Wofford Smashes The University of Tennessee/Chattanooga, 56-7
Defending Southern Conference champion Wofford College was back in action yesterday, taking on The University of Tennessee/Chattanooga after having a week off. Wofford’s only loss this season was a last-minute upset loss to The University of South Carolina, playing before 86,000 fans in Carolina’s Bryce Stadium.
Saturday was a day for big plays as No. 9 Wofford (4-1/2-0) scored five of their seven touchdowns from 20 yards or more to claim a 56-7 win over Chattanooga (1-6/0-3). For Wofford, the victory over Chattanooga is yet another a measure of a program that graduated 17 seniors, lost 13 of 24 starters and still finds itself with a 4-1 record and ranked ninth in the country.
Coming off a 9-4 record, an appearance in the FCS quarterfinals and a share of the Southern Conference championship, many observers thought that Wofford would be too inexperienced to make a serious run at national honors in 2008. But Wofford coach Mike Ayers wasn’t one of those doubters. “To a certain extent, I’m not surprised,” said Ayers, now in his 21st year as head coach. “After spring ball, we felt we had a number of older kids that knew what we were trying to do.”
Add to that maybe the best freshman class in school history and the Terriers have been able to climb to unexpected heights. “We’ve worked really hard on our guys from the start to pressure them into maturing more quickly,” explained Ayers, who has team tied for first place with Appalachian State and Elon in the SoCon with a 2-0 record.
In Wofford’s complex, triple-option offensive system, discipline and execution are paramount to success and those attributes were apparent in large supply as the Terriers rolled to a 56-7 Southern Conference victory over Tennessee- Chattanooga on Saturday afternoon before 8,394 fans at Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium.
Quarterback Ben Widmyer, who took over the controls of the wingbone attack from the graduated Josh Collier, got the Terriers rolling early with a 75-yard option run for a touchdown on Wofford’s second offensive play. After Chattanooga scored to even the game at seven apiece, Wofford went on to score 49 unanswered points.
Widmyer, who finished with eight carries for 158 yards and completed 3-of-5 passes for 110 yards and two scores, gave the Terriers the lead for good with 8:30 left in the second period on a 35-yard TD jaunt. After he fired a scoring strike of 28 yards to tight end Fenn Allen, connected with true freshman Eric Breitenstein on a 32-yard wheel route to set up Breitenstein’s five-yard TD burst and hit Andy Strickland on a 50-yard touchdown aerial, Widmyer retired to the sidelines just 62 seconds into the second half as the Terriers held a 35-7 lead.
Nevertheless, even with Widmyer and most of the starters watching, the Wofford reserves continued to play with precision on a day when the Terriers piled up 564 yards of total offense. And for Wofford, the remainder of the second half ended up being more of the same, as the ninth-ranked Terriers pulled away with big plays to end the game with 56 points.
Update: On Tuesday, October 14th, The Sports Network’s FCS College Football Poll Ranked Wofford College 4th in the nation.
Wofford Defeats Georgia Southern in OT, 38-37
Wofford’s Last-Minute Upset Loss to South Carolina
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