SU Football Preview: Ground vs. Air
Greetings from The Booth!
Finally, much to the chagrin of the local power companies, some October-like weather has come to the Shenandoah Valley! And while the air conditioners are given a rest, the “oscillating fans” are at full speed, especially fans of the Burgundy and Gold. I guess its appropriate that this time of year the Washington Redskins are doing their best Jekyll & Hyde impersonation. Actually the ‘Skins looked more like the Washington Generals (the perpetual “foil” of the Harlem Globetrotters) in an embarrassing 43-19 loss to the Saints in front of the whole country.
Let’s see who shows up this weekend…Jekyll or Hyde.
Now, on to the business at hand. Speaking of Jekyll & Hyde, the Shenandoah Hornets returned to form last weekend (not sure who that team was that played Ferrum several weeks ago) in a 59-34 rout of Hampden-Sydney.
The Hornets showed a sense of urgency from the very outset, and built a 24-0 lead on the way to a big victory. Once again, crazy numbers from QB Hayden Bauserman, who was named ODAC Player Of The Week after a 490-yard, 5 TD pass performance. SU set a school record with 658 yards of offense, which included a 129 yard rushing day from Rashadeen Byrd (on only 6 carries!). And the oft-maligned defense chipped in with a big goal line stand and 2 picks. It was a total team effort, and a dominating one, at that.
This weekend poses yet another challenge in the “Wacky ODACKy” as league-leading Randolph-Macon invades Shentel Stadium. This will be a true contrast of styles, as RMC likes to run the ball, eat up the clock, and otherwise turn opponents black and blue. The Hornets, of course, love to throw the football, to the tune of 375 yards per game.
As we’ve said, though, the X-factor this year has been the 150-yard contribution this year from the SU running game. In 2018, if your defense dares SU to run, they will. Last year the Hornets were more one-dimensional. This season, not so much.
Third down will be a key Saturday afternoon. Can the Hornet defense get the Yellow Jackets off the field on 3rd down? Against Hampden-Sydney, SU did a nice job in limiting the Tigers to just 5 of 13 on 3rd down, and will need to do that again Saturday afternoon.
The Shenandoah “D” will also have to contain yet another feature back, this time Tre Frederick, who tallied 160 yards in last year’s game at Day Field. Two weeks ago, Ferrum’s Brian Mann torched SU for 260 yards in a 38-21 Hornet loss. Frederick might be the one player that can beat Shenandoah Saturday, so keeping him in check will be vital.
The final key will be separation on the scoreboard. The team that gets out to a multiple score lead will have a big advantage, especially Shenandoah. If the Hornets can get the Jackets out of their comfort zone, that would go a long way toward a big win Saturday.
I think the Hornets have too many weapons, and will play well against RMC. Hayden will take what the defense gives him, work in just enough run game to keep the Jackets honest, and the defense will not totally stop Frederick, but will do enough. Oh, and watch out for something from the Hornet special teams. Late tomorrow afternoon, ODAC will be logjammed after a 42-35 SU win at Shentel.
Enjoy your weekend…and until next visit,