As the first three games have been completed, Ferrum needs to focus their energy on the upcoming North Carolina Wesleyan game. The defending conference champion is a force to be reckoned with, but is not the same team as last year. I predicted that they would win the conference, but they have lost a lot of players to graduation, and have had to rebuild their offensive line totally. They are also working with a new quarterback this year, and so far they have a 1-2 record. While this may seem encouraging, their two losses came at the hands of Salisbury, and # 27 Hampden-Sydney. The Battling Bishops lost these games by a combined total of 8 points.
Here is what I know about the Bishops. They are ranked in the top 100 in the country in eight categories.
Passing Offense: 49th in the nation, 1st in the conference.
Pass Efficiency Defense: 23rd in the Nation, 1st in the conference.
Scoring Defense: 73rd in the nation, 2nd in the conference.
Net Punting: 96th in the nation, 3rd in the conference.
Turnover Margin: 69th in the nation, 1st in the conference.
Pass Defense: 96th in the nation, 3rd in the conference
Tackles for Loss: 4th in the nation, 1st in the conference
Sacks Allowed: 50th in the nation, 1st in the conference.
At first glance it would appear that this team is quite solid, and I would agree...but while they have played well, they can be beaten, and It is quite possible that Ferrum can do this.
Ferrum's numbers look like this:
Rushing Offense is ranked 76th in the nation, and 1st in the conference. This is somewhat of a misleading national ranking as their efforts were hampered by various offensive injuries in their last game.
Punt Returns: Ferrum is ranked 13th in the nation, and 1st in the conference.
Sacks: Ferrum is 51st in the nation and is 2nd in the conference.
Net Punting: Ferrum is ranked 43rd in the nation, and second in the conference.
Punting : T.J. Grzeikowski is ranked 5th in the nation, and first in the conference.
Ferrum will have a big task in front of them to win, but it is not impossible. This is an important game, and will give Ferrum a chance to stake their claim to the conference championship.
Keys to a Panther victory:
Control time of possession.- If they do not have the ball they cannot score.
Pressure the quarterback. This will be a tough match-up as the Bishops are excellent at preventing sacks, but Ferrum has shown this to be a strength.
Utilize the running game to the fullest. This is where Ferrum can out shine the Bishops.
Touchdowns in the Red Zone. Visits to the Red Zone have to result in touchdowns. 6 points needs to be the goal.
Pass Defense- The pressure is on. While there were really solid numbers posted the first two games, the secondary took its lumps against Bridgewater. The bad news about that is Bridgewater is ranked 125th in passing offense. NCW is 49th. Look for this team to rely on the pass. Get ready for another areial assualt.
This will not be easy, but Ferrum can win if they execute, and stop the pass. They MUST stop the pass.
North Carolina Wesleyan 37