Hornet-HSC Preview: A Must Win?
Greetings From The Booth!
As I write this week’s post, my face is a nice shade of red after yesterday’s near-90 degree day in the Shenandoah Valley. My River 95-3 team participated in the annual Hokie Open Golf Tournament to benefit the scholarship efforts of the Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. As always, it was a great event at SVGC, but I was totally unprepared for the August-like blast furnace and I’m paying for it today.
“90 degrees and a hockey game is on.” Sounds like a Jimmy Buffett song in there somewhere…
Saturday marks the halfway point in the Shenandoah University football season, as the Hornets get ready for their Homecoming game against Hampden-Sydney. This game is big because SU was blindsided by new ODAC member Ferrum last week, 38-21. Shenandoah got behind early 17-0, and despite getting to within 3 points on several occasions, never was able to take the lead.
In retrospect, the result was probably the “perfect storm” of the Hornets being a little off-kilter from the bye week, a little overconfident, and possibly looking ahead to the Hampden-Sydney contest. Not to mention, sometimes teams simply have an off-day. Stuff happens.
Whatever the reason or reasons, SU finds itself in a tough position going into this weekend’s Homecoming game against Hampden-Sydney. One loss and you can still win the league title (possibly 2 losses, with some help), but you don’t want that one loss to be at the very start of the ODAC schedule, and not against an opponent you think you should beat.
This week, one of the the “blue bloods” of the ODAC, the Hampden-Sydney Tigers, stroll into Shentel, fresh off a 56-27 win over Emory & Henry. The Tigers lead the all-time series 5-1, the only Hornet win coming in 2013, a signature win in Head Coach Scott Yoder’s first season at SU.
In that contest, the Hornets came back from a 19-0 deficit to win 36-35. That’s a hole Shenandoah cannot fall into this week if it expects to get back in the ODAC conversation. The Tigers boast one of the top signal callers in the league in senior QB Alec Cobb, who has thrown for over 1200 yards this season. Cobb passed for 365 yards in last year’s 49-43 Hornet loss, a defeat that went a long way in derailing SU’s title hopes.
Hopefully, last week’s loss to Ferrum was just a minor speed bump on the road to bigger and better things. Shenandoah will need to fire on all cylinders offensively this week, while the Hornet defense will need to get HSC off the field on third down, and tackle much better than they did against Ferrum. If those things don’t happen, it could be a long afternoon.
I can’t see SU quarterback Hayden Bauserman having 2 “off-games” in a row (yes, I guess we’re saying 264 yards and 3 TD passes is an off-game). He threw for 401 last year at Hampden-Sydney, and I see more of the same this week. The difference this time will be an added dose of running game from the law firm of Wisdom, Byrd, and Hunter.
This is another “heart” pick and not a “head” pick. This series has featured high-scoring affairs and this year will be no different. With their backs to the wall, the hornets will find a way, 48-45.
I’ll talk to you from the Booth starting at 12:30 on The River 95-3, and until next time, Happy Homecoming, and GO HORNETS!