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Wofford Heads North With Momentum

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The Terriers, five years later, will get another shot at North Dakota State.

In 2012, Wofford played at defending and eventual national champion North Dakota State, meeting the Bison in the FargoDome in the FCS quarterfinals. A dramatic heavyweight bout, the Terriers came within seven yards of a potentially game-tying touchdown, nearly stopping North Dakota State's remarkable title streak before it truly got going. The only team to hold the Bison to fewer points than Wofford that year was the gold squad in the North Dakota State spring game.

The Terriers, five years later, will get another shot. Southern Conferece champion Wofford enters Saturday with an impressive 10-2 record, including a recent 28-10 triumph over league foe Furman. Impressively, the Terriers have won all but one of their FCS contests this fall, losing only to playoff-participant Samford on a last-minute, game-winning touchdown. As the leaves have turned, Wofford has remained one of college football's most consistent teams. 

A national seed, the Terriers are in the elite eight for the second-straight season. Wofford's last three trips to the quarterfinals, 2010, 2012 and 2016, each resulted in one-score losses, the latest coming in double-overtime. The Terriers made it to within a game of playing for the national title back in 2003, but have never advanced to the final round. This group, with a special focus and motivation, is ready to make history.

As usual, Mike Ayers' Wofford team is efficient, physical and talented. The Terriers are also clutch: 7-1 in contests decided by seven points or less. Wofford, in fact, opened the schedule with consecutive one-point victories over Furman and Mercer and a three-point win against Gardner-Webb, later defeating Western Carolina in overtime, The Citadel by four points, East Tennessee State by a touchdown and Chattanooga in double-OT.

The Terriers won't just be comfortable in a close postseason game, they might be at their best.

Playing at power North Dakota State, 11-1 after overwhelming San Diego 38-3 a week ago, will be the ultimate barometer. There are obvious similarities in what the two teams like to do as both average over 250 yards rushing per game. Ultimately, the game may be won on third downs; Wofford ranks third nationally with a conversion rate of 50%, while the Bison slot fifth defensively at 27.6%. 

There is considerable momentum fueling the Terriers' trip. Saturday marked one of Wofford's best performances of the year and, with the triumph, the program has now reached ten wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever. The victory also gives the Terriers a winning record in the FCS playoffs all-time. Ahead of nationally-televised clash against a big-time opponent, veterans like quarterback Brandon Goodson, who were high schools seniors the last time these two played, have seen it all.

Wofford is on a run for the history books. The Terriers are in the national spotlight, a stage they have prepared for and a showcase they have earned.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports