South Carolina State has been here before.
The Bulldogs are off to a 1-4 start searching for a spark and consistency before the team wades into its MEAC schedule.
This was a similar position SC State found itself in a year ago before going undefeated in conference play en route to a league title and Celebration Bowl upset win over heavily favored Jackson State to claim the program’s third HBCU national championship under Buddy Pough.
The longtime head coach is hoping a similar story is written in 2022.
“Our guys don’t have a great attitude, right now,” Pough said Monday. “The fact that we’ve been here before is a tremendous help. We can do what we did last year, and they understand that.”
For SC State to complete a turnaround, it will have to start on offense. The unit is averaging 18 points per game, second to last in the MEAC, and has only scored 12 touchdowns in five games.
The group showed some signs of life in the second half against Florida A&M in a 20-14 loss to the Rattlers last Saturday. Quarterback Corey Fields threw two TDs on 48 pass attempts but three crushing interceptions did not help matters.
“We had the ball twice after getting within one score,” said Pough. “That might be the most disappointing part of the day, we had this great story ready to be written and couldn’t finish.”
Pough explained that there is no reason the Bulldogs “can’t win out,” but will have to start with Virginia University of Lynchburg.
“There’s no reason why we can’t win out, but we have to win a game first,” Pough said.
While SC State should handle VUL, its next three scheduled games will be a challenge with matchups at home against North Carolina Central, at an improving Morgan State team, and a tough Delaware State opponent.
“At this point right now, we need some confidence,” said Pough. “The fact that we’ve gotten ourselves in a pretty deep hole is a pretty good-sized issue. We are going to figure out some things we can do.”
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