On Saturday, Ferrum evened its record to 2-2. It was a year ago today that Ferrum hosted North Carolina Wesleyan, and broke ground on the Hank Norton Athletic Center. After a disappointing loss to the Bishops, Ferrum found themselves at 0-4, and looking at a difficult road to contend for the USA South title.
Fast forward one year, and look at where the Panthers are now. After a loss to a very good Emory and Henry team, Ferrum traveled to then #23 Hampden-Sydney, and lost 38-14. It was that game, in my opinion, that really turned things around for Ferrum. I saw a lot of promise in their losing effort that day. They seemed to grow from that game, and I think they realized that they could get off the canvas after being knocked down. The next week, Ferrum defeated a talented Bridgewater team 37-6. This margin of victory caught me and likely many Bridgewater fans off guard, but the defensive effort was especially a surprise.
Yesterday, Ferrum, again on the road, took their momentum to Maryville, and came away with a 27-3 win over an 0-4 Maryville team. Ferrum dominated this game right out of the gate, and while Maryville from time to time had bright spots, Ferrum played solid on both sides of the ball for sixty minuets.
Some of the statistics read like this:
Ferrum had 12 more first downs (20-8)
Ferrum had 327 yards rushing, and Maryville had 21
Ferrum had 122 yards through the air, and Maryville had 80.
Ferrum was 3 of 4 in the red zone (75%. Anything over 70% is where a team wants to be)
Big shout out to Dontavious Gilbert as he had 145 all purpose yards and scored one touchdown.
Defensively, Ferrum seems to have really stepped it up. In the last two games, Ferrum has not allowed a touchdown. They have been totally dominant on the front line, and the Ferrum rush defense, going into yesterday was ranked 2nd in the conference (behind Methodist), and 113th in the nation. After yesterday, I look for them to move up both in the conference and nationally.
To date, I am very impressed with the play of Freshman Josh Oliver. Oliver has 17 tackles, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups. Tackles however are led by Senior Tremaine Whitney with 27, and Senior Delano Hall, also with 27.
The pass defense,which has typically been thought of as Ferrum's Achilles heel, has really come into its own, and is proving to be a very solid unit. It moved up 14 places nationally after the Bridgewater game, but is ranked 8th in the conference. Last year after four games, Ferrum had intercepted the opposition 3 times. This year the Panthers have 5. Ferrum has 1493 total yards of offense. this is over 360 more yards than at the same time last year.
This team, is like a car. I think of the Offensive line as the transmission, engine and frame of the car. The quarterback is the on board computer, sending signals to the other components, and the backs and receivers are the wheels, getting the car where it needs to be. Not to leave the coaches out, they to me are the mechanics, tinkering with car, trying to get it to perform at its best. While it is fun to make analogies between the offense and the car, it strikes me as difficult to make like analogies for the defense. Well it may not be so tough after all.... If the offense is a car, the defense must be a toll booth. You may try to drive through a toll booth, but you are gonna pay.
Great game Panthers...Keep it up!