S.C. State attempts to set a MEAC record today against Morgan State with its 18th consecutive conference victory. The Bulldogs (8-1, 6-0 MEAC), who are ranked No. 9 in FCS, tied the mark held by Hampton last week against Howard. A win today or next week against North Carolina A&T will clinch S.C. State's second consecutive MEAC title and automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. The Bulldogs have not won back-to-back titles since 1983, when they captured the last of four consecutive championships. Two key Bulldogs are still chasing career records. Running back Will Ford needs 262 yards to become the MEAC's all-time leading rusher. And wide receiver Tre Young, who has 46 receptions this season and 116 overall, needs one more catch to set the school's record. He already broke Charlie Brown's record for career receiving yards.
SOCKS ON THE BEACH
Presbyterian (0-9, 0-4 Big South) heads to Coastal Carolina (4-5, 2-2) still searching for its first win under coach Harold Nichols. It is not going to be easy since the Chanticleers are 4-0 at home this season. The Blue Hose quarterbacks are going to have to avoid throwing near Coastal Carolina's sophomore cornerback Josh Norman, who tied a league record by picking off three passes in last week's victory against Gardner-Webb. It earned the Greenwood native conference defensive player of the week honors as well as several national designations. His seven interceptions are a new single-season Big South record and boosts his career total to nine, which ranks fourth on the Coastal all-time list. PC's quarterbacks have combined to throw a league-high 22 interceptions.
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BUCS BATTLING THE BEST
Charleston Southern (4-5, 2-2 Big South) plays host to conference co-leader Stony Brook (5-4, 4-0). The Bucs will need another big performance from quarterback A.J. Toscano, who passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns in last week's 46-32 victory against Presbyterian. Toscano earned conference offensive player of the week honors for his effort. Stony Brook could win the Big South title in its second year in the league with a win today and against Liberty next week. The Seawolves defeated CSU 20-19 last season, but they will need to slow Toscano and wide receiver Gerald Stevenson, who caught 10 passes, two for scores, last week. Stevenson leads the Bucs in receiving and rushing.
The state's Southern Conference teams have had their share of ups and down. Furman (4-5, 3-3 SoCon) and Wofford (3-6, 2-4) have not experienced the success of years past. Furman, which goes to Georgia Southern, is trying to avoid its first losing season since 1998. Wofford, which hosts Samford today, has clinched its first losing season since 2001. The Citadel (4-5, 2-4), which plays at Chattanooga, continues to plod around the .500 mark. The Bulldogs, who have matched last season's win total, still have a chance at a winning season. Furman's matchup against GSU is the first time since 1994 that neither team is ranked in the Top 25 when facing each other.
IT'S ALL OVER
Benedict finished with five consecutive wins in coach Stanley Conner's third season. His teams have improved from 2-9 to 5-6 to 8-3 over that period. Quarterback Pat Riley finished the season on a high note by winning the SIAC offensive player of the week in a 49-25 victory against Clark Atlanta, when he rushed for 148 yards and one touchdown and threw for 175 yards and three scores. His final numbers were 1,088 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns and 887 yards passing and eight touchdowns. Newberry (6-4) also closed out coach Todd Knight's first season on a high note with a 28-3 victory against Brevard. It also placed 10 players on the All-SAC teams, with junior safety Ron Parker winning defensive player of the year. Parker was second in the league with 83 tackles and collected off a SAC-best six interceptions. He returned one for a touchdown and forced two fumbles.
- Neil White