Football

Southern Conference preview

Favorite

Chattanooga: Coaches made the Mocs, last year’s co-champs, the preseason pick to win the title for the first time since 1982.

Contender

Furman: Fifteen starters return from team that grabbed a share of Paladins’ 13th conference title last season.

Dark horse

Samford: Bulldogs return 13 starters from team that claimed a share of its first title since joining the conference in 2008.

Five to watch

Jacob Huesman: Chattanooga, quarterback, Jr. (6-2, 220): Preseason offensive player of the year accounted for 25 TDs last season.

Davis Tull: Chattanooga, defensive lineman, Sr. (6-3, 240): Two-time SoCon defensive player of the year, first-team AP All-American has 26.5 career sacks.

Hank McCloud: Furman, running back, R-Sr. (5-9, 190), Paladins’ back is conference’s top returning rusher (1,092 yards, 5 TDs last season).

Karnorris Benson: Western Carolina, wide receiver, R-Soph. (6-1, 205), Second-team All-SoCon pick led conference with 12 receiving TDs last season.

Warren Handrahan: Samford, kicker, R-Soph. (5-10, 181), Was second-team All-SoCon as redshirt freshman after making 19 FGs, 40 of 41 extra-point kicks.

Game you shouldn’t miss

Samford at Chattanooga: 7 p.m., Sept. 27: Bulldogs’ 17-14 OT win last season cost Mocs a shot at outright conference title.

Bill Kiser

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