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SC STATE FOOTBALL: Pough, Bulldogs set sights on Atlanta

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South Carolina State capped an unbeaten conference record with a 31-21 victory over Norfolk State Saturday in Norfolk, Va.

The Bulldogs finished 5-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and clinched the 18th conference championship in the school’s history.

“It’s all over, done,” SC State head coach Buddy Pough said Monday at this weekly press conference. “We got the whole trophy, which was the main mission in going (to Norfolk).”

Had the Spartans won, along with North Carolina Central, the Bulldogs and NCCU would have had identical 4-1 records, but SC State would have won the tiebreaker, having beaten the Eagles earlier in the season.

“We played pretty good (Saturday) on both sides of the ball, but especially offensively,” Pough said. “Our defense played its best when (Norfolk) got close to our goal line.”

The Bulldog offense had 422 yards of total offense led by quarterback Corey Fields, who threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Kendrell Flowers set a new season-high in rushing with 172 yards and a touchdown.

S.C. STATE FOOTBALL: Fields leads Bulldogs past Spartans

“It was a fun game to be a part of,” Pough said. “I was excited for the way our kids responded, and really excited about the way we got Corey back playing well. It was a great finishing statement, and I think, tied up a lot of loose ends going forward. We wanted to gain some momentum, heading into the bowl game, and I think we did that.”

Pough said receiver Shaquan Davis also had a good game after catching nine passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns.

“We were able to get Corey and Shaq on the same page for some big opportunities,” Pough said. “We had a good plan that played to Corey’s strengths. Once we got the throwing game going it opened up the run game. Hopefully, we found something to where we can build on that style of play we had Saturday.”

Pough and the Bulldogs will take the week off to celebrate Thanksgiving but return Monday with their sights set on the Cricket Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Dec. 18. SC State will play the winner of the SWAC championship game Dec. 4 between Jackson State and Prairie View A&M.

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“That first week of practice, we won’t even know who we will be playing,” Pough said. “We’ll use a lot of that time to develop some of the younger guys on the team.”

During the preseason, Bulldog players and coaches were expecting to be playing in this game at the end of the year. Now that the team has clinched its spot, Pough said there is some relief among the players. $5 for 5 months

“Right now, it’s all about who we’re going to play and how we find some success,” Pough said. “It’s great that we made it, and I’m excited, looking forward to seeing how many of our fans can turn out. We feel like we are the natural choice of all teams that are best fit for this game. We get a chance to show what our fan base can do.”


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