SoCon baseball: 2016 conference-only statistics, with a little commentary

I recently wrote about The Citadel’s upcoming baseball campaign. While doing a little research, I wound up with a bunch of league-only stats for all SoCon teams, not just The Citadel. I decided to stick that information in another post, just in case anyone was interested.

Obviously, quite a bit of this is available at the league website, but I’ve also included a few other statistical categories, including team park factors, normalized run totals, and some offshoots of standard stats (like K/9, K/B ratio, etc.). I also delved into the mind of Pythagoras. Well, maybe not…

Anyway, here it is. Keep in mind, these are for conference games only. Each team played 24 league contests during the regular season, 12 at home and 12 on the road.

(Also keep in mind that I’m not exactly a statistical savant. I’m just here to entertain the masses.)

Pitching ERA W L SV IP H R ER
Mer 4.82 16 8 7 213 225 126 114
Sam 5.41 13 11 5 216.3 232 137 130
UNCG 5.56 15 9 6 209 226 144 129
WCU 6.06 15 9 5 215.3 248 162 145
Woff 6.16 12 12 4 209 257 160 143
Fur 6.27 14 10 8 209.7 238 156 146
ETSU 6.96 13 11 4 208.3 252 185 161
TC 7.29 6 18 4 207.3 253 190 168
VMI 7.86 4 20 0 208.3 275 213 182
Totals 6.26 108 108 43 1896.3 2206 1473 1318

 

Pitching BB SO P-HR BAA WP P-HBP BK SHA-SFA
Mer 86 165 29 0.274 23 28 2 13-6
Sam 101 154 21 0.283 21 32 0 21-14
UNCG 117 171 25 0.282 22 25 2 22-13
WCU 137 212 37 0.297 23 22 5 20-9
Woff 95 199 33 0.307 28 18 1 17-7
Fur 106 168 26 0.295 26 23 2 25-12
ETSU 102 172 36 0.300 25 16 6 16-13
TC 118 158 26 0.303 41 27 2 14-8
VMI 110 149 45 0.318 29 29 4 12-16
Totals 972 1548 278 0.296 238 220 24 160-98

 

Pitching AB DER K/BB K/9 BB/9 WHIP PF-Avg Nm-RA
Mer 822 0.697 1.92 6.97 3.63 1.46 111.88 119.26
Sam 821 0.690 1.52 6.41 4.20 1.54 105.00 138.16
UNCG 801 0.686 1.46 7.36 5.04 1.64 103.63 147.15
WCU 835 0.657 1.55 8.86 5.73 1.79 112.75 152.14
Woff 837 0.644 2.09 8.57 4.09 1.68 101.75 166.51
Fur 806 0.673 1.58 7.21 4.55 1.64 105.38 156.76
ETSU 841 0.674 1.69 7.43 4.41 1.70 102.63 190.88
TC 836 0.663 1.34 6.86 5.12 1.79 98.63 203.99
VMI 865 0.671 1.35 6.44 4.75 1.85 111.38 202.51
Totals 7464 0.673 1.59 7.35 4.61 1.68 105.89 163.67

 

DER stands for Defensive Efficiency Rating, not to be confused with fielding percentage. DER is simply the rate at which batted balls put into play are converted into outs by a team’s defense.

The two statistics did not quite match up, which is not surprising. Fielding percentage does not necessarily indicate how well a team fields. If a play is not made, but is not an error, it is still a play that is not made.

Wofford, for example, finished in the middle of the pack in fielding percentage, but was last in DER. Of course, that doesn’t automatically mean the Terriers were the worst-fielding squad in the league. There are sample size issues, for one thing, and park factors can also come into play.

However, Wofford finished only fifth in WHIP despite leading the league in K/BB ratio. The Terriers had the second-highest K/9 and the second-lowest BB/9. Wofford allowed the second-most hits in the league (and the second-most hits that were not homers).

The “PF-Avg” and “NM-RA” categories are, respectively, “Average Park Factors” and “Normalized Runs Allowed”. I averaged park factors for every team’s league schedule, using Boyd Nation’s most recent park effects data. From that, I calculated “normalized” runs; in other words, how many runs a team would have scored (or allowed) during the conference season playing in a league-neutral environment.

As you can see, the average SoCon squad scored 163.67 runs in 24 games. Mercer, which allowed the fewest runs during conference play, fares well in this category as well. The pitching for Western Carolina and VMI looks a little better as their respective parks are taken into account.

Batting AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR BB
WCU 0.337 866 224 292 43 1 48 128
ETSU 0.330 861 211 284 58 5 39 98
UNCG 0.327 830 178 271 52 10 29 97
Mer 0.302 786 175 237 42 3 32 135
Fur 0.294 827 153 243 42 3 31 77
Sam 0.282 859 155 242 48 4 33 121
TC 0.271 814 127 221 44 4 24 112
Woff 0.266 808 137 215 44 9 14 101
VMI 0.247 813 113 201 47 4 28 103
Totals 0.296 7464 1473 2206 420 43 278 972

 

Batting SO SB ATT SB% HBP SAC GIDP SF
WCU 116 49 60 0.817 40 21 18 13
ETSU 147 37 49 0.755 25 9 13 12
UNCG 151 32 40 0.800 25 14 24 12
Mer 170 8 19 0.421 24 45 13 17
Fur 150 19 24 0.792 24 14 11 12
Sam 167 16 20 0.800 19 8 11 7
TC 204 14 21 0.667 21 26 8 16
Woff 199 37 48 0.771 20 14 11 6
VMI 244 21 29 0.724 22 9 8 5
Totals 1548 233 310 0.752 220 160 117 100

 

Batting SLG% OB% OPS PF-Avg NM-R
WCU 0.555 0.439 0.994 112.75 210.37
ETSU 0.545 0.409 0.954 102.63 217.71
UNCG 0.518 0.409 0.927 103.63 181.89
Mer 0.485 0.412 0.897 111.88 165.64
Fur 0.464 0.366 0.830 105.38 153.75
Sam 0.462 0.380 0.842 105.00 156.31
TC 0.424 0.368 0.792 98.63 136.35
Woff 0.395 0.359 0.754 101.75 142.57
VMI 0.418 0.346 0.764 111.38 107.43
Totals 0.475 0.388 0.863 105.89 163.67

 

Based on this, it appears East Tennessee State could make a claim to being the league’s best offense last season (at least, in conference action). I have to say, though, that Western Carolina almost pulling off a 1.000 team OPS in SoCon play is quite impressive, regardless of park effects.

I also ran a Pythagorean theorem check to see if any of the league’s teams were luckier than average. Let me explain…well, I’ll let Wikipedia handle it:

Pythagorean expectation is a formula invented by Bill James to estimate how many games a baseball team “should” have won based on the number of runs they scored and allowed. Comparing a team’s actual and Pythagorean winning percentage can be used to evaluate how lucky that team was (by examining the variation between the two winning percentages). The name comes from the formula’s resemblance to the Pythagorean theorem.

I used the most basic formula, not the revised Pythagenpat calculation, mainly because I’m not sure if Pythagenpat really applies to college baseball. It probably does, but I don’t think it matters much for a league season in which each team plays 24 games.

Here is the table in question:

Team RS RA PyThm Exp W Actual W Diff
WCU 224 162 0.657 15.758 15 -0.758
ETSU 211 185 0.565 13.569 13 -0.569
UNCG 178 144 0.604 14.506 15 0.494
Mer 175 126 0.659 15.806 16 0.194
Fur 153 156 0.490 11.767 14 2.233
Sam 155 137 0.561 13.474 13 -0.474
TC 127 190 0.309 7.412 6 -1.412
Woff 137 160 0.423 10.152 12 1.848
VMI 113 213 0.220 5.271 4 -1.271
Totals 1473 1473 0.500 12.000 12 0.000

The “luckiest” team in the league in 2016 appears to have been Furman. The Paladins scored almost the same number of runs as they allowed, but wound up finishing 14-10.

Wofford finished 12-12 despite allowing almost one more run per game than its opponents. The two “unluckiest” teams in the league, The Citadel and VMI, finished next-to-last and last in the conference standings.

