2023 UVA Wise vs Barton College

SAC Week 3 Preview: Barton Follows FCS Win With Conference Opener

SAC Week 3 Preview: Barton Follows FCS Win With Conference Opener

Week 3 brings a loaded docket of South Atlantic Conference games, including the high-powered Barton offense coming off its upset of Davidson.

Sep 14, 2023 by Kyle Kensing
SAC Week 3 Preview: Barton Follows FCS Win With Conference Opener

It's been a wild first two weeks of the 2023 season for Barton College, winner of two games that could not have been much more different. The Bulldogs pounced on Chowan early in Week 1 then cruised to a 41-0 win, but in Week 2 needed to rally from a 21-7 first-quarter deficit at Davidson. 

The second of Jordan Terrell's two rushing touchdowns completed the comeback, and Barton scored a 33-31 win — the first victory over a Div. I opponent in the program's brief history. 

A common thread between the two different decisions was the explosiveness of the Barton offense. The Bulldogs aim to continue their success on that side of the ball in Week 2, facing UVA Wise in the South Atlantic Conference opener for both teams. 

UVA Wise comes to Barton having had its own wholly unique first two weeks, rolling to a 48-0 season-opening win over Union College but falling in Week 2 at Thomas More, 37-0. This is a young Cavaliers roster that had sophomores Juwan Dent and Jake Corkren at quarterback the first two weeks; leading receivers Dorien Goddard and DJ Powell are a junior and a sophomore; and three of the team's five leading tacklers are sophomores. 

UVA Wise has an opportunity to rebound in a major way, but will have to figure out how to slow Barton's dynamic offense. Jordan Terrell is among the most established offensive weapons in the SAC and is churning toward another strong season after last year's 1,632 rushing yards. 

He's on that very pace through the Bulldogs' first two games, while Lynch complements Terrell in the rushing attack effectively. Lynch has four carries for touchdowns to go with his two scoring throws. 


Carson-Newman at Limestone 

Both Carson-Newman and Limestone kick off SAC play looking to rebound from non-conference losses. 

C-N trounced Virginia-Lynchburg in Week 1 but faced an uphill climb against FCS Southern Conference member East Tennessee State. After managing just eight first downs and 204 yards of total offense against the Bucs, a week after going for 426 yards against Virginia-Lynchburg, the Eagles will aim to reenergize on that side of the ball. 

It's a similar story for Limestone in its conference opener. The Saints boasted one of the nation's most exciting offenses in 2022, but early-season struggles in losses to Gulf South Conference representatives West Georgia and West Alabama have Limestone looking to recover from an 0-2 start. 

Quarterback Dustin Noller's injury late at West Georgia loomed in Week 2. Cal Endicott rushed for the Saints' lone touchdown, but threw two of the team's three interceptions. 

The Carson-Newman defense, meanwhile, picked off 10 passes a season and returns Major Williams, Ja'Laun Walton, Jalen Anderson and Kendall Williams, who accounted for half. 

Mars Hill at Catawba 

Mars Hill has yet to play a SAC game, but the Panthers made a SAC statement in Week 2 with their 15-10 defeat of Wingate. The non-league matchup pit two of the nation's stingiest defenses head-to-head, and Mars Hill came out on top by holding Wingate to 264 yards of offense, 2-of-11 on third downs, and keeping the Bulldogs almost entirely on their side of the 50 in the second half. 

Highlights: Wingate Vs. Mars Hill

The Panthers front seven shined, including veteran standout linebacker Landon Honeycutt racking up nine tackles and Damipi Lamboni making 2.5 tackles for loss. His forced fumble set up Tristan Rankin's game-winning, 55-yard return for a touchdown. 

Fitting that defense resulted in the winning touchdown. Mars Hill now looks to replicate its defensive dominance on the road against a 2-0 Catawba team that rolled up 86 points through its first two games. 

Catawba held off Elizabeth City State's fourth-quarter surge in Week 1 to win, 31-23, then deluged Livingstone in Week 2, 55-15.  

Quarterback Preston Brown is off to a sensational start with 575 yards and nine touchdowns passing. The sophomore Brown is completing two-thirds of his pass attempts to a varied rotation of targets. Seven Catawba players have at least three catches — though Jordan Mitchell, who has eight receptions, has gone to the house on four of them. 

The Catawba passing attack against Mars Hill's aggressive defense should make for one of the week's most intriguing matchups. 

Emory & Henry at Newberry

Newberry began its march to a second consecutive SAC championship in 2022 by winning a 26-23 overtime thriller at Emory & Henry.  The Wasps rallied from 10 down in the second half to force the extra game in a performance that showed coach Curt Newsome is serious about E&H contending in the SAC. 

The rematch comes almost one exact year to the day, this time with Newberry hosting. The Wolves lineup is largely overhauled, most notably with the departures of quarterback Dre Harris — who threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to begin last season's contest — and running back Mario Anderson, who carried for the game-winning score. 

Newberry is 1-1 but yet to reach 15 points in either of its two games: a win over Shippensburg and loss to North Greenville. Brayden Phillips and Pete Elmore have thrown a near-equal amount of passes through the first two games; both have an interception while Phillips has the lone Newberry touchdown through the air. 

Dwayne Wright is shouldering the majority of rushing duties, though John Swinton III has a touchdown and a 30-yard carry to his credit in the five opportunities he's had. 

Points have not been in short supply for Emory & Henry in its first two weeks. The Wasps romped against Concord in Week 1, 56-10, behind Charles Mutter III's four touchdown passes. The 37-14 blowout of Bluefield State, meanwhile, included a defensive touchdown — T.J. Payne with a pick-six on one of his three interceptions — and Kade Sullivan with a punt-return touchdown. 

Payne and Shawn Collins both head into Newberry with three interceptions on the young season, a potential area of concern for a Wolves offense trying to find its offensive identity.