College Sports Journal SoCon Preview Week of 4/3/2021
April 2, 2021
Last week, Chattanooga opted to play backup players to prepare the team for the Fall season. That resulted in the Mocs losing to Mercer 35-28. After the loss, Chattanooga opted out of the rest of the Spring. That loss opened the door for VMI. With their win over Wofford 36-31, VMI is now in the drivers seat for the Southern Conference title. With a win this week against East Tennessee State, they would clinch that berth – and avoid a boatload of potential tiebreaker headaches for the SoCon League office in terms of autobid determination.
The Citadel is running out of time to pick up a win this season. They were blown out by Samford last week and show no signs of getting better. The defense is a mess, allowing 33 points per game. The offense is in even worse shape, scoring only 13.7. This is a season to forget. Good on them for continuing to play and not opting out. But they’ll hope to be better in the fall.
Wofford is also just playing out the string. The Terriers are riding a three-game losing streak and will see their streak of conference championships end as well. They should be better in the fall, but for the spring, it just isn’t there for them.
Fearless Prediction: Which of these South Carolina teams has more heart to finish it off? Wofford 27, The Citadel 7
With a 3-1 record, East Tennessee State is still in position to win the Southern Conference if they win out. However, they look a little like smoke and mirrors. Every game they have played has been a one score game. None of their games have seen a team score 30 points. The Buccaneers have been carried by running back Quay Holmes. In four games, Holmes has run for 416 yards and scored six touchdowns. Its safe to say, without him, the Buccaneers would have a much different outlook on their season. The Buccaneers defense has been good, holding opponents to just 282 yards per game. So they are never out of it.
It was announced this week that VMI quarterback Reese Udinski would miss the rest of the season due to injury. That is a big blow to the Keydets. Seth Morgan stepped in last week and the offense did not miss a beat in the win over Wofford. Morgan threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns and added 76 yards on the ground. When VMI needs a big play, they look to wide receiver Jakob Herres who has 48 catches for 583 yards and six touchdowns. VMI may be the most balanced team in the FCS.
Fearless Prediction: This is a de facto conference championship game. VMI has been much more impressive overall. Virginia Military 34, East Tennessee State 23
While Furman still has an outside shot at the SoCon title, the hopes are slim. The Paladins have been fairly inconsistent, especially on offense. Their result seems to be more dictated by the opponent more so than how Furman is playing. On offense, Devin Wynn has been good, averaging 85 yards per game. He has also accounted for 4 touchdowns. Hamp Sisson has thrown 10 touchdown passes. But taking the good with the bad, he has thrown seven interceptions. That inconsistency is what has them at 3-2
Mercer was able to beat Chattanooga’s second string last week. The Bears play hard each week, but they don’t have as much talent as many of the other teams they play. But they do sit with a respectable 3-2 conference record and would really take some momentum to the fall if they can pick up another win or two. If the Bears can improve their defense, then they may compete down the road.
Fearless Prediction: Furman is looking to keep they slim hopes alive. They should take this one. Furman 30, Mercer 20
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He's witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners. Reach him at: