Hornet Preview-Week 2
As I look out my office window at some beautiful September sunshine, I realize how blessed we are to live in this wonderful Northern Shenandoah Valley. As our thoughts and prayers are aimed at the victims of Harvey and the people in harm’s way from approaching Irma in Florida, we sometimes take for granted that aside from the remnants of a hurricane, or an occasional tornado, this area is basically immune from serious natural disasters. We are fortunate, indeed.
Ok, now on to football, and a look at the SU Hornets week 2 matchup with NC Wesleyan. The Hornets are coming off an opening 40-14 win over Gallaudet, and I’m not sure how much I can take out of that win. Certainly, any victory is a good one, even against a very beatable opponent. On a less-than-perfect night for football, QB Hayden Bauserman threw for almost 400 yards in just 3 quarters of action, spreading the wealth amidst a plethora of receivers.
Defensively, we got a look at a more aggressive defense under the tutelage of new D-Coordinator Brock McCullough. Bernie Hayes III led the way with a scoop n’ score and 4 tackles-for-loss. Aside from 2 GU touchdown drives, the Hornet “D” was generally solid.
Shenandoah will have to do better in the turnover department. The Hornets opening drive resulted in a fumble into the end zone for a Bison touchback, followed by an 80-yard drive for a GU score. Fortunately, SU scored the next 33 points on the way to the win. All in all, a nice expected win over a team that certainly improved from last season, and always plays hard.
As for this week’s opponent, it’s interesting to see the contrasting approach that NC Wesleyan took with regard to it’s opening game. The Bishops opened with none other than perennial D-3 power Mount Union (on the road, no less!). Talk about an anti-cupcake! More often than not you will find Mt. Union in the season’r final game, the Stagg Bowl. Wesleyan found itself down 41-0 at halftime, before Union called off the dogs and won 58-0. Give the Bishops credit for using the contest as a measuring stick to see how they stacked up against the nation’s best.
This week’s game is a matchup of 2 teams that used to play each other in the USA South, before the Hornets moved to the ODAC. Last year at Shentel, the Bishops scored the initial 28 points of the game on the way to a 31-13 pounding of Shenandoah. Back for Wesleyan is QB Nate Gardner, who threw for 331 yards in last year’s game. Despite 306 yards passing from Bauserman, SU was never in the game.
Hopefully, the Hornets will get Jalen Hudson back this week from an ankle injury. They will need his big-play capability. I think Shenandoah can put points on the board, but the key matchup will bethe Hornets defense against the quick, athletic Bishops offense. It also goes without saying that a good running game this week will keep that Wesleyan offense off the field.
In an ODAC-like game, I think the Hornets get it done in Rocky Mount, 35-31, and improve to 2-0. Here’s hoping for a little Carolina BBQ, and a Shenandoah win!
That’s it from the Booth…until next visit, GO HORNETS!