MONDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2011
JU puts home win streak on the line
A classic matchup of top offensive and defensive units is on tap this week as Morehead State’s Eagles swoop into town for a key Pioneer Football League matchup.
The Dolphins (4-2, 3-0) are trying to protect the longest home winning streak in the Football Championship Series as they have taken the last 11 at D. B. Milne Field. Additionally, a JU win will tie them with San Diego for the all-time longest PFL win streak at 15.
For JU, the pressure clearly will be on the secondary as Morehead (2-4, 1-2) brings the FCS’ top rated passing game to town to square up against the Dolphins’ fifth-ranked nationally pass defense.
Eagles’ quarterback Zach Lewis is connecting on a 65.8 percent clip and has 1,963 yards passing and 15 touchdowns this season. The 383.5 yards MSU averages is the best in all of FCS and they are second in total offense at 508.83 yards per game.
Running back Desmond Cox leads the rushing game with 518 yards and Lewis spreads the ball around in the air. He has five receivers with 20 catches or more led by Kevin Thomas who has 32 receptions for 336 yards and three touchdowns and Donte Sawyer who has 26 catches for 465 yards and five TDs.
“Lewis is a good player, accurate and throws a real nice ball,’’ JU secondary coach Danny Verpale said. “Their wide receivers make plays and work hard to get open. We have a good challenge ahead of us this week in the secondary.’’
The secondary is led by a pair of seniors at safety, Leonard Smith and Lacy McDougald and underclassmen at corner back with the speedy junior Colby Walden and sophomore Andre Addison seeing the bulk of the work. Sophomore Schon Thomas is expected to see plenty of action as the team lost safety Andy Sainvil to a knee injury last week.
The group is the fifth-rated pass defense in FCS giving up only 143.6 yards per game and picking off four passes so far. Addison intercepted a pass in last week’s 34-26 win over Dayton and returned it 41 yards.
Kickoff is set Saturday for 1 p.m. and the game can be seen on CW-17 with Cole Pepper and Joel Lamp announcing and can be heard on 1010XL and 1010XL.com with Terry Norvelle doing play by play. On the radio side, the Bono’s Barbeque Pregame Show begins at 12:30 p.m.
-- Jim Nasella