College Sports

Five state college football storylines

DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS

Furman travels to rival The Citadel, but the Paladins are not headed to the same place as the Bulldogs. Furman (4-2, 3-1 SoCon) is going up in the Southern Conference standings, while The Citadel (2-4, 0-3) is down after three consecutive losses. Last week's 14-10 loss to previously-winless Western Carolina team was especially crushing. The Paladins, meanwhile, blocked a 38-yard field goal on the final play of the game to defeat Samford 26-24. The Bulldogs are looking for their first back-to-back victories against Furman in Charleston since 1991 and 1993.

GOING UP

S.C. State continues its climb up the national rankings. The Bulldogs moved up to No. 10 in both the FCS coaches poll and Sports Network poll. In addition, they remain No. 1 among historically black colleges. With an impressive 35-20 victory against a ranked Florida A&M squad last week, S.C. State showed that its rankings are well-deserved. More importantly, the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-0), who play at Hampton today, remain on track to repeat as MEAC champions and earn a bid to the FCS playoffs. The only other unbeaten MEAC team is Morgan State, which travels to Orangeburg Nov. 14. But Buddy Pough knows his team must win its next three games before worrying about that.

COMING HOME

Newberry returns to Setzler Field after a big victory against Wingate last week, a victory where quarterback Brandon Gantt lit up the skies thanks to a pair of impressive performances by receivers Brandon Bostick and David Smith. In the 35-27 victory, Bostick caught nine passes for 158 yards and Smith made seven catches for 142 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown reception that gave Newberry the lead. Expect the skies at the homecoming game to be filled with footballs with Gantt, who has completed 147-of-249 passes for 1,776 yards and 10 touchdowns, squaring off against Tusculum quarterback Bo Cordell. Newberry (4-3, 2-2 SAC) also hopes to inch its way up the conference standings against the Pioneers (1-6, 0-4).

INTO THE VALLEY

Benedict welcomes Fort Valley State at 2 p.m. for its homecoming game. The Tigers have put together a solid season, and have improved to 5-3 overall and 3-3 in the conference. But this is not going to be a pushover as Fort Valley State comes in at 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the SIAC. The Tigers continue to ride the solid play of quarterback Pat Riley, who has rushed for a team-high 721 yards and seven touchdowns and passed for 523 yards and four TDs. The defense is getting strong play from safety Marquez Gibson, who has 48 tackles and four interceptions, including one for a 64-yard touchdown in last week's 28-14 victory against Kentucky State.

HOPING TO BUC A TREND

Charleston Southern is 1-7 against ranked FCS teams. And with No. 23 Liberty in town for homecoming, it does not help that the Bucs are 2-14 against the Flames. Last week in their Big South openers, as CSU (2-4, 0-1) lost to Gardner-Webb, while Liberty (4-2, 1-0) blew out Coastal Carolina 58-13. The Flames, two-time defending conference champions, are led by former USC quarterback Tommy Beecher and a strong rushing game that produced six touchdowns last week. CSU is led by receiver Gerald Stevenson, who is the only player in the FCS to lead his team in rushing and receiving yards.

- Neil White

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