SU Football Week 3: Let’s Get Physical!
13 September 2018 Sports
Greetings from The Booth!
Our thoughts and prayers this week to the folks who live on the Carolina coast, as Hurricane Florence bears down. There was better news as of this writing, as the storm was downgraded to Cat 2 status. Still, major damage is expected, with storm surge and rain the big issues. The Shenandoah Valley appears to have dodged a big bullet, with only a little rain predicted for the coming days. I realized again this week how blessed we are to live in this particular region. We always seem to avoid things like tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and I’m pretty sure North Mountain is not going to erupt anytime soon.
Last weekend, the Shenandoah University football team improved to 2-0 on the season with a convincing 59-21 home win over NC Wesleyan. I really didn’t see that coming. The Bishops were coming off an opening win against Thomas More and are a much-improved team from 2017. While I predicted a Hornet win, I thought the game would be closer.
From the get-go, you could see that Shenandoah had come to play. SU jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and while NCW came back a few times, the Hornets always had an answer. A bruising running attack supplemented the always high-octane passing game, and the 59 points was just 2 shy of the record SU set last year (against these same Bishops). It’s scary to think that Shenandoah hasn’t peaked yet, and still they’re averaging 53 points a game.
This week promises to be more of a test. The Hobart College Statesmen come to Shentel Stadium for a week 3 showdown. Last year, we made the long trip to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and actually led 23-21 at the half in front of a shocked Hobart home crowd. Hopes of an upset ended after the break, as Hobart imposed it’s physical will on the Hornets in a 56-30 Statesmen win. In that game, Hobart ran the ball 56 times out of 74 plays.
What to expect this time around? I’m not really sure. The Statesmen have a new head coach this year in Kevin DeWall, and have been “Jekyll and Hyde” so far this season. Hobart lost it’s opener 56-7 to Brockport State, and won last week against Morrisville State 62-24. SU Coach Scott Yoder, a football and lacrosse teammate of DeWall at Hobart, thinks the Statesmen will be more balanced this year.
Even so, Hobart was the more physical team last year, especially in the aforementioned second half in Geneva, NY. One of Coach Yoder’s points of emphasis this year has been “physicality”. We’ve seen a more physical Hornet team this year as SU has added 160 and 207 yards rushing respectively in it’s first 2 wins. They will certainly need more of the same this weekend.
The 2003 & 2004 USA South Champion Hornet teams will be honored Saturday at halftime, which should add to the excitement of the evening. Those squads were all about running the football, and I see the Hornets ground game being a factor in a Shenandoah 41-35 win.
So let’s plug in the VCR, and pop in that Olivia Newton John video for inspiration (or not)…and “Let’s Get Physical” on Saturday night!
Until next time, GO HORNETS!