2023 Barton College vs Mars Hill

SAC Week 4 Preview: Conference Play Is In Full Swing

SAC Week 4 Preview: Conference Play Is In Full Swing

Conference competition is here throughout the South Atlantic Conference with the arrival of Week 4, including a marquee game between Barton and mars Hill.

Sep 21, 2023 by Kyle Kensing
SAC Week 4 Preview: Conference Play Is In Full Swing

Pursuit of the South Atlantic Conference championship begins in earnest in Week 4, with a Saturday filled with league games making up the slate. 

The docket features six conference games, with a showdown between undefeated teams Barton and Mars Hill headlining. The Bulldogs and Panthers collide in Saturday's early-kickoff window. 

Both Barton and Mars Hill come into the Week 4 contest off of SAC-opening wins last time out. Barton got a late touchdown run from Jordan Terrell, his second score of the contest and the exclamation point on a 256-yard performance, in a 28-24 thriller against UVA Wise. 

Terrell's heroics earned the Bulldogs FloFootball Drive of the Week honors. 


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Barton's 3-0 start, which includes a Week 2 defeat of Div. I Davidson, has been a byproduct of prolific rushing offense. The Bulldogs head to Mars Hill ranked fifth in the nation at 265 yards per game on the ground, resulting in the No. 40 overall scoring offense at 34 points a contest. 

Terrell is building a case for Harlon Hill Trophy consideration with his nation-leading 582 yards through three weeks — an output almost 100 yards more than the next-most productive ball-carrier in Div. II. 

Saturday's contest promises a styles clash with Barton's potent run game opposite a stout Mars Hill defense. The Panthers opened 2023 with an overwhelming showing against a good Wingate bunch in a non-conference matchup. The 15-10 victory preceded last week's 35-20 SAC opener against Catawba, in which Mars Hill flexed some of its offensive muscle to complement its defensive prowess en route to 28 unanswered points.  

Jon Gullette rushed for 206 yards, Malik Laruent and Simeon Thompson each flirted with 100 yards receiving, and Joe Taylor Jr. scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in a performance that showed off the Panthers potential balance. 


Linebacker Dexter Fitzpatrick has been excellent for the Mars Hill defense through two weeks, breaking up a pass and getting in on a tackle for loss vs. Wingate. He followed that up with a sack, forced fumble and team-leading seven tackles at Catawba. 

Fitzpatrick and Co. will have their hands full against Terrell, dual-threat quarterback JaQuan Lynch and the rest of the Barton offense in this pairing of possible SAC championship contenders. 

Lenoir-Rhyne at Carson-Newman

Top 25-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne has stormed through the first three weeks of its schedule, beating St. Augustine's, Fayetteville State and Erskine by a combined 131-17 margin. The Bears aim to continue their dominance on the road in Week 4, visiting Carson-Newman. 

Lenoir-Rhyne has thrived with a three-man attack in the run game, paced by Dwayne McGee's 101 yards per game. Zayvion Turner-Knox is not far behind at 88.5 yards a contest, and is averaging a hair less than a first down every time he touches the ball with 9.8 yards per carry. 

Zyheir Dillard's provided another 49 yards per game, and all three have reached the end zone multiple times — with McGee and Turner-Knox each having missed a game through the Bears' first three. 

Carson-Newman looks to snap a two-game losing skid after dropping last week's SAC opener to Limestone. The Eagles previously fell in non-conference play to Div. I East Tennessee State after winning in a 35-3 romp Week 1 over Virginia-Lynchburg. 

Wingate at Emory & Henry

Both Wingate and Emory & Henry opened SAC play last week with heartbreaking defeats. Wingate surrendered a 46-yard touchdown with 2:59 remaining that proved to be the game-winner in a 23-21 loss to Tusculum — the two points equal to the safety the Bulldogs surrendered in the late third quarter. 

Emory & Henry, meanwhile, went to eight overtimes at Newberry before reaching a 25-23 conclusion. 


Coming off such tough defeats, and their respective responses, makes this contest potentially pivotal for both the Bulldogs and Wasps. 

More Week 4 SAC Action

After its offense came alive in Week 3 at Carson-Newman, Limestone looks to keep rolling when it visits UVA Wise. The Cavaliers gave Barton all it could handle in Week 3. 

UVA Wise Dorrien Goddard is coming off an impressive performance in the SAC opener, hauling in eight passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. 

In the late-afternoon and evening windows, Catawba visits Tusculum and Erskine hosts Newberry. Both Tusculum and Newberry are out for 2-0 starts in conference play after winning nail-biters in Week 3.