THE CITADEL (3-3, 1-3 SoCon) at UTC (1-6, 1-3)
2 p.m. ' Finley Stadium
96.1 FM and ESPN3 (online)
The Bulldogs' triple-option offense has been slowed so far in Southern Conference play, as they have averaged 238 yards rushing in four league games after totaling 809 in two nonconference contests. The last time UTC's Mocs faced an option-type attack, they gave up 290 rushing yards in a lopsided loss to Furman, although over 200 of those came in the first half. The Mocs have felt confident about the game plan put together this week, but they could really help themselves by forcing a turnover or two, something they haven't done in three consecutive losses.
ONE TO WATCH
UTC running back Darrell Bridges has been his best when he's had most of the carries for the offense. In a pair of starts, he's gained 146 yards and scored twice; he gained a total of 49 yards in the five other games. With Richardre Bagley likely out for a second consecutive game, it looks as though Bridges will be the guy, and he'll need to have a good effort against a Citadel defense that leads the SoCon against the run (106.7 yards allowed per game).
IN THE END
The Mocs have won two straight home games against the Bulldogs but are in a three-game losing streak at Finley Stadium. This meeting is a far cry from the 2016 game in Charleston, S.C., when both teams were ranked inside the FCS top 10. Both enter today's game on three-game losing skids, with two of the Bulldogs' losses coming at home, so a level of urgency will reside on both sidelines. UTC wants to start to right its ship while the Bulldogs want to stay in playoff contention. The Mocs have talked of being aggressive early to avoid having to play from behind the entire game, so they may begin with added pressure on a Citadel pass defense ranking in the bottom half of the league in most categories. An early lead against a triple-option team could help force the Bulldogs out of what they want to do and make them throw the ball.
PREDICTION: UTC 31, The Citadel 20