Some of these statistics may be meaningful. Some may not. The bottom line, though, is the only statistic that really matters is how many wins you put on the board.

Game Review, 2016: East Tennessee State

The Citadel 45, East Tennessee State 10.

Links of interest:

Game story, The Post and Courier

Game story, Johnson City Press

Video from WCSC-TV, including interviews with Brent Thompson, Cam Jackson, Dominique Allen, and Jorian Jordan

Video from WCIV-TV, along with (via Twitter) some “raw” first-half highlights

– School release

Box score

The Citadel’s post-game notes

Post-game quotes from ETSU head coach Carl Torbush

Photo gallery from East Tennessee State (via Facebook)

Game highlights

Midway through the first quarter, I knew that The Citadel was going to win. It wasn’t a case of overconfidence, either. It was just obvious.

It felt odd to watch a conference game in such a way. I’m used to being nervous and annoyed and generally unsettled while watching The Citadel play; to not have an angst-ridden experience while cheering on the Bulldogs was strange.

I wasn’t entirely comfortable with being comfortable. However, I suspect I could get used to it.

At any rate, the next relaxing afternoon at Johnson Hagood Stadium will not take place anytime in the near future, as Samford comes to town on Saturday and presents a major challenge for the Cadets. I’ll write about the Birmingham Bulldogs in my game preview later this week.

For now, a few brief thoughts on the game against ETSU:

– The post-game notes package provided by the school included this factoid: the 35-point margin of victory over ETSU was the highest by the Bulldogs in a SoCon game since The Citadel won 44-7 at Elon in 2006.

The last time The Citadel had beaten a conference foe at Johnson Hagood Stadium by 35+ points prior to Saturday? That was in 2001, when the Bulldogs beat VMI 49-7. Before that, you have to go back to 1992 to find a 35+ point home victory over a league opponent (that was also VMI; the score was 50-0).

The most recent such home result before last Saturday that did not involve VMI was a 41-0 win against Marshall in 1978.

– The Citadel was able to rest some of its starters and other key performers for a significant portion of the second half. That may prove very beneficial for those players on the defensive side of the ball, who will need to be fresh this week.

In its loss to Mississippi State on Saturday, Samford ran 104 offensive plays from scrimmage, an extremely high number. How high?

Well, in the overtime victory at Wofford, The Citadel’s defense was on the field for 67 snaps — the most plays faced by the Bulldogs’ D in a game all season.

– A total of 56 Bulldogs saw action against East Tennessee State. Only 46 players took the field for both the Chattanooga and Wofford games.

Of those who played on Saturday, 24 recorded a defensive statistic, the most Bulldogs to do so in a game this year.

– As the players ran onto the field before the game through the “Block C” formation, they were followed by General and Boo. The two dogs wound up near the home sideline as their respective handlers tried to avoid the cadet and player traffic.

I noticed Brent Thompson pet both dogs as he stood along the sideline. I’m not sure how many head coaches have interacted with live animal mascots just before kickoff. At least, it’s not something I’ve seen before.

– The Bulldogs committed a couple of penalties on punt returns on Saturday, which is something that needs to get cleaned up. Having said that, one of the penalties was the very definition of ticky-tacky.

Kailik Williams was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty midway through the fourth quarter. Why? Because after an outstanding punt return by DeAndre Schoultz, Williams was ruled to have stepped out of the sideline “box” area while celebrating.

He did not race onto the field, or make a spectacle of himself. Williams merely walked along the sideline with his arm upraised.

For reasons not immediately clear, one of the officials decided to throw a flag. Perhaps he needed to make his quota.

After watching the replay, ESPN3 analyst Sadath Jean-Pierre said, “That’s a tough call.” It was a very polite thing for him to say.

Remember, if a player gets two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, he is ejected from the game. Imagine if someone got thrown out for that in a tight game.

– Despite rushing for 427 yards against East Tennessee State, The Citadel no longer leads FCS in rush yards per game. That is because Cal Poly rushed for 527 yards in a 59-47 win over Sacramento State.

Like the Bulldogs, the Mustangs run a version of the triple option. If you’re curious to see what the west coast TO looks like, here is a link to the game highlights from Cal Poly’s victory: Link

– Here is something worth the attention of anyone interested in playoff berths and seeding possibilities:

On Thursday [November 3], the selection committee will release the first of three weekly Top 10 rankings – much like what happens on the FBS level. It’s a new feature of the committee leading into Selection Sunday on Nov. 20. The first rankings will be aired on ESPN’s “College Football Live,” which begins at 3 p.m. ET.

Sam Houston State is top-ranked in the STATS FCS Top 25 and in other leading FCS polls. But the Bearkats, playing in a relatively down Southland Conference, are lacking a high strength of schedule, so the committee may not have them atop its first rankings.The STATS postseason projection has had the Bearkats as the fourth seed in recent weeks, behind North Dakota State, Eastern Washington and Jacksonville State.

The Citadel should be in the initial Top 10 rankings. That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs will be, of course. I wouldn’t be totally shocked if the selection committee shoehorned six or seven MVFC squads into the rankings, or some other absurdity.

It will be interesting to compare the Massey Ratings (and other ratings/polls) to the selection committee’s rankings. This is what the Massey Ratings Top 10 looks like, as of this week:

  • North Dakota State – 1
  • Eastern Washington – 2
  • Jacksonville State – 3
  • Central Arkansas – 4
  • The Citadel – 5
  • Youngstown State – 6
  • South Dakota State – 7
  • Sam Houston State – 8
  • Charleston Southern – 9
  • Chattanooga – 10

Samford, by the way, is #11 in the Massey Ratings, and has a victory over #4 Central Arkansas.

One thing you may have noticed about the Massey Ratings is that no CAA team is in the Top 10. I am quite sure that at least one CAA team will be in the NCAA selection committee’s top 10 when its rankings are released on Thursday.

This week’s pictures are not as bad as those from last week, which is faint praise. They are (mostly) annotated, however. Most of the game action photos are from the first half.

 

 

 

2016 Football, Game 8: The Citadel vs. East Tennessee State

The Citadel vs. East Tennessee State, to be played at historic Johnson Hagood Stadium, with kickoff at 2:00 pm ET on October 29. The game will not be televised

The game will be streamed on ESPN3.com. Kevin Fitzgerald will provide play-by-play, while Sadath Jean-Pierre supplies the analysis. 

The contest can be heard on radio via the various affiliates of The Citadel Sports Network. WQNT-1450 AM [audio link], originating in Charleston, will be the flagship station. 

Mike Legg (the “Voice of the Bulldogs”) will call the action alongside analyst Lee Glaze.

It is also possible to listen to the action with a smartphone, using a TuneIn Radio application.

Links of interest:

– Game notes for The Citadel and East Tennessee State

SoCon weekly release

– Kailik Williams makes lots of plays

– Myles Pierce is the SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week

– Cody Clark is undefeated as a Bulldog

– SoCon will not have instant replay until at least 2018

Brent Thompson’s 10/25 press conference, including comments from Rudder Brown and Myles Pierce (video)

Brent Thompson’s 10/26 radio show (video)

Hey, it’s that guy Myles Pierce again; this time, a feature

– ETSU is preparing for a “test” against the Bulldogs

– Bucs “gearing up” for The Citadel

– Carl Torbush’s post-game interview after ETSU’s win over West Virginia Wesleyan

– Carl Torbush’s 10/24 press conference

– FCS Coaches’ Poll

At his Tuesday press conference, Brent Thompson was asked about crowd support, and whether or not he thought there was a greater level of excitement among the fans than in years past. His answer:

The one thing I know about The Citadel alums is they are fanatical, and once they start that ball rolling, I think it starts to run out of control a little bit, and that’s awesome for us.

And that’s what we’re trying to create. The fan support is always there and has always been there, but now what I think they are starting to do is they’re starting to drag other people in with them, and starting to get maybe people who are Citadel fans [but] not necessarily alums involved, and that’s what we want.

