The Panthers return home after a hard fought loss to Christopher Newport. Ferrum, while their record does not reflect it, has really made huge strides in the last two weeks. On both sides of the ball, Ferrum is developing quickly.
Defensively, Ferrum has shown solid improvement. In game 1 against Emory and Henry, Ferrum gave up 223 rushing yards to the Wasps, and 329 through the air. Losing that game 41-12, Ferrum looked fairly porous defensively, and stagnant offensively. After game two, I became concerned that The Ferrum D line would be struggling most of the season. In that game, Ferrum gave up 420 rushing yards, and 45 points, falling to the Hornets 45-20. Ironically, in both of the first two games, Ferrum gave up 552 yards to the Emory and Henry, and 552 yards to Shenandoah.
In game three, Ferrum was back home for homecoming, and initially in this game, the offense looked better taking an early lead, 6-0. As it turned out, North Carolina Wesleyan had a running back that was All American caliber, and he ad a field day the first half against Ferrum, scoring three touchdowns.In that first half, he had 132 yards rushing.
In the second half, it was as if a light switch came on for the Panthers, and both offensively and defensively they settled into a solid performance. Trailing 27-14 at half time, Ferrum came back to lead 30-27. This is important due to the fact that That second half is where Ferrum began to click.
Against CNU, Ferrum's defense picked right back up where they left off, and for much of the night stymied the Captains offensive efforts.Mistakes proved costly in that game, but this was the most consistent effort I have seen against a CNU team since I started writing the blog in 2008.
In today's game. Maryville will present a tough game plan. Statistically, they run the ball twice as often as they pass. They are averaging just over 288 yards per game on the ground. Expect the Scots to work the interior of the line with their running game, much like Shenandoah. I think they will find the going tough against a much improved Panther defense. The Scots are not afraid to put it up, and are averaging 140 yards per game through the air.
On the offensive side of the ball, look for Ferrum to work the edges, but to possibly put the ball in the air more, depending on several factors, including the field conditions. I expect this one could go to the wire, but I look for Ferrum to pull the upset as time expires.