Yesterday, something amazing almost happened. The key word--almost--must be recognized.
Firstly, Mercer and Chattanooga were locked in a battle that could have turned the conference on its ear. The Bears struck first and kept a lead into the second quarter, where the Mocs took a 21-14 lead at the half. Chattanooga, with a big third quarter early on, almost looked to put it away, but Mercer stormed back and made it a seven-point game, 35-28, entering the fourth quarter.
Although the Bears had some more opportunities, both sides booted through a field goal in the fourth quarter, and 38-31 would be the final score, with the Mocs prevailing at home, despite nearly blowing their lead.
Another sample comes in Cullowhee, where The Citadel was challenging another SoCon power, Western Carolina, on their home turf. The Bulldogs, who benefited from taking the risk of going for two, had a slim 8-7 advantage at the half.
The Catamounts took control in the second half, though, and the Bulldogs ended up dropping the game by a score of 29-15.
If both of those games had gone a different way, it could have been beneficial to the Terriers' playoff chances.
As Western Carolina would have to fall to two different teams, and Wofford would have to win out for there to be a chance for a Terrier automatic bid (they would hold the tiebreaker with Chattanooga if they win out), Wofford almost saw a door open had The Citadel triumphed.
If Chattanooga had fallen, that would further aid Wofford's hopes, and possibly bring the Terriers closer to an outright title.
All of that, though, is most likely not going to happen. The chance that was seen yesterday wasn't meant to be, and of course, all the Terriers can do is focus on the team and keep winning.
Those efforts are greatly aided by an off week coming up. With many players injured and missing the VMI game, the occurrence of Wofford's second open date of the season gives those players two weeks to heal up and prepare for a tall order on Nov. 8th: an encounter with Chattanooga.
Thankfully, the Terriers were able to put away VMI, and give newer players some game experience in the process of earning a valuable SoCon win.
After the Chattanooga game, we have Furman (Nov. 15) and Mercer (Nov. 22), the latter of which will be played in Gibbs Stadium.
Both games will undoubtedly be tough, but Samford's 45-0 walloping of Furman yesterday afternoon makes one wonder exactly what to expect from the Paladins in Greenville. If history and experience is any telling factor, we can expect a physical game that will take everything we have to pull out another road victory.
Really, it's not looking half bad for the Terriers--this is a campaign that has left much to be proud of, along with things to improve upon.