With under-the-weather coach Pat Sullivan somewhere on Samford's campus last Saturday in Birmingham, the Bulldogs pulled off a dramatic 24-21 win over Furman.
Diagnosed with pneumonia, Sullivan was away from the team for nearly all of last week, though he remained in communication with his staff. Associate head coach and defensive coordinator Bill D'Ottavio said during Tuesday's Southern Conference coaches' teleconference that Sullivan was on site during the game.
Beyond that, however, mum was the word on how the coaching dynamic worked.
"We had a plan in place and I'd really rather not go into specifics," D'Ottavio said while filling in for Sullivan on the call for the second week in a row. "We had a plan before the game, and we worked it out. He was involved, like he's been involved all week, and we got it done."
Samford's Cameron Yaw kicked a 27-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the game to lift the Bulldogs to the win. In his first start, Samford senior quarterback Andy Summerlin, a Memphis transfer, was 23-of-37 passing for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
After the game, Summerlin told the Birmingham News that Sullivan spoke to the team the night before the game. D'Ottavio said he didn't have a timetable for the head coach's return.
"We're going to have to play that as it comes," he said. "His doctor wants him to really rest, and we'll keep adjusting that as we go. He gets more and more involved each day, and we're looking forward to when he gets back here full time."
Run, run, run
In the only SoCon game this weekend, third-ranked Georgia Southern visits The Citadel in a run-heavy matchup of triple-option teams.
Last week, Georgia Southern lit up Jacksonville University 58-0 without a single passing yard. Three GSU quarterbacks were a combined 0-for-8 passing with two interceptions. The Eagles didn't need to throw because their run game was relentless, racking up 557 yards.
The Citadel also piled up the rushing yards, 479, while backup quarterback Aaron Miller completed three of five passes for 48 yards.
Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein, last season's SoCon offensive player of the year, got his season off on the right foot against Gardner-Webb. He rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. ... The marquee nonconference game of the week will take place in Boone, N.C., on Saturday, when No. 8 Appalachian State hosts No. 9 Montana.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth 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 ...