Ryan Brown

SAC Football Week 3 - Business in the Front....

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Better late than never right? Sorry for the lateness of the column, I'll do better next week. Seems pointless to post at this point but I wanna keep my record going and why not? Who hasn't turned in something last minute? I am finally getting caught up with everything over the past two weeks and things are starting to settle down. What is not starting to settle down? The 2012 football season. The real business begins now, which is week three in SAC play and that means it is time for conference play. I've realized in a hurry talking to coaches over the past few weeks that everyone is fighting to win these early non-conference games but the goal is a SAC Championships and for six of the eight league teams, that begins Saturday. Business in the front for six SAC teams, while two still partying back in the non-conference. Here we go!

LINK to SAC Gameday Central (stats,video,audio)

Lenoir-Rhyne (1-1, 0-0 SAC) @ Carson-Newman (1-0, 0-0 SAC)
1 p.m. - Jefferson City, Tenn.
SAC Members Picks = C-N (14) over LRU (5)
Spread = CN (-4.5)
Last meeting (@LRU, 2011) = Lenoir-Rhyne 20 , Carson-Newman 7

After losing to the Eagles for THIRTY straight years, the Bears have taken two in a row in the series, including a 52-14 beat down in Mossy Creek back in 2010. Carson-Newman finally plays their second game of the season after what will end up being 15 days in between games. This is the most intriguing game of the three in SAC play to me based on the sheer unknowns on both sides.

A lot of the score will rest based on what kind of offense comes out for the Bears. We still have no idea what the quarterback situation at Lenoir-Rhyne is going into week three. Ruben Hayes more than likely will be back if the rumors are true that he had a concussion and had to sit out one game. But if not, a first career road start for a freshman will be tough. They haven't been able to throw the ball during the crucial situations that made them so effective last season. The Bear defense has done extremely well against the C-N offense and even though it's been up and down for them so far I expect them to be ready. Both defenses should, playing against an option everyday.

Carson-Newman's offense will look to pick up where they left off from the Glenville St game waaaay back in August. There is no doubt that C-N was impressive but remember back to 2011 when they started with two straight nice wins then was able to score just seven points against the Lenoir-Rhyne defense that is much of the same in 2012. Lost in the game one win this season was how much the Eagle defense struggled in the second half to finish off Glenville. I think they have a ton to prove. Yes I know there were different opponents and situations but at this point of the season, the Eagle offense has been more impressive and that's what you have to go by. Too much experience for the Eagles.

Prediction : Carson-Newman 28, Lenoir-Rhyne 21


Brevard (0-2, 0-0 SAC) @ Mars Hill (0-2, 0-0 SAC)
1 p.m. - Mars Hill, N.C.
SAC Members Picks = MHC (19) over BC (0)
Spread = MHC (-13.5)
Last meeting (@BC, 2011) = Mars Hill 28, Brevard 10

Both teams begin SAC play looking for their first win in 2012. Mars Hill is still technically 0-0 if you're thinking Super Region 2. They are beginning the home portion of their schedule and as mentioned better make it count with only four home games this year. Brevard came up empty in their first two attempts in 2012.

As expected, Mars Hill has seen quality contributions from running back Shaikel Davis and wide receiver Dimitri Holmes but the inconsistency from John Richt will be the story Saturday. I know it was two D1 opponents but 40 percent has to obviously come up if the Lions have dreams of repeating. You have to be impressed with some of the defensive numbers though and thats bad news for Brevard. I think we finally find out a lot about where Mars Hill is this week.

Brevard needs a win in a big way. They have a tough stretch coming up in SAC play and a huge road win will go a long way. As mentioned before, the Tornados have played a majority of the teams in the league close over the past years. Aaron Reese hasn't been effective yet keeping the football in the option but has an uncharacteristic 24 pass attempts in two games. You would imagine he would have to be more effective running the speed option against Mars Hill. The BC defense will have to play well enough to keep the Tornados in this game. Richt is out to get on the right track and Davis and the Lion running game will balance it out and be too much for the Tornados.

Prediction: Mars Hill 31, Brevard 14


UNC Pembroke (1-1, IND) @ Wingate (1-1, 0-0 SAC)
1:30 p.m. - Wingate, N.C.
SAC Members Picks = WU (17) over UNCP (2)
Spread = WU (-6.5)
Last meeting (@UNCP, 2011) = Wingate 29, Pembroke 26 (OT)

This game has turned into one of, if not the best rivalry for both teams. Wingate's only natural rival in the SAC is Newberry just because other six matchup well. Pembroke has Fayetteville St but with the recruiting trails and proximity, this turns out to be just right. The Bulldogs blew out UNCP the first year but since then, the four games have been decided by an average of six points.

