Saturday, April 26, 2014

Victim of Circumstance

On November 19, 2011, Terrier fans endured a perilous matchup with the Chattanooga Mocs. Wofford allowed the Mocs to gain a 21-7 lead going into halftime, only to stage a ferocious comeback that ultimately resulted in a 28-27 victory.  To many, Mark Hauser's voice still resounds: "The Terriers are going to the playoffs!"

On the first Saturday of December, the Terriers fulfilled that statement at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, taking on the UNI Panthers. Down a manageable 21-14 deficit, Stephon Shelton caught UNI's ensuing kickoff in the end zone, and did not take a knee as he walked towards the sideline.  The onslaught of Panther defenders knocked the ball from his hand, and it was recovered by one of them for a touchdown that was a painful dagger in Wofford's side as this proved to be the deciding play of the game.  The Terriers were sent home with a 28-21 loss. 

In 2012, things were looking good for Wofford late in the season.  Coming off an overtime victory over the Mocs and an impressive showing (despite the loss) at South Carolina, the Terriers easily knocked off New Hampshire in the second round of the FCS playoffs.  As if by destiny, Wofford's opponent in the next game was #1 North Dakota State, playing in their Fargodome.  Although the Terriers gave up an early touchdown, they quickly responded with Blake Wylie's 35-yard pick-six.  Late in the second quarter, Bison QB Brock Jensen completed a 16-yard touchdown pass that gave NDSU the 14-17 halftime lead.  Then a strange thing happened.  Wofford had chance after chance to at least tie the Bison, but it didn't occur.  Even NDSU didn't score.  In a flurry of blown chances and fading hope, the Terriers dropped this quarterfinal game to the #1 team in the country by a margin of one touchdown.

In these games, the Terriers had chances to reach great heights in the FCS Playoffs and accomplish what nearly no one expected of this little school.  Alas, in these contests, the Terriers became a sad victim of circumstance.

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