Ferrum looks to build on last weeks win over Methodist as the Greensboro Pride come to Adams Field this week for a 1:00 kickoff. Over the past several years, this has been almost a "gimme" to use a golf term. Ferrum has dominated Greensboro, as these teams have represented opposite ends of the "strength" spectrum in the USA South. Looking at this weeks game, one may wonder why this year may be different? While their record is not glowing, Greensboro is playing a different and more consistent brand of football. They are under a new cooach, and while first year coaches usually require time to get the players acclimated to a new system, this does not seem to be impeding progress at GC.
With two wins so far in the season, Greensboro is already ahead of where I thought they would be by seasons end. They move the ball with an aggressive passing game, and their quarterback has thrown for more yardage than any other quarterback in the schools history. Let's look at some numbers to get a better idea of where the Pride's strength really is.
In the running department, Ferrum can be expected to dominate. Ferrum had more rushing yards in last weeks game against Methodist, than the Pride has thus far this season. Greensboro is allowing opponents an average of 190 yards per game. In scoring, Ferrum has a huge edge here as the Panthers are averaging 31.8 points per game, and the Pride is averaging only 16.4 ppg. It is the passing game that will be the Pride's offensive weapon of choice. The Pride QB has thrown 10 TD passes, and is averaging 238 passing yards per game. By contrast, Ferrum is allowing an average of 243 yards per game. If there is a chance to keep this game close, it will be with their passing game. They will throw often, and have some capable receivers. For the season, the QB is 92 of 178 with 8 interceptions, and 10 TD's That's a completion percentage of 51%.
Opponents for the year are 91 of 152 with four interceptions and 11 TD's against the Panthers.
Greensboro will try to strike early and often through the air.
Keys to a Panther Victory-
Ferrum should be prepared to stay busy in the secondary. They will take what you give them. They will work to develop a routine of throwing underneath, and then look to go long. They have speed at the receiver position and will go to the well many times.
Control the game by running the ball. It is imperative that the time of possession be dominated by Ferrum.
Win the turnover game. Ferrum has had 12 fumbles this season, losing 5 of these. Greensboro has had only nine fumbles, losing just three. Take care of the ball on offense, and force them to fumble on defense. Convert turnovers into points.
Pressure the quarterback when possible. Do whatever it takes to disrupt his timing.
Lastly, Greensboro is succeeding 45% of the time on 4th down conversion attempts. They have a strong punter, but are not afraid to go for it on fourth down.
If Greensboro is to keep this game close, they will do it through the air. They will have a difficult time defending the option attack, and will utilize their passing strength to compete. While I see improvements in the Greensboro team, I don't think this year will be any different. Ferrum should dominate.