Prior to beginning the game preview, I think I will do a little highlight review of the past year or so.
>August 14th 2010- Coach Dave Davis announces his intention to retire from coaching
>October 2nd 2010- Ferrum breaks ground on the 5.5 million dollar Hank Norton Athletic Center
>October 14th 2010- Ferrum posts announcement for new Head Football Coach
>November 13th 2010- Ferrum ends season with loss to Maryville- Davis Era ends
>December 9th 2010- David Harper named new Head Football Coach
>January 24th 2011- College advertises for new assistant coach (offensive coordinator)
>January 31st 2011- Blog article> Ferrum to play Hampden-Sydney College
>February 10th 2011- Ferrum releases 2011 football schedule
>March 14th 2011- Sources confirm the hiring of Ralph Isernia as the new Offensive Coordinator
>June 3rd 2011- LaGrange, and Piedmont College to join the USA South- Maryville to become full time member
>July 16th 2011- USA South Media Day. Coaches look for CNU to win conference title.
>August 24th 2011- Chris Warren returns to the Panther sidelines
>September 24th 2011- Panthers notch Harper his first win 37-6 over Bridgewater
>October 29th 2011- Panthers get sixth consecutive win. Defeat Shenandoah on the road. Await CNU for conference title.
What an amazing time in the history of Ferrum football. Ferrum right now has something that 6 other teams in the conference do not have.... A chance. A chance to secure one more win this Saturday, and to advance to the NCAA playoffs! It has been a good year for Ferrum no matter the outcome of Saturdays game, but the outcome is what everyone is focused on. A win Saturday would put Ferrum in the playoffs for the first time since 2005. It would give Ferrum at least a share of, and possibly the outright conference title. It would also cap off a perfectly excellent season for the team, and Coach Harper. A win would also give the Seniors something that they have never seen...a win over CNU.
A win, as badly as it is wanted, will not come easy. Christopher Newport is a strong and physical team. They have size on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and their offensive backfield is filled with talent. Evan Moog,
Markeese Stovall, and Marcus Morrast have all be very valuable to the Captains ground attack.
The passing game for CNU has a big question mark as it is not known if Garner can play after being injured against Greensboro. If he cannot go, look for Junior Aaron Edwards to step up. In his fill in roll at Greensboro, he was 6 of 7 for 39 yards.
CNU, while primarily a running team, will throw the ball. Look for the routes to be mostly of the short underneath variety, but they will go deep without warning (Remember the first play of the second half in 2010?) Lastly it is important to note that the Captains have the No.1 ranked field goal kicker in the nation. Stephen Denuel is 14 of 16 on the season.
Ferrum will counter with a defense that has been spectacular this season. They are ranked 24th in the nation against the run, and overall the Panther defense is ranked 32nd in the nation. The secondary is having a strong year also. as their pass efficiency defense is ranked first in the conference, and 24th in the nation.
On offense, Ferrum is very solid. Led by Marcus Mayo, Ferrum's rushing offense is ranked 17th in the nation, and overall, the offense has a rank of 56th in the nation.
Dontavious Gilbert, and a whole host of running backs will look to keep the Captains defense on its heels.
Keys to a Panther Championship
Relax. You are playing at home, in front of avid supporters. Have fun!
Stop Stovall. He is the key to the Captains offense.
Pressure the quarterback. They will try to exploit the pass defense. DB's and Safeties...Be ready.
CNU is very well coached at stopping the option. They were very effective against Salisbury. Be ready to pass.
Kentel Noel is a very dangerous punt returner....We got one of those too.
Keep penalties down to a bare minimum. Play disciplined football.
Work hard in the red zone, and even though this team does not turn the ball over often, be ready for some Saturday. Convert any and all turnovers.
Lastly, the defense must be ready for quick strikes, and trick plays....at least one.
Ferrum can win this game, and I have seen predictions that give Ferrum a win by 20, and one that gives CNU a win by 25.
For me, I think it is Ferrum's turn. I really think that they have come too far, and are really executing too well, for this to turn out any way but a win.
I look for Ferrum to be the USA South representative in the playoffs.
As for the rest of the conference.....
NCW @ Methodist
SHENANDOAH @ Averett
Greensboro @ MARYVILLE
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