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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Tough start to season; football uses loss as growth points

Raymond+Smith+scores+a+touchdown+during+the+Terriers+home+win+over+North+Greenville.
Raymond Smith scores a touchdown during the Terriers home win over North Greenville.

TERRIERS PREPARING FOR THE START OF THE SOCON SEASON —

Around a quarter of the way through the season, the jury is still out on how good this year’s Wofford football team is. The team played a competitive game against ACC power Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Coach Mike Ayers says the team took a lot away from the first game of the season. “We took away a realistic view of where we are as a team. If we could have executed better we would have gotten the win.”

Quarterback Evan Jacks says the team enjoyed the chance to play Georgia Tech.

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“It was a good environment,” says Jacks. “It’s always good to play a team like that in the first game.” After the Georgia Tech game the team had a bye week. “It was good to have a bye week right after to try to work all the kinks out,” Jacks says. After the bye week, the team played a home game against North Greenville, which was very similar to the game that Wofford lost last season to Garner Webb. In a game that lasted around five hours and was delayed three times, Wofford eventually won 42-27.

Jacks says that winning in the rain was a good sign for the team.

“Last year against Gardner Webb, playing in rain like that, the thing that hurt the most was knowing that we are a run-first team, and we didn’t take advantage in that environment.” Jacks says, “Against North Greenville we went to the run game and dominated.”

In week four the Terriers fell to Gardner Webb for the second year in a row. Wofford led early in the second half but ultimately lost 43-36 in Boiling Springs, NC. The Terriers fell victim to three defensive pass interference calls late in the second half, and Gardner Webb Quarterback Lucas Beatty accounted for four touch- downs.

One good take away from the Gardner Webb game was the continued emergence of running back Lorenzo Long. Long had 151 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs, which fol- lowed up the game against North Greenville, where he had 138 yards and three touchdowns. Ayers knows that this year will be a learning process with the young team.

“We have a young team. We have six seniors playing, but other than that it’s all underclass- men,” Ayers says.

One of those underclassmen is Jacks. The redshirt sophomore has started all three games this season after starting on and off last season.

“He has done extremely well,” Ayers says of Jacks. “He has shown his toughness, and he operates the offensewell and has taken care of the ball.”

Ayers still hopes to see more out of Jacks, who has accounted for four touchdowns this year. “We want to see another growth step for Evan Jacks,” Ayers says.

“We are hoping he will settle down and play well for us.”

Jacks played his way back into the starting role after being buried on the depth chart to start camp.

“I got the news coming into camp that that I was fourth string,” Jacks says. “I took it as motivation.”

The team will begin Southern Conference play against The Citadel on Oct. 4. Ayers says the team won’t take any Conference games lightly.

“There are no gimmes in this conference. Everyone has gotten better. There used to be an upper echelon. Now we have to play every game with a great deal of passion.”

Jacks says the team is excited about playing in the new SoCon, which will include Mercer, East Tennessee State and VMI this year for the first time.

“It will be fun playing those guys,” says Ayers. “It’s good having new opponents and getting to see new places.”

Ayers believes this team is ready to make an impact against those new opponents this year.

“The biggest thing I feel about this group,” Ayers says, “is that they are willing to work to get the program back to where it needs to be.”

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