And that’s how we’re going to fill up Johnson Hagood Stadium — not just by bringing in our own fans and our own alums in there and our own corps of cadets, but it’s more about bringing…the guy down the road that, hey, he’s a good football fan. He wants to see good FCS football and he’s excited about what’s going on in Charleston.

We’ve got plenty of people here in Charleston [who] enjoy football, and they don’t have to travel up the road, and so that’s what we want to do. We want to create a little bit of excitement here in town.

I couldn’t agree more with the coach on this subject. On the one hand, the fact that The Citadel has historically enjoyed an attendance-to-undergrad ratio of 5-to-1 or 6-to-1 (and occasionally 7-to-1) is extremely impressive. There are very few schools around that can make such a claim.

However, over the years I believe the military college has seen a decline in attendance among local football fans without a specific affiliation to The Citadel. I think the primary culprit has been television.

I’ve written about this before, but in the 1960s and 1970s (and even into the 1980s) there was very little televised college football. A big football fan who lived in Charleston might go to Johnson Hagood Stadium to watch the local team play, perhaps bringing along a transistor radio so he could listen to Bob Fulton or Jim Phillips during timeouts. (During live action, of course, he would listen to George Norwig.)

The proliferation of college football on television over the last few decades changed everything, and that affected The Citadel’s attendance. Not winning a great deal for the better part of 20 years didn’t help, either.

Now, however, The Citadel has a quality product to present to the community. While it’s primarily the job of the department of athletics to make that case, alums have to do their part as well — even grumps like me.

We have to tell people what makes going to a football game at The Citadel unique and fun.  That starts with the corps of cadets, of course. The corps is a show of its own that other schools can’t match.

Combine the corps, the tailgating, the usually great weather, and a host of other attractions (flyovers, parachute jumpers, zany contests, the regimental band and pipes, Spike and the cheerleaders, General and Boo) with a really good football team, and suddenly you realize The Citadel has a lot to offer.

The Bulldogs are Charleston’s college football team, and proud of it.

For anyone hoping the SoCon would adopt instant replay for its league football games, the news is not encouraging:

…last week, the SoCon’s athletic directors decided to put off adding instant replay to league football games until at least 2018.

“We just had our fall meetings with the athletic directors, and the subject came up for us to put instant replay in place,” said commissioner John Iamarino. “We were talking about 2017, but the decision by the athletic directors was not to have it in 2017.”

Iamarino said the athletic directors cited three main reasons for putting off instant replay:

– the logistics of establishing a replay booth with the proper equipment in every SoCon stadium.

– the cost of equipment, software and extra officials.

– adding to the length of time it takes to play games.

Iamarino said the only other FCS leagues without replay that he is aware of are the Ivy League and the Pioneer League.

In my opinion, the last of those reasons cited by the ADs is without merit. Given the amount of “media timeouts” now prevalent in league games that are televised or streamed, there is no reason to eschew instant replay because of additional time added to league contests.

Instead of using three media timeouts in less than an eight-minute span of game time (which occurred in the first quarter of The Citadel’s game against Wofford last week), those media timeouts can be taken during replay reviews.

The SoCon probably needs to have instant replay sooner rather than later, if only to have the same standard officiating procedures as the rest of FCS, but no one should be under the impression that replay will be a panacea. At times, replay has simply added another layer of error to the proceedings.

Sure, you would like to think that with replay, Kailik Williams’ strip/recovery in the first quarter versus Wofford would have resulted in The Citadel gaining possession of the football, but we’ve all seen that kind of play occasionally upheld anyway because of a “down by contact” ruling (or because the whistle blew). Rudder Brown’s catch in the overtime period might have been tagged as “inconclusive”, and Jorian Jordan’s touchdown-that-wasn’t may have suffered the same fate, depending on the mood of the official in the booth.

Replay aside, what really needs to happen is that the league needs to significantly improve its on-field officiating. That is what the conference’s players, coaches, and fans deserve, rather than ludicrous decisions like (just to mention one example) this ridiculous call against Mercer earlier in the season in a game versus Tennessee Tech.

East Tennessee State disbanded its football program after the 2003 season for financial reasons. The decision to eliminate football also led to ETSU’s departure from the Southern Conference.

Now, ETSU football is back, and in a related development, the school is back in the SoCon. While the rest of its sports resumed league competition for the 2015-16 school year, the Buccaneers’s football program spent the 2015 season as an independent before jumping back into gridiron league play this year.

That 2015 campaign was the first in football for East Tennessee State in twelve years, and that showed in the on-field results. The Buccaneers finished 2-9, with wins over Warner and Kentucky Wesleyan.

Some of the losses were painful. Fellow start-up program Kennesaw State beat ETSU 56-16, and the Bucs got hammered by several established D1 schools (losing 63-7 to Montana State, 47-7 to Charleston Southern, 52-0 to Mercer, and 58-9 to St. Francis of Pennsylvania).

Two of the losses were to Division III schools (Maryville and Emory & Henry).

East Tennessee State opened its 2016 campaign with the same opponent it had played to begin the 2015 season, Kennesaw State. The result wasn’t the same, however. ETSU shocked the Owls in Kennesaw, winning 20-17 in double overtime. Kennesaw State had entered the game as a 26-point favorite; the Bucs’ victory was one of biggest upsets so far this season in all of Division I.

The key to the victory for ETSU: the Bucs held Kennesaw State’s triple option offense to 2.9 yards per rush (166 total rush yards).

After a week off, East Tennessee State moved to 2-0 with another surprising victory, 34-31 over Western Carolina. The game was played at Bristol Motor Speedway.

ETSU trailed the Catamounts 21-3, but scored a touchdown shortly before halftime. That jump-started a 24-0 run which gave the Buccaneers a lead they would not relinquish. East Tennessee State ran 87 offensive plays from scrimmage in the contest, averaging 5.4 yards per play.

After those two victories, the Bucs found the going much tougher. East Tennessee State lost four straight games, all in SoCon action, by a combined score of 157-21. The first of those was a shutout loss at Wofford (31-0) in which ETSU only had 76 yards of total offense.

East Tennessee State then lost to Chattanooga and VMI by identical 37-7 scores. The Bucs lost the time of possession battle in both games by a significant margin.

The next game saw Furman pummel ETSU in Johnson City, 52-7. The Paladins led 35-0 at halftime, and wound up scoring 52 points on just 56 offensive snaps, averaging 9.1 yards per play.

On Thursday night of last week, East Tennessee State picked up its third victory of the 2016 season, beating West Virginia Wesleyan 38-7. The Bucs rolled up 323 rushing yards on their D-2 opponents.

East Tennessee State’s reborn program is helmed by longtime college coach Carl Torbush.

Torbush is a Carson-Newman graduate who spent many years as a well-respected defensive coach for a number of different schools, mostly in the south. He has been the defensive coordinator at Mississippi, Alabama, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Kansas, and (most notably) North Carolina, where he was a member of Mack Brown’s staff for a decade. When Brown left for Texas after the 1997 regular season, Torbush succeeded him as the head coach.

What not everyone remembers is that the UNC job wasn’t Torbush’s first stint as a head coach. He actually had the top job at Louisiana Tech for one season, 1987, before resigning to become Brown’s defensive coordinator in Chapel Hill.

In 3+ years at UNC, Torbush had a record of 17-18. He was 3-8 in his one year in charge at Louisiana Tech. Torbush is 5-13 so far at ETSU.

Earlier in his football coaching career, Torbush spent four years (1976-1979) as a defensive assistant at Southeastern Louisiana. During that time, he also served as the school’s baseball coach. Torbush (a former minor leaguer) led the baseball team to a share of the Gulf South conference title in 1978.

Torbush has a staff with a lot of familiarity with East Tennessee State, as four of his assistant coaches played at the school, including defensive coordinator Billy Taylor.

ETSU’s offensive coordinator is Mike O’Cain, who played quarterback at both Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School (where he sported the famed maroon and orange) and Clemson. O’Cain was the head football coach at North Carolina State for seven years in the 1990s, and has been an offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach at several other schools, including Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and James Madison.

For three seasons (1978 through 1980), O’Cain served as the running backs coach at The Citadel, under Art Baker.

