Coming off of a historic win for the Panther program, Ferrum this week will board the bus to Maryville, TN. to take on the Scots. It should take very little to get any and all returning Panthers fired up for this game. Maryville was the last game of the season last year, and for a team that started 0-4 in 2010, winning this game would have allowed the Panthers to finish 5-5, and would, more importantly secured a career ending victory for Coach Dave Davis in his final game.
This game turned out to be far tougher than I had anticipated. Ferrum was held to 21 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Mayo was sacked 6 times, and the offense only entered the red zone once all day. Lastly, Ferrum lost two fumbles, and lost the time of possession battle by over 11 minuets.. And this was at home.
For Saturday, Ferrum has to travel to one of the most hostile environments in the conference, to play a team that while winless, will be plenty ready to pick up where they left off last year. Thus far, Maryville has lost to Huntingdon College (3-1...whose only loss came in Double OT) The score was 35-7. They also fell to FCS team Tennessee Tech 56-7. Their most recent loss was to LaGrange College (2-2) as they fell to the Panthers 13-10. LaGrange most recently defeated North Carolina Wesleyan 24-17.
The point in all of this is that Maryville has played some very tough competition, and will bring that experience back home to take on Ferrum.
In looking over some of their statistics, Maryville is averaging over 37 passes a game, and is averaging 179 passing yards per game. There is no doubt they will come out throwing the ball. as adept as they are at throwing, statistics suggest that they are also pretty good at stopping the pass. Ranked second in pass defense in the conference, they are giving up an average of 192 yards per game, but this average has dropped each week. They are also losing about 258 yards on the ground to their opponents. Lastly, they have averaged just over one sack per game.
Maryville has thrown 4 interceptions, and fumbled four times. They have maintained possession on all four fumbles.
So what can Ferrum fans expect for Saturday? If Ferrum comes out with a confident and focused attitude, they should be riding the bus back home celebrating. They cannot however go into this game overconfident. They are facing a team that is hungry for its first win, and remembers what happened at Ferrum last year. They will be looking to take advantage of what some consider a vulnerable pass defense, and will make it tough for Ferrum through the air. Ferrum can win this game, but this team will be different than Bridgewater. I look for Ferrum to be 2-2 after Saturday, but not without a fight.
Keys to a Ferrum win:
Ferrum must be able to establish a running game against the Scots.
They must find weaknesses in the Scotts pass defense, and put up good numbers through the air.
This game will not be won if there are many mistakes. Turnovers and penalties must be kept minimal.
Ferrum must be strong in the red zone.
Since Maryville will look to pass often, Ferrum must get to their quarterback.
Lastly, Ferrum must win the time of possession battle.
This may be a game that could go down to the wire, or it may be a game that Ferrum will dominate. It is hard to say. All I know is that Ferrum needs to look at Maryville as a team that is far better than their 0-3 record.
My predictions for the rest of the USA South... Winners in BOLD
Christopher Newport at METHODIST (I just have a feeling about this game)
NCW at Averett
Greensboro at SHENANDOAH
Finally, last week, I was very busy, and did not get a lot of information posted during the week leading up to the Bridgewater game. I failed to post my predictions, and the Spolight article. Sorry about that. Things should be back on track this week.