Wingate is coming off the must have, bounce back win against Albany. The Bulldogs not only needed a win but to dominate all three phases of the game make it that much better. And when zero SAC members pick you to win one week, then 17 out of 19 pick you next week, you must have been impressive. The offense still has been unable to establish a running game. It didn't matter against the Rams and we will find out if it catches up to them against UNCP. The Bulldog defense gave up their third play over 50 yards vs ASU and must eliminate that this week.

Pembroke is also coming off a bounce back win. They dropped the season opener by just 5 points at Winston-Salem St. and came back to beat Fayetteville St. Luke Charles leads this offense that even with the loss of star tailback Travis Daniels remains well balanced. Pembroke's secondary features a pair of sophomore corners and will have the matchup to watch Saturday with the deep receiver core for the Bulldogs. It looks like a pretty even matchup on paper but whoever protects the ball better and turns red zone chances into TD's instead of FG's wins.

Prediction: None, calling game


North Greenville (0-2, NO CONFERENCE) @ Tusculum (0-2, 0-0 SAC)
6 p.m. - Greenville, Tenn.
SAC Members Picks = TC (17) over NGU (2)
Spread = TC (-10.5)
Last meeting (@NGU, 2011) = North Greenville 27, Tusculum 7

Another matchup between two teams looking for answers. The Pioneers are still trying to put the right pieces in the right places with the new scheme on defense. It looks like they cleary made improvements from week one to two but obviously need more. North Greenville is on the other side of the spectrum and needs offense. No offensive touchdowns against Albany St and just two against Tennessee Tech.

I am certainly not an expert on football but if there was one, they wouldn't need to explain Tusculum. It is very simple on paper to me. They have to protect the football on offense and convert better on third down. Five interceptions and four fumbles through two games isn't going to help an already struggling defense. Third down conversions, (I said it was simple), keeps the defense off the field. On the other side, the TC D has forced six fumbles but only recovered one of them. They will have a chance to make more plays with the also turnover prone Crusaders.

North Greenville is finding out how much they miss Willy Korn and the offensive stars from 2011. One rushing TD and one passing TD is all they have managed so far in two games. I know people may feel this is a chance for them to get it going against the TC defense but I don't see it happening at Pioneer field. The Tusculum offense is as good as anyone in this region and if Urbana and West Georgia struggled at times to stop them, then so will the Crusader D. Interesting note: neither one of these teams have scored in the first quarter and coincidentally neither team has led in 2012. Cordell and company getting an early lead should help finally relieve some pressure off the defense and push them into the win column.

Prediction: Tusculum 42, North Greenville 27


Catawba (2-0, 0-0 SAC) @ Newberry (2-0, 0-0 SAC)
6:30 p.m. - Newberry S.C.
SAC Members Picks = NC (15) over CC (4)
Spread = NC (-6)
Last meeting (@CC, 2011) = Newberry 21 , Catawba 13

The day starts with two undefeated SAC teams taking each other on and it ends with two more under the lights at the graveyard. By the way, where do they get these game times. 6:30? Who comes up with the reasoning for that? Anyways, Newberry is right where we expected after two tough tests, both coming at home. Catawba's first two opponenets had a combined 1-19 record last season so we shouldn't read too much into their 2-0 record.

BJ Sherrill had to be pleased with his first game as starter last Saturday for Catawba. He gets an easy opponent in Livingstone, at home. Perfect situation to go into. This week won't be as easy, having to go on the road to the always tough Setzler field. Sherrill will have a week of taking all of the first team snaps under his belt and we will see how ready he is for the spotlight. WT Murden and the Newberry offense struggled in the little time they had possession but credit to their offense, they got the job done when it counted to beat Shorter.

There is no doubt where this game is won and to me it is the front seven for both defenses. Both have been dominant through two weeks of the year. Both have all-stars all over the place. Newberry wants to wear you down with the run and the talented Catawba d-line will be tested. It will be interesting to see how the play calling ends up for Catawba coach Chip Hester against the tough Newberry defense. Will he give Sherrill chances to go down field and test the Wolves secondary. The fans that enjoy defense will want to tune in for this one. Two stout defenses against two young QB's. Newberry has the homefield advantage and has been tested early in the year and that edge gets them past the Indians.

Prediction: Newberry 24, Catawba 20

Talk to you next week! Thanks for reading.


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Updated 09-14-2012 at 11:44 PM by Ryan Brown

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  1. Cat U Fan's Avatar
    For the record, Catawba's first two opponents won twice as many games last year as recorded on this blog: they were a sizzling 2-20. Livingstone won over start-up program Virginia University of Lynchburg, and West Liberty was likewise 1-10.