Next year, East Tennessee State will play in a new football stadium. It is expected to eventually have 10,000 seats, although the first phase of construction will result in a 7,000-seat facility.

If you want to read more about the stadium, or see what it’s supposed to look like, a website has been set up for that purpose: Link

The fundraising committee for the stadium is co-chaired by former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith and country music singer Kenny Chesney.

Both are alums of the school; it turns out that notorious bandwagon fan Chesney is actually a 1991 graduate of East Tennessee State. Who knew?

ETSU saw a dip in season ticket sales this season, with a drop of about 20% from the 2015 season. However, it is quite possible that will change for the better next season, when the team plays in its new on-campus stadium.

Home attendance this season for the Bucs is actually up by 36%, but those numbers include the game at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Some statistics of note for East Tennessee State:

ETSU Opp
Points/game 16.1 30.3
Rushing yardage 953 1294
Rushing attempts 278 298
Yards/rush 3.4 4.3
Rushing TDs 9 17
Passing yardage 953 1416
Comp-Att-Int 104-184-2 111-161-2
Average/pass att 5.2 8.8
TDs Passing 5 11
Total offense 1906 2710
Total plays 462 459
Yards/play 4.1 5.9
Fumbles/lost 4/2 9/6
Penalties-pen yards 42-438 46-442
Pen yards/game 62.6 63.1
Net punt average 33 38.9
Time of poss/game 30:28:00 29:32:00
3rd-down conv 44/104 31/82
3rd-down conv % 42.3% 37.8%
Sacks by-yards 11-57 19-132
Red Zone TD% (14-18) 78% (20-28) 71%
  • The Buccaneers lead the nation in fewest turnovers, with just four in seven games — two lost fumbles, and two interceptions
  • ETSU’s offensive 3rd-down conversion rate of 42.3% is 26th nationally
  • Not shown in the table: East Tennessee State is third from last in the country in pass efficiency defense, ahead of only winless Austin Peay and 1-5 Yale
  • Last week, The Citadel faced the #1 team in the nation in net punting (Wofford); conversely, ETSU is 99th in net punting

Okay, now let’s look at some of The Citadel’s relevant statistics:

The Citadel Opp
Points/game 27.9 17.7
Rushing yardage 2476 949
Rushing attempts 465 225
Yards/rush 5.3 4.2
Rushing TDs 20 10
Passing yardage 384 1199
Comp-Att-Int 22-56-2 92-172-7
Average/pass att 6.9 7.0
Passing TDs 3 5
Total offense 2860 2148
Total plays 521 397
Yards/play 5.5 5.4
Fumbles/lost 10/4 10/7
Penalties/pen yards 36-364 29-287
Pen yards/game 52.0 41.0
Net punt average 37.3 39.3
Time of poss/game 34:31:00 25:28:00
3rd-down conv 57/117 27/81
3rd-down conv % 48.7% 33.3%
Sacks by-yards 19-138 0-0
Red Zone TD% (15-28) 54% (8-14) 57%
  • The Citadel continues to lead the nation in rushing yards per game (353.7) and is 12th in rushing yards per play
  • The Bulldogs are 3rd nationally in time of possession and 9th in offensive 3rd-down conversion rate
  • The Citadel is 9th in scoring defense, 16th in total defense, and tied for 22nd in defensive 3rd-down conversion rate
  • The Bulldogs are tied for 9th in turnover margin
  • The Citadel remains the only FCS team not to have had a sack recorded against it this season

East Tennessee runs a spread offense, with roughly a 60/40 run-to-pass ratio. After seven games, the Buccaneers have the exact same number of rushing yards as passing yards (953).

The starting quarterback for the Buccaneers is Austin Herink (6’3″, 206 lbs.), a redshirt sophomore from Cleveland, Tennessee. He has started all 17 games for the team over the past two seasons.

Herink has completed 58.6% of his passes, averaging 5.4 yards per attempt, with three touchdown tosses against two interceptions. He is not much of a running threat, though he does have three rushing TDs.

Jujuan Stinson (5’9″, 183 lbs.) is ETSU’s top running back, with more carries and rushing yards this season than the next two leading Bucs rushers combined. The redshirt sophomore from Knoxville had three 100-yard rushing games in 2015. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield.

Backup running back Matt Thompson (5’11”, 218 lbs.) is a sophomore who began his college career at…The Citadel. Thompson (not to be confused with the Matt Thompson who played quarterback and wide receiver for the Bulldogs a few seasons ago) is averaging 5.6 yards per rush.

Junior wideout Vincent Lowe (5’9″, 181 lbs.) is a transfer from Old Dominion who leads the Bucs in catches, with 17. Closely behind Lowe in the receptions department is Dalton Ponchillia (5’11”, 186 lbs.), a redshirt senior from Nashville who leads ETSU in reception yardage.

Lowe and Ponchillia also handle punt return duties for the Buccaneers.

East Tennessee State’s projected starting offensive line averages 6’4″, 286 lbs. On his radio show, Brent Thompson described the Bucs’ o-line as “physical, and pretty athletic for big guys”.

Alex Rios (6’5″, 295 lbs.) started the first six games of the season at right tackle, but moved to left tackle for the game against West Virginia Wesleyan. The junior from Tucson is a transfer from Pima Community College.

Left guard Ben Blackmon (6’3″, 289 lbs.) is a redshirt freshman who went to Newberry (SC) High School.

Linebacker Dylan Weigel (6’0″, 220 lbs.) was a preseason second-team All-SoCon selection. A redshirt sophomore from Pickering, Ohio, Weigel is far and away the leading tackler for the Buccaneers this season, with 64 stops.

East Tennessee State’s defense suffered a blow when linebacker Kahlil Mitchell was kicked off the team after the Bucs’ loss against VMI. In five games, Mitchell registered 31 tackles (still tied for fourth on the team) and two sacks.

ETSU starts two defensive ends who are both natives of South Carolina. Chris Bouyer (6’2″, 276 lbs.) is a sophomore from Rock Hill, and a product of Northwestern High School. Redshirt freshman Nasir Player (6’5″, 257 lbs.) is from Columbia. He went to Ridge View High School.

Tavian Lott (5’11”, 182 lbs.) is a senior cornerback who began his college career at Snow College before transferring to ETSU. Lott is originally from D’Lo, Mississippi.

Fellow cornerback Jeremy Lewis (5’11”, 171 lbs.) is a true freshman who has started the last two games for the Bucs after the incumbent starter, Daren Ardis, suffered an injury.

J.J. Jerman (5’10”, 173 lbs.) is a sophomore who does the placekicking for the Buccaneers. Jerman kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime against Kennesaw State.

For the season, he is 5 for 7 on field goal attempts, with a long of 43 yards. He has yet to miss an extra point in his ETSU career.

Kickoff specialist Landon Kunek (6’2″, 182 lbs.) is a redshirt freshman who went to Spartanburg High School. Five of Kunek’s 24 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks.

East Tennessee State’s punter is Marion Watson (6’2″, 160 lbs.). Nine of his 41 punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line.

Domenique Williams (5’10”, 160 lbs.) is ETSU’s primary kick returner. His longest return so far this season is 41 yards.

Odds and ends:

– The weather forecast for Saturday in Spartanburg, per the National Weather Service: sunny, with a high of 80 degrees. Yes, it’s almost November and it will be 80 degrees.

Per one source that deals in such matters, The Citadel is a 33.5-point favorite over Wofford, with an over/under of 45.5.

Other lines involving SoCon teams: Furman is a 5.5-point favorite at VMI; Wofford is a 12.5-point favorite versus Mercer; Chattanooga is a 16.5-point favorite at Western Carolina; and Samford is a 20-point underdog at Mississippi State.

Gardner-Webb (now 3-5 on the season) is a 14.5-point underdog at Liberty. North Carolina (6-2) is off this week.

– Massey Ratings: The Citadel is ranked 6th in FCS (moving up one spot from last week). East Tennessee State is ranked 92nd (a jump of three spots).

Massey projects a final score of The Citadel 37, ETSU 3.

