COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Charleston Southern is finally getting big brother to come to its house.
Charleston Southern will host The Citadel on Saturday before what it expected to be a record crowd at Buccaneer Field. Charleston Southern beat the Bulldogs last season in the Buccaneers' first game with coach Jamey Chadwell. It was the catalyst to a surprising 10-3 season.
"Any time you can get big brother to your place — that has never happened — I think it shows hopefully the progress this university can make, that there can be room for two universities in this city," Chadwell said.
In other games Saturday involving South Carolina's Football Championship Subdivision teams South Carolina State hosts Furman; Wofford is at Gardner-Webb; Coastal Carolina travels to Florida A&M; and Presbyterian is at North Carolina State.
In North Charleston, Charleston Southern (3-0) is adding more than 700 seats to the visitor's side of its stadium as The Citadel (0-2) makes the 17-mile trip up the peninsula.
The Bulldogs had a bye last week after opening the season with losses to Coastal Carolina and Florida State. "You enjoy the time off — able to recruit a little bit and hone in on some things, but at the same time you don't want to break your momentum at all," coach Mike Houston said.
While the Bulldogs have faced a top-quality FCS foe, Saturday's game is the first equal level test for Charleston Southern, who has beaten NAIA Point, Division II Newberry and FCS also-ran Campbell.
Chadwell said his team still feels like the underdog, even after last year's win over the Bulldogs.
"We're still trying to make it into a rival game. We've only beat them twice in our entire existence," Chadwell said.
In Orangeburg, South Carolina State (1-2) faces Furman (2-1) in a rematch of last year's FCS playoff game. This time both teams are coming off devastating losses.
"We both need to win. I don't know who needs to win the worse. I know we need to win badly," Bulldogs coach Buddy Pough said.
Pough said South Carolina State looked lethargic and confused for the second weekend in a row, losing 30-3 last week to Coastal Carolina. "They're beating us up. And we're not playing too good," Pough said.
Furman lost 10-7 to Presbyterian, breaking a 15-game winning streak over the Blue Hose. The Paladins offense is sputtering after losing starting quarterback Reese Hannon to a broken ankle. They gained just 214 yards against Presbyterian and missed two field goals.
Furman is gaining just 303 yards a game to rank 85th in FCS. But the Paladins defense is only allowing 224 yards a game to rank fifth in FCS.
"We've got some young players who we feel are making progress. We just need to get on with it," Paladins coach Bruce Fowler said.
In Tallahassee, Florida, Coastal Carolina (3-0) finishes its unusual swing through the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference against Florida A&M (0-2).
This is the third week in a row the Chanticleers have played a MEAC team. Chanticleers coach Joe Moglia said it's just a quirk of his scheduling preferences of not playing FBS or Division II teams and trying to make sure his team plays road games close enough to home so they can take the bus.
"What I want to do is play competitive FCS schools, ideally close to us," Moglia said.
Coastal Carolina beat South Carolina State 30-3 last week, a surprisingly easy win. The Bulldogs did gain 370 yards to 352 yards for the Chanticleers, Coastal limited South Carolina State to 143 yards on the ground, hefty improvement for a team that entered the game allowing 296 yards rushing to rank 105th out of 113 FCS teams
"We still aren't where we need to get to, but we are definitely improving on defense," Moglia said.
In Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Wofford (1-1) is glad the forecast doesn't include rain as it heads to Gardner-Webb (1-2).
The Terriers waited through two weather delays last week before beating North Greenville 42-27. During the past two years, monsoon-like rain has plagued the game between Wofford and Gardner-Webb.
"I think there has been a total of 7 inches of rain that has occurred during those ball games," Terriers coach Mike Ayers said,
Ayers is still trying to get a handle on his young team. Wofford doesn't always get the best athletes, so much of the Terriers success depends on precisely running plays or coverages on defense.
"We've really got to dial in on job responsibility and playing your position the way it is supposed to be played," Ayers said.
Wofford had won six in a row over Gardner-Webb before the Runnin' Bulldogs won 3-0 last year in the driving rain.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Presbyterian (2-1) plays its second Football Bowl Subdivision team of the season in North Carolina State (3-0).
It has been a season of wild swings for the Blue Hose. They lost by 52 points in the opener to FBS Northern Illinois, beat NAIA Bluefield by 55 points before pulling off the biggest upset since joining FCS football six years ago beating Furman 10-7.
"I had a smile on my face for about 24 hours," Presbyterian coach Harold Nichols said. "And I started watching North Carolina State film and I wasn't smiling anymore."
The teams have met just once, with the Blue Hose winning 2-0 in 1930 when the Wolfpack was a member of a 23-team Southern Conference.
Presbyterian is 0-7 in games against FBS teams and has one more game on its schedule this season, heading to Mississippi on Nov. 8.
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