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SC State looks to start run to MEAC crown

Associated Press Modified: September 7, 2012 at 11:46 am •  Published: September 7, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough liked what he saw from his team in beating Georgia State. He didn't have so good a time watching football the rest of the weekend, particularly seeing Bethune-Cookman rally past Alabama State.

"If anyone saw that, Bethune looked as good as anyone I've seen in some time," Pough said this week.

South Carolina State (1-0) takes on Bethune-Cookman (1-0) at Bulldog Stadium on Saturday to try and get an early leg up in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title chase. Pough's teams won titles from 2008 to 2010, but fell short last season. The players and coaches have used that as motivation during the offseason.

In other college games involving South Carolina schools, The Citadel hosts Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina travels to Furman, Wofford takes on Lincoln and Charleston Southern faces Jacksonville.

Presbyterian steps up to play Georgia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Pough felt good about his team's showing when it began the season with a 33-6 win at the Georgia Dome over Georgia State on Aug. 30. The Thursday night game gave him some time to take in other college football. He was surprised when Bethune-Cookman fell behind by three touchdowns. Things got more distressing when Pough saw his upcoming opponents rally for a 38-28 win.

Also pointing against South Carolina State? It's lost four of the past five times Bethune-Cookman's come to campus.

"We talked about the situation" this week, Pough said. "What the heck's going on? We've got to turn that around."

In Charleston, Citadel (1-0) hopes its triple-option offense can match up to the Georgia Southern (1-0) the defending Southern Conference champions. Citadel defeated city rival Charleston Southern 49-14 last week in a game where the Bulldogs rushed for 479 yards.

Georgia Southern got effective play on the ground, too, rushing for 559 yards in a 58-0 win over Jacksonville last week. The Eagles have won five straight in the series, although Citadel had a chance to win last season but missed a 37-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the 14-12 defeat.

Citadel has lost nine straight conference games at home, dating to a 2009 victory over Samford.

In Greenville, Coastal Carolina (1-0) and Furman (0-1) are each seeking to make major strides back to the top this season. Coastal comes off a 29-13 victory over North Carolina A&T that was the first collegiate victory for first-year coach Joe Moglia. Ex-South Carolina quarterback Aramis Hilary threw for one touchdown and ran for another in Moglia's "Coastal Wave" offense.

Coastal's Dontavais Johnson had three interceptions to lead the Chanticleers defense.

Furman fell in its opener, losing 27-24 at Samford.

The Paladins have won two of its three all-time meetings with Coastal Carolina.

"They took a loss last week and they're going to be hungry for a win," Hillary said. "We've got to be prepared."

In Spartanburg, Wofford (1-0) will celebrate coach Mike Ayers' 25th season as coach before taking on Lincoln (0-1) a first-time NCAA Division II opponent.

Ayers has brought the Terriers from Division II and made them a powerhouse in the Football Championship Subdivision with four NCAA playoff appearances the past five years. Wofford should contend again in the Southern Conference, especially if fullback Eric Breitenstein plays like he did in the 34-7 victory over Gardner-Webb last week.

Breitenstein rushed for 219 of Wofford's 402 yards on the ground. The Terriers defense held Gardner-Webb to 12 yards rushing.

In North Charleston, Charleston Southern (0-1) again looks to end the longest losing streak in Division I when it takes on Jacksonville (0-1). Both programs come off openers where they were run over by Southern Conference teams.

Charleston Southern fumbled twice early in the second half to squander a 14-7 lead before falling to The Citadel. Jacksonville was outgained by nearly 400 yards in a 58-0 defeat to Georgia Southern.

In Atlanta, Presbyterian (1-0) heads into the first of two straight games with opponents from the Football Bowl Subdivision when they face Georgia Tech (0-1). After the trip to Atlanta, the Blue Hose will take on Vanderbilt of the Southeastern Conference on Sept. 15.

Presbyterian is coming off a 45-10 victory over Division II Brevard.


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