Other FCS rankings in Massey of note: Chattanooga (10th), Samford (11th), Wofford (25th), Mercer (38th), Furman (57th), VMI (61st), Gardner-Webb (66th),Western Carolina (73rd).

The top five in Massey’s rankings, in order: North Dakota State, Eastern Washington, South Dakota State, Jacksonville State, and Youngstown State.

– East Tennessee State’s game notes roster includes 37 players from Tennessee. Other states represented on its roster: Georgia (7), Virginia (6), Florida (5), South Carolina (4), North Carolina (4), Ohio (3), Alabama (3), and one each from Arizona, New York, Texas, and West Virginia.

– The Citadel’s geographic roster breakdown (per the school’s website) is as follows: South Carolina (47 players), Georgia (23), Florida (9), North Carolina (7), Alabama (4), Pennsylvania (4), Texas (4), and one each from Louisiana, Maryland, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nevada, and West Virginia.

– Future FBS opponents for East Tennessee State include Tennessee (with the game taking place in 2018), Vanderbilt (2019 and 2021), Appalachian State (2019 and 2024), and Georgia (2020).

– There were no new names on The Citadel’s two-deep this week, the fourth consecutive week that has been the case. There was one slight alteration on the depth chart; the center position for the ETSU game is listed as “Tyler Davis OR Ryan Bednar”.

The Citadel is favored to win on Saturday. It would be a hugely unpleasant surprise for the Bulldogs (and their supporters) if they failed to do so.

However, The Citadel should be wary. East Tennessee State may just be in the second year of Bucs Football 2.0, but there are some talented players on its roster.

ETSU has already pulled off a huge upset already this season, with its stunning victory at Kennesaw State. That’s the same KSU team which is now 5-2 this season, by the way, including a win over Furman in which the Owls scored 52 points.

In other words, the Buccaneers are a capable outfit, and also believe they can win this Saturday — and why not, having already beaten the odds earlier this year.

The Citadel’s players and coaches know a little bit about shocking upsets. After all, the team was a 20-point underdog at South Carolina last season.

The Bulldogs must continue to play as close to mistake-free football as possible on both sides of the ball. I would also like to see the offense pull off a few more explosive plays this week.

That won’t be easy, not with a veteran campaigner like Carl Torbush on the other side. You can bet he’ll have a plan for defending The Citadel’s triple option, and that it will be a good one. ETSU has already muzzled one TO team this season (KSU).

I’m not counting any chickens (or pirates). I’m just hoping for another victory, and another fun afternoon for the home fans at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

Let’s get to 8-0.

During the 2016 season, what teams will the Bulldogs’ opponents play before (and after) facing The Citadel?

That’s right, it’s time for the annual July topic. In this post, I take a look at football schedules, and note which teams The Citadel’s opponents face before and after playing the Bulldogs. Sometimes, of course, the answer is “bye”.

Let’s review…

September 1 (Thursday): The Citadel’s first game of the season is a road conference matchup with Mercer. The game will be played on Thursday night, the first time I can recall the Bulldogs not opening the season on a Saturday.

As the opener for both teams, obviously neither will have faced a prior opponent this year. Mercer’s last game was a 47-21 home loss to Samford to close out the 2015 campaign.

After playing The Citadel, the Bears will prepare for another triple option team — Georgia Tech. It will be the first time the schools have met on the gridiron since 1938 (and the first game for Mercer against an FBS opponent since it restarted its football program in 2013).

September 10: Furman makes the trip to Charleston to face the Bulldogs. The Paladins open their 2016 season on Friday night (September 2), travelling to East Lansing for a meeting with Michigan State (the first time Furman has ever played a Big 10 team in football).

The Paladins’ home opener is on September 17, versus Chattanooga. It is the only one of FU’s first four games that will take place in Greenville, as Furman will play at Coastal Carolina on September 24.

September 17: The Citadel makes the journey to Boiling Springs, North Carolina, for a Bulldogs-vs.-Bulldogs battle.

It will be Gardner-Webb’s only home game in the month of September. The Runnin’ Bulldogs open with road games at Elon and Western Carolina before playing The Citadel, and will venture into the world of the MAC on September 24 for a contest against Ohio.

September 24: This is the open week for The Citadel. I’ll be on vacation myself. No, that isn’t a coincidence.

October 1: The Bulldogs will be in Cullowhee on the first day of October, tangling with Western Carolina. Both teams will be coming off a bye week.

WCU plays East Tennessee State in Johnson City on September 17. The game against The Citadel will be the first of two straight home contests for the Catamounts, as they play Wofford on October 8.

Western Carolina has FBS bookends on its schedule this year. WCU opens its season with a game versus East Carolina. There will be plenty of purple in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium that night.

The Catamounts will conclude regular-season action with a trip to Columbia for an SEC-SoCon Challenge game against South Carolina. Will the local alt-weekly refer to the game as a “cupcake” matchup? I’m guessing it will not.

October 8: After almost a month away from Johnson Hagood Stadium, The Citadel returns home for a Parents’ Day game against North Greenville.

The Crusaders are at home on October 1, facing Mars Hill. After playing The Citadel, the next game for North Greenville is a road matchup versus Tusculum.

October 15: The Bulldogs play Chattanooga in Charleston on this date. The Mocs are at home for both their prior game (Mercer) and the contest that follows (VMI).

After playing eight SoCon games in nine weeks, Chattanooga finishes its regular season campaign with a non-conference clash against Alabama.

October 22: The Citadel faces Wofford in Spartanburg. The Terriers have a bye on October 15. The week following the game against the Bulldogs, Wofford hosts Mercer.

The Terriers open the season with two road games. Wofford plays Mississippi in the second of those contests.

October 29: The Bulldogs play East Tennessee State in the next-to-last home game of the season. The Buccaneers don’t have a bye the week before, but will get a couple of extra days of preparation, as ETSU hosts West Virginia Wesleyan on Thursday, October 20.

East Tennessee State is at Mercer the week following its trip to Johnson Hagood Stadium. ETSU finishes the season with two home games, against Cumberland (yes, the Cumberland of 222-0 fame) and Samford.

November 5: Samford is the Homecoming opponent for The Citadel this year. With the possible exception of Furman, none of the military college’s other opponents has a tougher task the week prior to facing The Citadel. Samford has a matchup at Mississippi State on October 29.

On November 12, Samford holds its own Homecoming game against Mercer.

November 12: The battle for the coveted Silver Shako resumes once again on November 12, this time in Lexington, Virginia. VMI plays at Western Carolina the week before, and concludes its regular season with a game at Wofford the week following this game.

November 19: There will be lots of light blue in Chapel Hill on November 19, as The Citadel comes to town to face North Carolina. The Tar Heels are at Duke on November 12, and have another rivalry game the following week, versus North Carolina State (with that game taking place on the Friday following Thanksgiving Day).

A couple of observations about the schedule:

– Mercer wound up as a de facto “travel partner” of sorts for The Citadel this season. The Bears play Chattanooga the week before the Bulldogs do. Following that, there are three consecutive weeks in which a team will play Mercer the week after playing The Citadel (those three squads being Wofford, East Tennessee State, and Samford).

– As far as “option preview” situations are concerned…

Western Carolina and VMI both face Wofford the week after playing The Citadel. Only two league teams (Samford and East Tennessee State) play Wofford before matchups with The Citadel; both play the Terriers several weeks before meeting the Bulldogs.

North Carolina will play Georgia Tech two weeks before hosting The Citadel in Chapel Hill. North Greenville has a meeting with Lenoir-Rhyne a few weeks before playing The Citadel, but L-R (which has a new head coach) is moving to a more balanced offense after several years running the triple option.

Football season is getting closer…

For Immediate Release: TSA Watch List for the Southern Conference (SoCon), Part 4 — Coach of the Year

Today, TSA announced its watch lists for the 2016 SoCon Player of the Year and various associated positional honors, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, defensive secondary, kicker, punter, and long snapper. The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of league teams. There will also be a watch list for the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year.

TSA is a member of the Global American College Football Awards Consortium (GACFAC), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. GACFAC is the standard-bearer for tradition-selection excellence.

