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FCS Game of the Week Preview: #14 Samford at #5 Wofford

Can the Terriers pull out another close game?

NCAA Football: Wofford at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 1:30 p.m. ET

Location: Gibbs Stadium, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Where To Watch: ESPN3/WatchESPN

Betting Odds: Wofford -2, O/U 54

Odds via sportsbooks monitored by GamblersPalace.com


Wofford will face its last big FCS test on Saturday when the Samford Bulldogs come to town. The Terriers have knocked off all the other contenders in the Southern Conference save the Bulldogs, and a win would essentially cement their status as conference champions.

Samford isn’t much of an underdog in this one though. Although Wofford is a top five team, the Terriers have not been dominant in their wins. Five of their six wins were by four points or less by the end of regulation and they have made a habit out of putting a scare into their fans before pulling out a win.

Will Wofford keep walking the high-wire, or will Samford be able to knock them off?

Reasons to Like Wofford

The Terriers have one of the best ground games in the country. Wofford is sixth in the FCS in rushing yards per game and the team is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. This is what the triple option is designed to do and it’s no surprise to see the Terriers near the top in this category.

What sets Wofford apart from other teams though is quarterback Brandon Goodson. Goodson doesn’t throw the ball much, but teams have to respect the pass with him under center. He is averaging 9.7 yards per attempt and has yet to throw an interception on the season. His play was the deciding factor in the Terriers’ win over The Citadel last week.

Reasons Not to Like Wofford

For whatever reason, this defense has not been as good as you would expect. Yes, Wofford is ranked 18th in the nation in total defense, but a lot of that is a result of the team’s slow pace of play. The Terriers are allowing 4.8 yards per play and that puts them about 10 spots further down the list in that particular category.

To be fair, the defense isn’t bad, but the Terriers had eight starters returning from last year’s team and they haven’t been as effective this year. They have allowed at least 23 points in four of their six games this season.

Reasons to Like Samford

Wofford hasn’t played a team that likes to throw the ball as much as Samford does. The Bulldogs love to throw it all over the place. Quarterback Devlin Hodges is the only quarterback in the conference that’s averaging more than 300 yards through the air per game and he doesn’t make many mistakes. Hodges has a 17 to 4 touchdown-to-interception ratio and is completing two-thirds of his passes.

He has had success against every defense he has faced this season, even Georgia. Hodges recently became the school’s all-time leading passer and will test this Terriers defense.

Reasons Not to Like Samford

The Bulldogs do not have a good defense. Samford is ranked 100th in the country in total defense and while the yards per play averages are a little better, this isn’t a good unit.

Samford has been unable to establish the run on a consistent basis this year and that has hurt the school against the better teams on its schedule. The Terriers know what Hodges did to them last year and will hang back and try to force the Bulldogs to beat them on the ground. A respectable ground game would at least keep Wofford honest.

Prediction

Hodges was phenomenal in picking apart the Terriers defense in Birmingham last year. He went 28-32 for 315 yards with four touchdowns and led Samford to a 28-26 over Wofford.

This time around things will be different. Wofford will hang back and clog the lanes enough to keep Hodges in check. The Terriers have found a way all year and will do it again to go to 7-0

Final Score: Wofford 31, Samford 27