Saturday, September 6, 2014

Off Week Musings

Wofford football is facing the first of two open dates this season (the second is on November 1st), a time that will hopefully serve the Terriers well in terms of healing from last Saturday's game and preparation for the next. While there's no game today, that's not stopping us from looking into some topics of interest.

Wofford back to usual selves vs. FBS opponents

No, Wofford didn't pull out a victory last Saturday in Atlanta. No, they haven't notched a FBS win since 2000 - nearly a decade and a half ago. They have however, been likely to display a tougher-than-expected fight for the 'big boys' of larger conferences, more scholarships, and much bigger stadiums. 

The 2013 opener was quite an exception to that rule. The Baylor Bears came out strong on their home turf in Waco, Tx., and never looked back. The score was 28-0 after the first quarter, and the Bears added another ten points in the second quarter to make it 38-0 at the half.

Wofford's only breathing room, which wasn't by any means feasible, was a 22-yard field goal kicked by Kasey Redfern, who's now making a case with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, that capped off a fifteen-play, 69-yard drive for the Terriers, effectively putting them on the board.

The Terriers punted seven times, committed three turnovers (two fumbles, one interception), and gave up the football on downs twice in a 69-3 thumping that saw 173 rushing yards and sixty passing yards from Wofford.

This year, it was obviously different. Georgia Tech had their spots in the game that saw poorly-defended pass coverage and large gains given up by the Terriers, that were put in for quick scores that dashed the visitor's fragile hope.

There difference was - there was hope in this game. Wofford saw a brief lead, and wasn't quite 'out of it' until later in the game. All in all, the Terriers racked up 271 yards on the ground, and a still meager (but relatively usual) 55 passing yards. 

38-19 isn't half as bad as 69-3.

Here's a look at how the Terriers have fared against FBS opponents since 2007:

Wofford Lead
Final Score
N.C. State
South Carolina
South Florida
South Carolina
Georgia Tech

As you can tell from the data, the Terriers had a some very good outings, especially Clemson in 2011 and South Carolina in 2012, but those great performances were duly overshadowed by the looming defeat at the hands of Baylor.

The Terriers, however, are getting back into the swing of things, and turning out improved performances and shaping up to look more like the short-haired dogs we're all familiar with.

Terriers looking to continue winning tradition vs. lower division teams

After this off week, the Terriers will be looking forward to the Division II North Greenville Crusaders, of Conference Carolinas.

The Crusaders come into the matchup 1-0, as they logged a 45-21 victory over Ave Maria (Fla.) on Thursday afternoon. North Greenville recorded 271 rushing yards, and 368 passing yards in the opener, as their attack proved to be too much for the Gyrenes.

Wofford is looking to notch a win that would bring continuity to the Terriers' habits of playing non-conference, lower-division teams. 

The last time the Terriers played such an opponent was in 2012, when fans at Gibbs Stadium were treated to an 82-0 rout of Lincoln (Pa.). 

This isn't the only lower-division matchup on this year's schedule, either. After next Saturday's game and a subsequent tilt with Gardner-Webb (that's another story), Wofford welcomes Virginia-Wise into Gibbs Stadium. The Terriers and Highland Cavaliers met on October 15, 2011, in a game that was won handily by Wofford, 47-14.

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