The membership of TSA unveils the preseason watch lists in a series of four releases, one for offensive players, one for defensive players, one for special teams stalwarts, and one for coaches. All players listed are eligible for TSA’s SoCon Player of the Year, as well as honors for each of their respective positional categories.

Players not listed on any TSA watch list are ineligible for any post-season honors. However, TSA has a unique appeals process by which a player not on a watch list can be nominated for a special exemption. Any players granted such an exemption will be named to their respective TSA late-season watch lists for each positional category, and would become eligible for league player of the year as well.

Head coaches not listed on the TSA watch list are also ineligible for post-season honors. However, TSA’s unique appeals process for players also applies to any SoCon head coach not on the watch list.

Without further ado, here is the TSA watch list for the SoCon Coach of the Year for 2016. Congratulations to all the coaches who were selected.

(As noted earlier, other releases will feature the offensive, defensive, and special teams watch lists.)

Link to watch lists — offense

Link to watch lists — defense

Link to watch lists — special teams

Coaches

Bobby Lamb Mercer
Brent Thompson The Citadel
Bruce Fowler Furman
Carl Torbush ETSU
Chris Hatcher Samford
Mark Speir W. Carolina
Mike Ayers Wofford
Russ Huesman Chattanooga
S. Wachenheim VMI

For Immediate Release: TSA Watch List for the Southern Conference (SoCon), Part 3 — Special Teams

Today, TSA announced its watch lists for the 2016 SoCon Player of the Year and various associated positional honors, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, defensive secondary, kicker, punter, and long snapper. The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of league teams. There will also be a watch list for the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year.

TSA is a member of the Global American College Football Awards Consortium (GACFAC), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. GACFAC is the standard-bearer for tradition-selection excellence.

The membership of TSA unveils the preseason watch lists in a series of four releases, one for offensive players, one for defensive players, one for special teams stalwarts, and one for coaches. All players listed are eligible for TSA’s SoCon Player of the Year, as well as honors for each of their respective positional categories.

Players not listed on any TSA watch list are ineligible for any post-season honors. However, TSA has a unique appeals process by which a player not on a watch list can be nominated for a special exemption. Any players granted such an exemption will be named to their respective TSA late-season watch lists for each positional category, and would become eligible for league player of the year as well.

Without further ado, here are the TSA watch lists for the SoCon’s special teams standouts. Congratulations to all the players who were selected.

(As noted earlier, other releases will feature the offensive and defensive teams watch lists, and the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year Watch List.)

Link to watch list — offense

Link to watch list — defense

Link to watch list — Coach of the Year, Southern Conference

Long Snappers

Adam Mullins LS RSo. ETSU
Alec Hulmes LS SR Samford
C. Addertion LS RS SR W. Carolina
C. McDonough LS FR W. Carolina
Chase Zeegers LS FR Samford
Dustin Nickle LS RFr. ETSU
Emory Norred LS Jr. Chattanooga
Evan Vaughn LS Fr. Furman
Jackson Wetherby LS RS FR W. Carolina
Jake Keith LS Fr. VMI
John Garrett Abernathy LS JR Mercer
Lee Riley LS So. The Citadel
Lewis Freeman LS FR Samford
Patrick Keefe LS So. The Citadel
Ross Hammond LS So. Wofford
Steven Nixon LS FR Mercer
Tanner Dillard LS So. Chattanooga

Placekickers

Christian Stewart K FR WCU
Cody Clark K Sr. The Citadel
Cole Fisher K FR Mercer
Colin Brewer K Fr. Chattanooga
David Marvin K Jr. Wofford
Dillon Christopher K Sr. VMI
Grant Reynolds K FR Mercer
Henrique Ribeiro K Sr. Chattanooga
Jacob Godek K Fr. The Citadel
Jagger Lieb K SO Mercer
Jake Poczobut K Fr. ETSU
Jeremiah Norman K RFr. VMI
JJ Jerman K So. ETSU
Jody Purnell K FR Samford
Joe DeFatta K RSo. ETSU
Joe Difilippo K Fr. Furman
Jon Croft Hollingsworth K So. Furman
Landon Kunak K RFr. ETSU
Logan Howard K SO WCU
Luke Carter K R-Fr. Wofford
Luke Morris K FR Samford
Marion Watson K So. ETSU
Mark Holtgrave K FR Samford
Nathan Geis K FR Samford
Reece Everett K SO Samford
Reed King K Fr. VMI
Tommy Smith K So. VMI
Tyler Zielenske K JR Mercer
Warren Handrahan K JR Samford

Punters

Austin Barnard P SO Samford
Bill Hogan P RSo. VMI
Brian Sanders P Sr. Wofford
David Marvin P Jr. Wofford
Destry Barnwell P JR WCU
Ian Berryman P RS SO WCU
Jacob Godek P Fr. The Citadel
Jake Poczobut P Fr. ETSU
Joe DeFatta P RSo. ETSU
Jon Croft Hollingsworth P So. Furman
Luke Carter P R-Fr. Wofford
Reed King P Fr. VMI
Rob East P JR Mercer
Seth Hinton P Sr. VMI
Tommy Smith P So. VMI
Will Vanvick P Sr. The Citadel

For Immediate Release: TSA Watch List for the Southern Conference (SoCon), Part 2 — Defense

Today, TSA announced its watch lists for the 2016 SoCon Player of the Year and various associated positional honors, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, defensive secondary, kicker, punter, and long snapper. The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of league teams. There will also be a watch list for the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year.

TSA is a member of the Global American College Football Awards Consortium (GACFAC), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. GACFAC is the standard-bearer for tradition-selection excellence.

The membership of TSA unveils the preseason watch lists in a series of four releases, one for offensive players, one for defensive players, one for special teams stalwarts, and one for coaches. All players listed are eligible for TSA’s SoCon Player of the Year, as well as honors for each of their respective positional categories.

Players not listed on any TSA watch list are ineligible for any post-season honors. However, TSA has a unique appeals process by which a player not on a watch list can be nominated for a special exemption. Any players granted such an exemption will be named to their respective TSA late-season watch lists for each positional category, and would become eligible for league player of the year as well.

Without further ado, here are the TSA watch lists for the SoCon’s defensive positions. Congratulations to all the players who were selected.

(As noted earlier, other releases will feature the offensive and special teams watch lists, and the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year Watch List.)

