FCS: Wofford's Brandon Goodson knows how to win with passing game
The Citadel shut down Wofford's potent ground game better than any opponent in a dozen years. So the Terriers won it through the air.
Wofford senior quarterback Brandon Goodson was named Southern Conference player of the week on Monday after passing for 219 yards in a 20-16 victory Saturday at The Citadel. It was the most yards for the Terriers in their NCAA Division I era (since 1996) and top-10 all-time.
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Their option-based running attack, which came into the game ranked fifth nationally with 296 yards per game, was held to 99 yards for the lowest total since 78 against West Virginia in 2005. Goodson led fifth-ranked Wofford (6-0) to victory, however, by completing 11 passes (the most since 2008) on 17 attempts, including a 59-yard touchdown. He was 4-for-4 on a game-winning drive that ended on a touchdown with 1:10 left in the game.
"That's the way this offense needs to keep evolving," Goodson said. "We have to find ways in the passing game to pick up first downs."
He became only the third Wofford quarterback to ever be named Southern Conference offensive player of the week. Michael Weimer was honored in 2013 and Jeff Zolman in 2002.
"Brandon has shown that he can throw the ball at a high level," Wofford head coach Mike Ayers said. "We have receivers who can get open and they can make great catches to help him out. But he was on the money. He was stepping up in the pocket and delivering the ball. Sometimes he had to make an adjustment, a spin-out, be he stayed calm and cool."
That's what he did on the long touchdown, which went to former Boiling Springs High standout Jason Hill to tie the game in the third quarter. Goodson slipped away from a defender in the backfield and fired deep.
"I couldn't see it, of course, because I was running a route. But I heard about it," Hill said. "As soon as I got to the sideline, I heard he made a great play. I was just there to help him finish it off."
The Citadel's defense loaded the line of scrimmage to deter Wofford's running game, which averaged only 2.4 yards per carry. The Terriers' hadn't finished below 100 rushing yards since 2003 against Air Force. In the past decade, only 10 times have they been below even 200 yards and the only victory was in last season's FCS playoffs, when they beat Charleston Southern with only 141 yards on the ground.
With the win over Citadel yesterday, Wofford goes 6-0! pic.twitter.com/9X1L4AK0xQ— Wofford Football (@Wofford_FB) October 15, 2017
"Passing the ball was the difference-maker against The Citadel," Ayers said. "The run game was very difficult. We faced an eight-man box for the most part of the day and it was good to be able to execute at a high level with the throwing game. We had stick-movers that allowed us to continue to keep the ball. Brandon was great and our receivers stepped up big. On the offensive line, pass protection was really good. Our backs did a great job as well. It was probably as good as we've thrown it."
The Citadel had just one sack. Wofford, which ranks third among conference teams in passing efficiency, has allowed only six all season.
"In previous years, we passed when we had to or when we were trying to surprise people," Wofford offensive lineman Jared Jacon-Duffy said. "This year, we pass when we want. It's changed our offense. We have a passing threat and teams need to respect that. The Citadel didn't and it hurt them."
Wofford's single-game passing record of 306 yards was set by Harold Chandler against Catawba in 1969. Second-best of 259 yards was by Chuck Fraser against Mars Hill in 1985.
"As long as we win games, I don't think anybody is going to be complaining about how we do it," Goodson said. "Coach (Wade) Lang (offensive coordinator) and the rest of the offensive coaches put us in the position. We just had to execute."
Wofford plays host at 1:30 p.m. Saturday to No. 16 Samford (4-2, 2-1) in a key Southern Conference showdown. If these Bulldogs want to overplay the run like the other Bulldogs did, the Terriers may rely heavily on the passing attack again.
"It feels like a dare sometimes," said Hill, who had five catches for 97 yards. "When teams think they can put everybody in the box to stop the run because we can't beat them throwing the ball, we take that as a challenge."
This article is written by Todd Shanesy from Spartanburg Herald-Journal and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.