published Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Rest of SoCon rooting for Eagles against Wofford

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    Georgia Southern players thank their fans following a 45-21 loss to Alabama in their NCAA college football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Georgia Southern may have picked up a lot of fans in the Southern Conference this week. In what may prove to be the marquee SoCon matchup this season, the nationally seventh-ranked Eagles host undefeated and No. 4 Wofford on Saturday.

The Terriers (5-0, 3-0) are the only team without a loss in league play, which means Georgia Southern (4-1, 3-1) would help itself and everyone else in the SoCon by winning.

"They've been beating people all year and beating them handily," Eagles coach Jeff Monken said of the Terriers, who are first in the SoCon in scoring (46.8 points per game) and first in scoring defense (13.6 papg).

That's an average margin of victory of more than 33 points, although the combined record of Wofford's opponents, who include Furman, Western Carolina and Elon, is 6-23. The Terriers can't control the quality of their opponents and have drilled everyone but Furman, which led Wofford 17-13 in the fourth quarter last Saturday before the Terriers pulled out a 20-17 win.

Wofford and its triple-option lead the Football Championship Subdivision with 448.8 rushing yards per game -- individually, fullback Eric Breitenstein is second in the FCS at 178.6 a game -- and the Eagles' triple-option is second at 437.

Georgia Southern's only loss was a 26-23 defeat at The Citadel. The Eagles squeaked out a 26-23 win against Elon two weeks later and then beat Samford and Western Carolina.

Furman up, down

Furman, which hosts the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Saturday, is second in the SoCon with 22 first downs a game, yet it is eighth in third-down conversions. The Paladins are 24-of-77 (31.2 percent) on turning thirds into firsts, which means they're having a lot of success on first and second downs.

Also, the Paladins are last in turnover ratio at minus-three and eighth in the SoCon in the red zone, scoring on just 13 of 22 trips (10 touchdowns) inside the 20-yard line.

Extra points

UTC coach Russ Huesman said Zach McCarter will start at free safety Saturday. McCarter will be the fourth starter in as many games at the position, following Sema'je Kendall (first three games), Ketih Mayes (Appalachian State) and Chaz Moore (The Citadel). ... The UTC-Furman game can be seen on ESPN3.com. This will be UTC's first game on the website, which is now the SoCon's only football telecast partner, since the season opener at South Florida.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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