South Carolina State Football enters 2014 at number 25 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 9-4 (7-1) Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
The best defense in the FCS in 2013 resided in Orangeburg. In per-game averages last season, the Bulldogs allowed the fewest total yards – 238, the second-fewest rushing yards – 90.9, the second-fewest passing yards – 147.1, and the third-fewest points – 15.2. They finished tied with Bethune-Cookman for the best record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
South Carolina State football earned an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs where they lost in their first game, 30-20 to the Furman Paladins.
Tristan Bellamy C – Second team All-MEAC
Richard Cue QB – Third team All-MEAC, 164/295 (55.6%), 1,959 yards, 16 TDs, 12 INTs
Caleb Davis WR – 32 receptions, 316 yards, 4 TDs
Tyler McDonald WR – First team All-MEAC, 51 receptions, 958 yards, 7 TDs
Joe Thomas LB – Second team FCS All-American, MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, 115 tackles, 19 TFL (team-high), 7.5 sacks, 1 INT, 5 pass breakups, 1 FR, 1 FF
Mason Harris DB – 27 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 INTs (team-high), 1 FR
Kimario McFadden DB – Second team All-MEAC, 75 tackles, 9 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 5 pass breakups, 2 FRs, 1 FF
Darius Drummond DB – Third team All-MEAC, 55 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INTs
Nick Belcher K – 17/24 FGs (70.8%), long of 49
What to Watch For
Quarterback Battle – TeDarrius Wiley looks to be the leader in the clubhouse, but Joey Copeland and Adrian Kollock aren’t out of the competition either. Whoever wins the job will have almost same players around them that now-graduated former-starter Richard Cue had last season. Tyler McDonald and Caleb Davis, the number one and three wide receivers from last season, are gone, but top running back Justin Taylor will be just a redshirt sophomore, second-man Dondre Lewis-Freeman will be a junior, and former RB1 Jalen “Scoot” Simmons will return for his junior season after a season on the IR with a bum shoulder.
2014 will be the 12th year under head coach Oliver Pough, he of the 88-39 all-time record at SCSU. The title they shared with Bethune-Cookman last season was the fifth in Pough’s time in Orangeburg, and he’ll be eager to win number six in 2014.
This defense is going to be nasty. They may have lost second team All-FCS linebacker Joe Thomas, but he was one of only four defenders to graduate. Four lost starters is a manageable number, especially considering they’ve got almost all of their depth-players back this season. If the winner of the QB battle turns out semi-legit, these Bulldogs will be tough to beat in 2014. They’ve got Bethune-Cookman at home this year too, so don’t be surprised to see SCSU in the FCS playoffs again this year.