Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Small school, big competition: Wofford has a history of playing larger-division foes tough

There's a line in between the two slices of Division I football, the FBS and FCS. Sometimes it's more fine than others.

While it's been explained countless times before, allow me to reiterate: the Football Bowl Subdivision, as the moniker implies, contains those programs which compete for--if they stand in the top tier--a title through a four-game playoff, or in bowl games, of which there is a bevy. In essence, they are the 'larger programs,' which are allowed more scholarships and are expected to translate that into success on the gridiron, even more especially in contests against those in Football Championship Subdivision--the 'small guys' who are generally thought of as weaker, humbler programs.

Lately, the Terriers have proved themselves as capable adversaries in games against teams from the FBS. For that matter, this tiny college from Spartanburg, S.C., has been very close to causing some upsets over the last few seasons.

Remember the 2011 matchup with Clemson, where the Terriers held their ground in a tight battle that was knotted at 21 at the half, before having to settle for field goals and succumbing to the superior Tigers? Or the game against South Carolina the very next year, 2012, when the game was tied at 7-7 entering the fourth quarter? Sure, the larger squad prevailed in both of those contests, and that's precisely what's supposed to happen.

Every now and then, though, it doesn't.

For the Terriers, it occurred only once, in the year 2000, when Mike Ayers' band took advantage of a 1-10 Louisiana-Monroe (then known as Northeast Louisiana) team in a 24-6 victory. In the win, Tony Hudson rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown on seventeen carries, while quarterback Travis Wilson took it to the house twice.

The year prior, Wofford took another Louisiana program, UL-Lafayette into overtime, before falling 37-34.

My point is, the Terriers have a history of playing larger-division teams tough, whether it was a victory over a SoCon team as a Division II school in the early 1990's, multiple close games over in-state teams like Clemson and South Carolina, or this season's vigorous early play against Georgia Tech.

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