After a hard fought opening loss, the Panthers had an early rest as the second week of the season served as their open date. I am guessing it was anything but restful. Needing to establish this team as a contender, my guess is that the coaches reviewed the numbers and game film of the Emory and Henry game, and keyed in on areas that needed attention. First and foremost may have been defending the rush. After giving up an uncharacteristic 226 yards rushing to Emory and Henry, I will say its a safe bet that this was "reviewed."
How do the two teams compare?
Bridgewater will come into this Saturday's game with a 2-0 record, and averaging 202 yards a game on the ground. Besides a solid running game, the Eagles will offer up a passing game averaging 170 yards a game which has produced 4 passing TD's.
Passing is not the bread and butter of the Ferrum offense, but it is a viable weapon if utilized. Bridgewater's pass defense has three interceptions in 2 games, but has allowed 363 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in those games. Against the run, the Eagles have given up 396 yards in their 2 games, with the opponent scoring 5 rushing touchdowns. The running game will be key in this game.
From a special teams perspective, Ferrum will hold an edge punting with NCAA statistical champion T.J. Grzeikowski returning for his Junior year and already holding down fifth place in the nation for punting. The kicking game has not attempted a field goal as of yet, but kickoffs and extra points are very strong.
Keys to a Panther win:
1. STOP THE RUN- #20 Tate is averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
2. Minimal penalties. Let them make the mistakes.
3. Control the Red Zone- Keep em out, but if they get in, minimize their effectiveness.
4. Force turnovers and convert Eagle turnovers to points
5. Give Mike Vann at least 15 carries. (While this seems possibly too specific a key, Vann was the leading rusher last year, and was the VASID Rookie of the year in 2007. He is a major weapon, and must get more carries. He only had three carries in game 1.)
6. Get to the Quarterback! He is completing 53% of his passes.Play their receivers close enough to avoid the underneath short routes. Get one interception....or more.
7. Control Time of Possession...If they don't have the ball, they cannot score.
Ferrum, this can be a big win, and I anticipate it to go down to the wire, much like the Emory and Henry game. You need to have the ball at the end, and be in a position to score. Field Goal Unit , get ready! Put it to 'em Panthers!
In O.T? Maybe.....