Samford-Wofford could be elimination game in Southern Conference

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Samford hosts Wofford at 2 p.m. Saturday in what could be an elimination game for the Southern Conference championship.

Both teams enter the game with one loss in conference play and trailing undefeated league leaders Western Carolina and Chattanooga. A second conference loss halfway into the season could prove tough to overcome.

"Our guys know what they're in for," Samford coach Pat Sullivan said. "We will have to be at our best to have a chance to win this one."

Samford (3-2, 2-1) is coming off a bye week. The Bulldogs defeated Mercer 21-18 in their most recent game.

Wofford (3-3, 1-1) is trying to bounce back from a frustrating 26-14 loss to Western Carolina last week. The Terriers outgained Western Carolina in total yardage 273-246, but they allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown, gave up a safety and lost a fumble inside the Catamounts' 5-yard line.

"It all comes back to me. I did not get them ready," Wofford coach Mike Ayers said. "But that one is over and in the books. Our next opponent is Samford and they are an excellent team."

Sullivan said he does not expect many surprises from Wofford, which runs a wingbone offense and averages 301.2 yards rushing per game, fourth-most nationally.

"They're a good team, and they've been that way ever since we've been in the league. There's nothing different about this team. They're still the same. It takes a lot of concentration to get ready to play them," Sullivan said.

Samford holds a 7-4 lead in the series. Seven of the games have been decided by a touchdown or less, and only once has a team won by more than 16 points.

THURSDAY'S GAME

West Alabama at Shorter, 6 p.m.

West Alabama has had a short week to get over a last-second loss to Florida Tech. The Tigers (3-3, 0-2 Gulf South Conference) gave up the game-winning touchdown with two seconds to play in losing 33-32.

"This is a hurting football team and a hurting coaching staff right now," UWA coach Brett Gilliland said after the loss. "But I believe we have some seniors who won't let this team quit."

Shorter (3-2, 1-1) is coming off a 35-20 loss to Delta State.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Stillman vs. Tuskegee, 1 p.m.

First place in the West Division of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will be on the line when Stillman takes on Tuskegee.

Both teams are 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the SIAC. Miles is close behind in conference play with a 2-1 record. The three other West Division teams already have either two or three league losses.

Tuskegee has won three in a row since starting the season 1-2. Last week, the Golden Tigers outgained Morehouse in total yardage 434-244 in posting a 49-0 victory.

Since being outscored 96-20 in losing the first two games of the season, Stillman has won four straight, including a 48-36 victory over Benedict last week.

Miles at Kentucky St., 12:30 p.m.

Miles (3-3, 2-1 SIAC) takes a two-game winning streak to Kentucky State (2-4, 1-2), which has lost four of its past five.

The Golden Bears need a victory to avoid falling into a deeper hole in the SIAC West Division. Miles plays struggling Lane College (1-5, 1-3) next week, before closing the season with back-to-back games against current West Division co-leaders Stillman and Tuskegee.

North Alabama at Florida Tech, 5 p.m.

North Alabama's defense will be put to the test against Florida Tech, which is averaging 36.5 points and 467 total yards per game.

Florida Tech (4-2, 1-1 Gulf South Conference) is led by freshman quarterback Mark Cato, who has thrown for 1,552 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 181 yards and two scores.

"Florida Tech has a very good team," UNA coach Bobby Wallace said. "They are explosive on offense with an outstanding quarterback and some really athletic receivers."

UNA (5-0, 2-0) is the only remaining undefeated team in the state of Alabama.

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