Link to watch lists — offense

Link to watch lists — special teams

Link to watch list — Coach of the Year, Southern Conference

Defensive Linemen

A.J. Stokes DL Fr. The Citadel
Adam Wawrzynski DL R-Fr. The Citadel
Ahmad Gooden DL FR Samford
Alex Nolan DL Jr. Wofford
Alfred Brown DL FR Samford
Andre Newton DL FR Samford
Andrew Mayton DL RS JR Western Carolina
Anthony Eads DL FR Samford
Anthony Perella DL JR Mercer
Austin Barrett DL SO Mercer
Austin Rowan DL Fr. ETSU
Austin Wysor DL FR Mercer
Avery Worsham DL SR Western Carolina
Blake Jones DL FR Mercer
Boston Bryant DL Sr. Wofford
Brad Minter DL Jr. Furman
Brad Noble DL SR Samford
Bradley Carter DL So. The Citadel
Brandon Bourk DL Jr. Chattanooga
Brandon Curtis DL Jr. Wofford
Brandon Zamary DL So. Wofford
Brian Ross DL R-Jr. Furman
Caleb Hester DL So. The Citadel
Carew Alvarez DL So. Wofford
Chinedu Okonya DL R-Fr. Furman
Chris Boudreaux DL Sr. Wofford
Chris Bouyer DL So. ETSU
Chris Washington DL Fr. Furman
Cody Jones DL JR Mercer
Colt Jenkins DL RSo. ETSU
Connor Jackson DL R-Fr. Furman
D.J. Prather DL Jr. Chattanooga
Daniel Nash DL SR Western Carolina
DeAndre Thornton DL R-So. Furman
Destin Guillen DL FR Mercer
Devon Johnson DL RFr. ETSU
Dillon Vann DL Fr. Furman
Dorian Kithcart DL FR Mercer
Emeka Ikezu DL SO Samford
Ezavian Dunn DL JR Western Carolina
F. Charles DL RJr. ETSU
Fred Mooring DL SR Western Carolina
Hawk Schrider DL So. Chattanooga
Holden Edwards DL FR Western Carolina
Horace Roberts DL FR Samford
Hudson Brett DL FR Mercer
Ian Hayes DL Fr. Chattanooga
Isaiah Mack DL So. Chattanooga
J.C. Garvin DL RSr. VMI
Jake Helms DL FR Western Carolina
Jake Kingree DL JR Samford
Jalen Penn DL SO Mercer
Ja’Lon Williams DL R-Fr. The Citadel
James Stone DL Sr. Chattanooga
Jared Holloway DL JR Samford
Jarrod Richmond DL RFr. VMI
Jason Maduafokwa DL RFr. ETSU
Jay Gibbs DL RS FR Western Carolina
Jaylan Reid DL R-Fr. Furman
Joe Crochet DL Sr. The Citadel
Joe Dossett DL So. ETSU
Joe Pittman DL RFr. ETSU
John Mobley DL RSo. VMI
Jonah Tibbs DL Fr. Furman
Jonathan King DL Jr. The Citadel
Jordan Harris DL Fr. Furman
Jordan Hawkins DL Jr. Furman
Jose Casanova DL SR Samford
Joseph Randolph II DL Fr. The Citadel
Justin Foster DL FR Samford
Justin King DL Sr. Chattanooga
Justin Minick DL SR Samford
Keionta Davis DL Sr. Chattanooga
Kelly Brooks DL JR Mercer
Ken Allen DL So. The Citadel
Kevin Graham DL So. The Citadel
Khayyan Edwards DL Fr. Chattanooga
Marvin Davis DL JR Mercer
Matt DeGraffinreed DL RS SR Western Carolina
Mikel Horton DL Fr. Wofford
Miles Brown DL So. Wofford
Mitchell Smith DL JR Samford
Myreon Bennett DL RS FR Western Carolina
Nasir Player DL RFr. ETSU
Nick Collins DL JR Mercer
Noah Dawkins DL So. The Citadel
Olajuwon Pinkelton DL Fr. ETSU
Robbie Armstrong DL Fr. Wofford
R. Donaldson DL JR Samford
Royce Turnbull DL RJr. ETSU
Ryan Clark DL Fr. VMI
Sam Parker DL Sr. The Citadel
Seth Mallory DL RSr. VMI
Shavon Henderson DL RSo. VMI
Sheldon Kinard DL RS JR Western Carolina
Steven Cornellier DL Jr. Wofford
T.J. Warren DL R-Jr. Furman
Tahjai Watt DL RS JR Western Carolina
Tashion Singleton DL GS Western Carolina
Taylor Reynolds DL Jr. Chattanooga
Telvin Jones DL Fr. Chattanooga
Terrell Woods DL JR Samford
Thad Mangum DL R-Fr. Wofford
Thad Stevenson-Panchisin DL RFr. VMI
Toney Benson DL Jr. Wofford
Tony Zaffore DL So. Chattanooga
Travis Johnson DL Jr. The Citadel
Tra’von Ricketts DL RS FR Western Carolina
Tremond Ferrell DL So. ETSU
Tre’Von White DL So. The Citadel
T. Jachimowicz DL Jr. Chattanooga
Tunde Ayinla DL JR Mercer
Tyler Junius DL JR Western Carolina
Tyler Vaughn DL Jr. Wofford
Vantrel McMillan DL Sr. Chattanooga
Xavier Forrest DL SO Samford
Xavier Greenfield DL Jr. VMI
Zachary Greene DL RS SO Western Carolina
Zack Baker DL RSo. VMI
Zack Lockhart DL Fr. VMI

Linebackers

Aaron Harris LB FR Samford
Alec Happel LB FR Samford
Alijah Robinson LB Sr. VMI
Allan Cratsenberg LB Jr. VMI
Andrew Birkmire LB FR Western Carolina
Austin Chapman LB SO Samford
Austin Gatewood LB RSo. ETSU
Austin Howard LB Fr. ETSU
Austin Mosier LB RFr. ETSU
Bill Hogan LB RSo. VMI
Billy Hinton LB So. Wofford
Blake Bockrath LB Fr. ETSU
Brad Lipscomb LB RSr. VMI
Brandon Brown LB Fr. Wofford
Brian Lipscomb LB RSo. VMI
Byron Johnson LB Jr. Furman
Caleb Lindsey LB Sr. VMI
Campbell Jackson LB R-Fr. Wofford
Carl Rider LB R-Jr. Furman
Carter McManes LB SO Samford
Chris Seaborn LB JR Western Carolina
Cj Kleckley LB JR Mercer
Clark Dupree LB FR Samford
Cody Bennett LB So. Chattanooga
Cody Floyd LB So. The Citadel
Cody Peregoy LB RFr. VMI
C. Cunningham LB RS SR Western Carolina
Colton Clemons LB Jr. Wofford
Colton Lakes LB Fr. ETSU
Connor Riddle LB Fr. VMI
Corey Lockett LB JR Mercer
Cory Carter LB FR Samford
Dale Warren LB Jr. Chattanooga
D’Andre Belton LB RS SO Western Carolina
Daniel Riddle LB RS JR Western Carolina
Darnell Ashton LB Sr. VMI
Daryl Vining LB Jr. Wofford
Datavious Wilson LB Fr. Wofford
Deion Pierre LB SO Samford
Denzel Wright LB Fr. The Citadel
Derek Slaughter LB SR Samford
Derek Wilson LB RFr. VMI
Devin Davidson LB JR Mercer
Dillon Woodruff LB R-So. Furman
D. Perryman LB Fr. Furman
D. Copeland LB Sr. The Citadel
Dorsett Johnson LB FR Samford
Dru Seabrook LB Fr. Furman
Dylan Weigel LB RSo. ETSU
Dylan Young LB Jr. Wofford
Elliott Brewster LB Fr. VMI
Emory McKenzie LB Fr. Furman
Garrett Hicks LB R-Fr. Wofford
Gregory Pappas LB Jr. The Citadel
Isaiah Buehler LB FR Mercer
Israel Battle LB Jr. The Citadel
J.C. Coy LB Fr. VMI
Jack Raines LB FR Mercer
Jacob Powell LB R-Fr. Furman
Jake Brooks LB FR Mercer
Jake Massey LB FR Samford
J. Donahue LB RFr. VMI
JD Griffin LB Fr. ETSU
Jeremy Samuels LB Fr. The Citadel
Jerod Walls LB RS FR Western Carolina
Jerry Langan LB Jr. Furman
Jireh Wilson LB Fr. Wofford
John Patterson LB Jr. Wofford
Jonathan Baker LB Fr. VMI
Jonathan Mooney LB JR Samford
Jonathan Ward LB FR Mercer
Jordan Thomas LB R-Fr. The Citadel
Josh Bennett LB JR Mercer
Josh Killett LB SR Samford
Justin Cooper LB SR Samford
Kahlil Mitchell LB So. ETSU
Kendall White LB JR Western Carolina
K. Wilson LB Fr. Chattanooga
Kuony Deng LB Fr. VMI
Kyle Trammell LB SO Mercer
Kyle Vails LB RS JR Western Carolina
Kyle Williams LB SO Mercer
Lee Bennett LB SO Mercer
Lincoln Stewart LB Sr. Wofford
Luke Davis LB Fr. Chattanooga
Michael Bean LB Fr. Chattanooga
Michael Minder LB RS FR Western Carolina
M. Rainwater LB JR Mercer
Michael Roach LB Jr. Wofford
Michael Wagner LB JR Mercer
Mitchell Chancey LB SO Western Carolina
Myles Pierce LB Jr. The Citadel
Najee Lawrence LB Fr. VMI
Nakevion Leslie LB Sr. Chattanooga
Nathan Sanders LB So. Wofford
Neil Monaghan LB So. Wofford
Phil Davis LB R-Fr. The Citadel
P. Whitehead LB Fr. ETSU
Quinlan Washington LB So. The Citadel
Raleigh Webb LB Fr. The Citadel
River Boruff LB RSo. ETSU
Russell Hubbs LB So. The Citadel
Ryan Francis LB RJr. VMI
Shaheed Salmon LB SO Samford
Spencer Brien LB RSo. ETSU
T.J. Jenkins LB Jr. Chattanooga
Terrance Morris LB Jr. Wofford
Tevin Floyd LB Sr. The Citadel
Tim Whatley LB So. Chattanooga
Tonne Osaigbovo LB JR Samford
Tony Richardson LB Jr. VMI
Tosin Aguebor LB JR Mercer
Tradd Deaver LB R-Fr. The Citadel
Travonte’ Easley LB FR Mercer
Trey Nelson LB Jr. The Citadel
Trey Quillin LB RSo. ETSU
Tripp Patterson LB JR Mercer
Troy Barden LB RJr. VMI
Tyler Fedison LB RFr. VMI
Tyler Queen LB FR Samford
Tyler Voyles LB Fr. Furman
Tyler Ward LB JR Mercer
Tyreik Lyles LB So. Wofford
Tyson Dickson LB SR Western Carolina
Weston Rountree LB So. Wofford
Will Coneway LB FR Mercer
Za’Von Whitaker LB R-Fr. The Citadel

