Chattanooga has suffered two Southern Conference losses in a row, and both were tough to swallow.
The No. 24 Mocs (2-3, 0-2 SoCon) didn’t allow an offensive touchdown two weeks ago against Appalachian State and lost, 14-12, and watched The Citadel score 28 unanswered points in the second half last Saturday for a 28-27 comeback win.
Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman doesn’t have to look far to find inspiration for his Mocs. He uses the Georgia Southern Eagles, Saturday’s opponent, to draw inspiration. Not the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Eagles of 2011, but the 2010 squad that overcame a 4-4 start to make a run to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.
“We all know they’re
No. 1 in the country. I voted them No. 1 in the country in the coaches poll. They’ve done a great job this year,” Huesman said about GSU. “When I talk to our football team, I talk about Georgia Southern and what they did last year. They’re a football team that got better as the year went on. You could just see them getting better. Well-coached football teams do that. They get better. Our football team has to do that.”
The Eagles (4-0, 3-0) host Chattanooga Saturday at
3 p.m. in Paulson Stadium.
The Mocs feature two of the league’s best receivers in Joel Bradford and Marlon Anthony, and the second-best passer in B.J. Coleman, who averages 254 yards per game.
While the Eagles are first in rushing defense (57 yards per game) and second in scoring defense (18 ppg), they are last in passing (271 ypg), although Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken doesn’t get too wrapped up in numbers.
“Stats are overrated. You see that plenty,” Monken said. “We’ve been fortunate to win all of the games we’ve played so far. That’s the stat I’m most concerned about as a coach. We’ve given up some passing yards and played some teams that have thrown the ball quite a bit.
“We gave up a lot of yards in some of those games, and we’ve played some teams that throw the ball pretty good. What we’ve been able to do is stop people from running the football, and that’s been important for us. Maybe that’s an old-school philosophy, but I think it’s important to stop the run.”
A week off to focus
No. 8 Appalachian State (3-2, 1-1) struggled to get anything going in Saturday’s 28-14 loss to No. 5 Wofford. The Mountaineers will have a week off to regroup.
“We got beat by a pretty good football team, I think,” ASU coach Jerry Moore said. “I’ll just congratulate them on what they did, and we just have to get to work and get better in a lot of different areas. We had some good opportunities and we weren’t good enough to make the most of them.”
It is a good time for a break, as quarterback DeAndre Presley, a runner up for the 2010 Walter Payton Award, injured his throwing shoulder against the Terriers. His return is an unknown at this point.
“I know he will not practice this week. I know at least that,” Moore said. “We’ll give him the week off and we won’t know until Sunday afternoon what his status is.”
Wofford will face The Citadel (2-2, 1-2) Saturday at
Head coach Mike Ayers won’t take the Bulldogs lightly after their comeback win over UTC.
“Man, oh man, did those guys fight,” he said. “We looked at the film, and it’s a credit to (Citadel coach Kevin Higgins) and his staff.”
Probably 99 percent of teams in America, if they were down 27, they would have started packing the balls. But those guys fought the fight, they played until the end and came up with a way to win.”
Double the threat
If Furman (3-1, 2-0) proved anything in Saturday’s 47-21 win over Western Carolina, it’s that the Paladins have a quarterback that’s good for more than just rushing yards.
Chris Forcier transferred to Furman in 2009 from UCLA, and at the time, was known for his speed.
He leads the SoCon in passing efficiency (49 of 63, 671 yards, 12 touchdowns, no interceptions) to go along with his 140 rushing yards.
“A lot of people thought he was a running guy, but gosh, when he has guys open, he just doesn’t miss,” said Samford coach Pat Sullivan, whose Bulldogs (2-2, 0-2) travel to Furman Saturday at 1:30 p.m. “It’s certainly gotten our attention when we started studying film.”
Elon (3-2, 1-1) faces Western Carolina (1-3, 0-2) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Cullowhee, N.C. to round out the weekend’s action in SoCon play.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.