull added 12 tackles including three for loss. Safety D.J. Key chipped in 11 tackles of his own.
McKinnon and Robinson paced a stout rushing effort for GSU. McKinnon had 141 yards on 28 carries with three touchdowns while passing for 55 completing three of five attempts. Robinson had two scores of his own running for 74 yards on 11 totes.
All-in-all, the Eagles amassed 372 yards on the ground to 198 for the Mocs. GSU had 217 yards at the half and 109 in the final two quarters of regulation. It added 46 in the extra periods.
Both teams had two turnovers. GSU converted the Mocs' miscues into 10 points, while UTC had seven off the Eagles' lone regulation fumble.