SU Football Week 5: ODAC Play Begins
Greetings from The Booth!
Wow, what a great time to be a sports fan! College football is in full swing, while Major League Baseball heads into the postseason (without the Nationals, but that’s another story entirely) with some races still to be decided on this final weekend of the regular season. The NFL begins Week 4, and the Ryder Cup takes place outside Paris, France this weekend.
I love the Ryder Cup! The tension and drama are palatable as the world’s best players look like you and me standing over 5-foot putts on our Sunday rounds with $2 on the line. This year’s American team reminds me of the Michael Jordan USA “Dream Team” in basketball back in the day. On paper, the Americans will be heavily-favored, but the Europeans are hard to beat on their own turf, especially when the fans start singing and chanting. We’ll see how some of the newer USA players deal with that.
On to this week’s Shenandoah University football preview. After a week off to reflect and put the Hobart loss in the rear view mirror, the Hornets are preparing for the newest ODAC member, Ferrum. SU and Ferrum are no strangers, having met every year (except last year) since Shenandoah started up football again in 2000. It was also the Panthers who ended the previous era of Shenandoah football in 1967 with a 80-6 win over the Hornets.
At this point we probably need to thank Greensboro College, as Ferrum hung an 81-0 win on the Pride last week, and in the process taking SU’s name off the Ferrum record books.
At any rate, Ferrum will come into Shentel Stadium brimming with confidence after their historic win, and a 2-1 start. The Panthers boast the ODAC Offensive Player of the Week in QB Zack Clifford and two-time All-USA South running back Brian Mann, who in 3 games has 489 yards rushing.
The Hornets “ain’t too shabby” in the offense department, either. The ridiculous numbers keep piling up for QB Hayden Bauserman, who has thrown for almost 1100 yards, with 15 touchdown passes against only one interception. The SU running game has been a nice addition in the first 3 games, adding almost 160 yards to the potent passing attack. This year, when defenses have dared the Hornets to run (Hobart sometimes used only 2 down-linemen in their defensive looks), they simply say “ok.”
The key for me this week will be the performance of the Shenandoah defense, a unit that gave up 500 yards and too many big plays to Hobart.
The Hornets must find a way to shut down Mann, and make the Panthers one-dimensional. Despite the accolades for Clifford, I’ll take “number 8” in a Bauserman-Clifford quarterback duel any day.
Ferrum, already having played and lost a league game, will be desperate for a win. Starting 0-2 in the ODAC is a big hole to climb out of. Meanwhile, the Hornets know that a 1-0 league start is key to being in the championship conversation in late October and early November.
I look for a (surprise) high scoring affair but unfortunately for Ferrum, Shenandoah is not Greensboro. The Hornets will not be held to minus-11 yards. Too many weapons, in a 52-30 SU win at Sunny Shentel.
That’s the way I see it from The Booth! Enjoy your weekend, hope to see you at the game, and…