The Wasps come into the 2009 season with reasons to be optimistic about their chances in the ODAC. Voted to finish second by the ODAC coaches, Emory and Henry comes off of a season that saw them finish in a 4 way tie for first place, and are looking to take the championship for themselves this year.With two returning All Americans in RB Caleb Jennings, and LB Evin O'Sullivan, the Wasps will be a strong opponent for Ferrum.
Last year was a tale of two halves for the Panthers. Trailing at halftime 13-6, and 20-6 at the end of the third quarter, Ferrum made a strong bid in the fourth quarter, but came up short 26-21. The Wasps exploited a young secondary, and scored three touchdowns through the air. Turnovers limited the Panthers chances as Ferrum had three fumbles on the day (losing two), and threw two interceptions. Lastly Ferrum had 10 penalties for 92 yards. While Ferrum lead in most statistical categories, they did not lead in time of possession, and gave up 3 of 4 touchdowns through the air.
Ferrum has the talent to win this game, but needs to not play catch up. Turnovers need to be eliminated, and Ferrum must improve on pass defense, to include more pressure on the QB. Ferrum did not record a sack last year against the Wasps.
Penalties have to be kept to a minimum. Nothing can be given away. Special Teams will be crucial as every scoring attempt must be capitalized on. Lastly the mind set of takeaway and score must be paramount.When Ferrum is the beneficiary of a turnover, they MUST convert that good fortune to points. Time of possession is important, but it is far more important to make that possession productive.
Keys to a Panther Win
Must capitalize every time E&H turns the ball over. Takeaway and Score
Must pressure and sack the QB, and play aggressively in the secondary.
Special Team execution- No missed scoring opportunities
Score First- Set the Tone!
Like last year, I think this will be a close game. E&H is recognized as one of the stronger teams in the ODAC, and received votes in the D3.com top 25 preseason poll. Playing on the road will present a challenge, but Ferrum is a more talented team than people realize, and I think will surprise a lot of people. The Panthers can win this game with sound fundamentals....emphasis on mental.