Defensive Backs

A.J. Newman Jr. DB JR WCU
Aaquil Annoor DB Fr. Furman
Aaron Avant DB JR Mercer
Adekunle Olusanya DB R-So. Furman
Adrian King DB Fr. Chattanooga
Alex Avant DB SR Mercer
Alex Burch DB Fr. Furman
Alex Keys DB RSr. VMI
Alonzo Francois DB RSo. ETSU
A. Heyward DB RFr. ETSU
Andy Nichols DB JR Mercer
A. Simpson DB FR Samford
Aron Spann III DB So. The Citadel
Ben Roberts DB Jr. The Citadel
Bobby Gibbs DB RS SO WCU
B. Meccariello DB R-Fr. Furman
Bradley Lythgoe DB Fr. VMI
Brandon Coney DB FR Mercer
Brandon Gurley DB FR Mercer
Bryan Okeh DB Fr. Furman
Bryce Suber DB RFr. ETSU
Bryce Wilson DB RS FR WCU
C.J. Fritz DB So. Chattanooga
C.J. Toomer DB SO Samford
Carl Cunningham Jr. DB So. The Citadel
Cedric Nettles DB Sr. Chattanooga
C. Steverson DB Fr. The Citadel
Charlie Jackson DB RFr. ETSU
Chaz Claunch DB SO Samford
Chris Armfield DB Sr. Wofford
Chris Howard DB RFr. ETSU
C. Gibson DB RFr. ETSU
Christian Stark DB FR Samford
C. Waddell DB Fr. VMI
Cody Brooks DB JR Samford
Cole Higbie DB Jr. Wofford
Curt Nixon DB R-Fr. The Citadel
Curtis Roach DB FR WCU
D.J. Williams DB Fr. Chattanooga
Damian Jones DB RSr. VMI
Daren Ardis DB Jr. ETSU
Darron Paschal DB Fr. Wofford
Dee Delaney DB Jr. The Citadel
D. Cortner DB FR WCU
Devin Watson DB So. Wofford
D. Redwood DB Fr. Wofford
D. Williams DB So. ETSU
D. Lemon DB So. Wofford
Donovan Franks DB R-So. Furman
E. Stawowczyk DB RSo. VMI
Emerson Brooks DB FR Samford
Eric Jackson DB FR Mercer
Fred Payne DB SR WCU
G. Sutherland DB RSo. VMI
George Gbesee DB R-Fr. Wofford
Graham Massey DB So. Wofford
Greg Sanders DB Jr. VMI
Jabari Scruggs DB JR Mercer
Jack Jones DB RSo. ETSU
Jackson Trawick DB Jr. ETSU
Jacob Finerty DB RS FR WCU
Jacque Evangelister DB Fr. Furman
Jaleel Green DB Sr. Wofford
J. Williams DB Jr. Wofford
J. Milliken DB R-Jr. Furman
J. Blount DB JR Samford
Jamond Glass DB FR Samford
Jarek Taylor DB FR Samford
J. Williams DB Fr. ETSU
Jaylon Harden DB Fr. Furman
Jeremy James DB SO Mercer
Jeremy Lewis DB Fr. ETSU
Jevon Gooden DB Jr. ETSU
J. Robinson DB FR Mercer
Joe Farrar DB R-Fr. Furman
John Brannon III DB FR WCU
John Patrick DB Fr. Furman
JoJo Tillery DB So. Wofford
Jon Strozyk DB RJr. VMI
Jordan Willis DB Fr. Furman
Josh Kimberlin DB SR Samford
K.J. Roper DB Fr. Chattanooga
Kaelin Snead DB Fr. VMI
Kailik Williams DB Jr. The Citadel
Kaleb Tucker DB Fr. VMI
Karee Carter DB So. VMI
Kavajae Ellis DB Fr. Furman
Keanu James DB So. ETSU
Keion Crossen DB JR WCU
Kevin Ferguson DB RFr. ETSU
Khafari Buffalo DB R-Fr. The Citadel
L. Bailey DB SO Mercer
Lendell Arnold DB JR Mercer
Le’Vonte Larry DB Fr. Chattanooga
Lucas Webb DB Jr. Chattanooga
Luke Cuneo DB R-Fr. Furman
Luke Stokes DB FR Samford
M. Herrington DB Fr. ETSU
Malik Diggs DB Sr. The Citadel
Malik Rivera DB So. Wofford
Marvin Tillman DB SO WCU
Mason Alstatt DB Fr. Wofford
Matt Azemar DB SO Samford
M. Nicholson DB Sr. VMI
Michael Murphy DB FR WCU
M. Sarafianos DB Jr. Wofford
M. Williams DB RSo. VMI
Mike Gray DB JR Mercer
Mikey White DB SO WCU
Montrell Pardue DB So. Chattanooga
Nathan Peeples DB So. The Citadel
Nevin Harton DB JR Mercer
Nick Barton DB FR Samford
Nick Miller DB Jr. Furman
Nick Payne DB Fr. ETSU
Nick Ward DB Jr. Wofford
Omari Williams DB SO Samford
Patrick Wells DB Fr. Furman
Paul Hunter DB Jr. ETSU
Pete Reed DB RJr. VMI
Phil Barrett DB Fr. The Citadel
Quandarius Weems DB Fr. Furman
Richard Hayes III DB Jr. Furman
R. Charles DB FR Samford
Ryan Powers DB Sr. ETSU
Ryan White DB SO Samford
Sam Pettway DB SO Samford
Scott Frazier DB RJr. VMI
Sean Dumas DB Fr. The Citadel
Sean McMahan DB Fr. Chattanooga
Sean Rusnak DB R-Fr. Furman
Sebastian Hicks DB JR Mercer
Shamon Elliott DB FR WCU
Shane Samuels DB RS JR WCU
Shy Phillips DB Jr. The Citadel
Stephen Gibbs DB FR Samford
Stephen Houzah DB FR Mercer
Stuart Smith DB R-Fr. Furman
S. Brown DB JR Mercer
Tae Davis DB Jr. Chattanooga
Tavian Lott DB Sr. ETSU
Tavon Lawson DB Jr. Chattanooga
Thomas Brown DB R-Jr. Furman
T. DeGrange DB FR Samford
Tony Mitchell DB Fr. ETSU
Tony Welch DB RSo. ETSU
T. Winton DB RSo. ETSU
Tra Hardy DB JR WCU
Trevor Wright DB Jr. Chattanooga
Trey Gowan DB Fr. ETSU
Trey Morgan DB SR WCU
Trey Robinson DB Jr. Furman
Tyler Jackson DB R-Fr. The Citadel
Tyriuq Trotman DB So. VMI
Tyus Carter DB Jr. The Citadel
Ulysses Strawter DB Fr. Wofford
Uzoma Kpaduwa DB RFr. VMI
Zach Jackson DB JR Mercer