Sunday, November 23, 2008

South Carolina State (10-2), the 2008 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will travel to Boone, NC Saturday to take on three-time defending champion Appalachian State (10-2) in opening-round action of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs. The contest, one of eight first-round games, kicks off at 12 noon at Kidd Brewer Stadium and will be carried live by ESPNU.

Ticket information and additional details about the game will be available on Monday.

The Bulldogs, who earned their league’s automatic berth, are making only their third appearance, and the first since 1982, in the prestigious playoffs. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, the Southern Conference automatic representative, earned their 16th appearance in the field. The winner of Saturday’s game advances to the Dec. 6 quarterfinals against the winner of the opening round contest between Eastern Kentucky and Richmond.

Bulldog head coach Buddy Pough and his team were honored Sunday during a Salute and NCAA Selection Show party on the campus, where the pairings were watched live at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center by the team school administrators, students and supporters with performances by the famed Marching 101 Band and SC State cheerleaders.

It didn’t take long for Pough and the Bulldogs to learn their fate as the SC State and Appalachian State pairing was the first to be revealed.

The announcement was met with mixed reactions from the audience, but Pough and his players said they were looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.

“Well, we know it will not be easy,” said Pough, “but we are happy to have a chance to compete for a national championship. Appalachian State is about as good as you can get and three-time defending champion. So, we know we have our work cut out for us and are looking forward to the game.”

Bulldog offensive captain Raymond Harrison, the team’s starting center,” echoed those same sentiments.

“Appalachian State has a great program and has demonstrated that it’s among the best in the nation by winning three straight championships,” Harrison said. “We have worked hard all year to get to this point and are happy for this opportunity to compete in the playoffs.”

The Bulldogs and Mountaineers are meeting for only the second time ever. The only other meeting was in 1984 at Boone, where Appalachian State won 24-0.

In its previous two appearances in the playoffs – 1981 and 1982 SC State won first-round contests each time before losing in the next round to the eventual champion. The Bulldogs defeated Tennessee State 26-25 in overtime at home in 1981 before losing 41-12 at Idaho State. In 1982, SC State traveled to Furman for an opening round game and won 17-0 before dropping a 38-3 decision at Louisiana Tech.