COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Wofford stayed in the Southern Conference race with a win last week over Appalachian State. Terriers coach Mike Ayers knows they will have to do the same thing Saturday against The Citadel to keep their title hopes alive.
"The loss against Georgia Southern put us on the slippery slope," Ayers said. "Our emphasis to our guys last week was it's a championship game. Our emphasis this week is it's a championship game. There's no room for error."
In other games Saturday involving South Carolina's Football Championship Subdivision teams, Furman travels to Elon; South Carolina State hosts Howard; Coastal Carolina hosts Liberty; Presbyterian hosts Stony Brook; and Charleston Southern hosts Edward Waters.
In Spartanburg, Wofford (6-1, 4-1) is aware it is playing a Citadel (4-3, 3-2) team that can beat anyone.
"They have beaten App and they have beaten Georgia Southern. They are a football team that has it going," Ayers said.
But the Bulldogs haven't had it going all the time. After beating the Mountaineers and Eagles, The Citadel lost three in a row before beating Western Carolina 45-31 two weeks ago as it headed into the bye week.
Still, the Bulldogs have a chance to win the conference, but they will have to beat the Terriers for the first time since 1998 and get some help. Citadel coach Kevin Higgins said his team will have to get its option attack going against a tough defensive front.
"Every team they have gone up against this season, for the most part, has had trouble running the ball," Higgins said.
Not only are the Bulldogs facing the SoCon's best rushing defense, allowing less than 102 yards a game, but the Terriers also have the league's best running offense at 408 yards a game.
Higgins said his team will need to get some turnovers to win the game.
"Hopefully we can figure out a way to get some first downs, hold on to the football and put some points on the board," Higgins said.
In Elon, N.C., Furman (2-6, 1-4 SoCon) takes on a team in the middle of a similar disappointing season in Elon (3-4, 1-3).
The Paladins are guaranteed to have their second losing season in three years, after having just three losing seasons from 1977 to 2009. A loss to the Phoenix on Saturday would be the first four-game losing streak for Furman in 14 seasons.
But Paladins coach Bruce Fowler said his team is still focused.
"Our guys are pretty resilient. We're not winning games the way we want, but they are staying in there and practicing hard," Fowler said.
Elon has won the last four games between the teams.
In Orangeburg, South Carolina State (3-5, 2-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic) is playing the unusual role of spoiler against Howard (5-2, 4-1).
The Bison are still in the race for the MEAC title, while the Bulldogs fell out of the race barely into October. But South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough said his team gave him some hope in last week's 27-20 overtime win over Florida A&M.
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