Ryan Brown

Week 2 SAC Column

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Truly sorry for lack of column last week. As any SID/broadcaster will tell you and some of you know, the first week or so of the new year is a mess. Even without a football game to work, I still was crushed with things going on last week. I also had some personal responsibilities to attend to and just didn't get the column finished. Back in the saddle though and ready for the season.

Here we go!

Games in order of time

Florida Tech (1-0) at Newberry (1-0)
1 p.m. – Newberry, S.C.

Newberry heads home for their first game at the graveyard in 2013 after a quality win at ECSU. Florida Tech started their program off with a win against D1 non-scholarship Stetson. Will be a good test for the Panthers against a Wolves team that always plays well in the SC heat at Setzler field.

The Wolves ran wild at ECSU and you have to expect them to keep the same strategy Saturday. Quarterback WT Murden was selected preseason All-SAC but didn’t find the endzone last week in the air, throwing two picks. Florida Tech will undoubtedly attempt to stop the run and force Murden to go back to the air. I expect Murden to have much better of an afternoon and lead Newberry to a win. NC is always strong in their front seven and if they can control the battle of the bigs, should have their way. The Wolves also had 8 penalties and were under 40% on third down. Both things you sometimes expect on the opening day. Florida Tech has a solid kicking game and must come up with big plays, like ECSU did to stay in the game. I think Florida Tech will be stout two seasons from now but Newberry will be too much on Saturday. Even though they have been accustomed to turn in a head scratcher of a game sometimes early in the season, I don't this its against FIT.

Prediction: Newberry 31, Florida Tech 13

Saint Augustine’s (0-1) at Wingate (0-0)
1:30 p.m. – Wingate, N.C.

The Bulldogs finally get their 2013 season underway with part two of their home and away with St. Aug’s. Wingate is the only SAC team in 2013 with a bye week and that has passes so all eight teams in action each week from here on out. Music to my ears. The Falcons lost in double OT last week to NC Central. Wingate opened up last year at St Augs in 100 degree heat, losing 28-10.

Wingate started that game last year with a first year quarterback in Robbie Nallenweg but a veteran wide receiver group. But gone is Wingate’s top two wide receivers and it will start four WR’s with zero combined starts. Nallenweg leading them through Saturday will be a huge key for Wingate. The Bulldogs also struggled at times to run the ball last season and will need to help balance out the offense to keep pressure off the air game. The Dogs will also rely on seven new starters on defense. St Aug’s defense is led by all-CIAA linebacker Chaz Robinson, who had 19 tackles last week against NCCU. Turnovers will be huge on Saturday. Wingate is as young of a team in the entire region and must protect the ball against a big and fast SAU defense. Saint Augustine’s has a game under their belt but doesn’t know much about the Dogs. Wingate got a chance to see the 2013 Falcons but doesn’t have the first game out of the way. We will find out Saturday which advantage works out better.

Prediction: None (Calling game)

Elizabeth City St. (0-1) at Tusculum (1-0)
1:30 p.m. – Greenville, Tenn.

Tusculum welcomes in the aforementioned Elizabeth City to town for the second CIAA/SAC matchup of the week. We really don’t know anything about the Pioneers until they take the field against the Vikings. Playing College of Faith is fine and it’s a win but you can’t get a read on the 2013 Pioneers just yet.

Based on the numbers, EC defended the pass well against Newberry but really struggled against the run. With Bo Cordell and the TC offense, we know what to expect. The Pioneers really put on a stress on running the ball late in the season last year. So much that they averaged 40 carries per game over the last three games. We will get a good look at what direction Coach DeBusk goes coming up on Saturday. Like Wingate, the Pioneers must establish some kind of running game to help the passing attack. Viking quarterback Casey Turner can air it out with the best of them, throwing for 374 and 2 scores against Newberry. You can expect a lot of points in Greenville Saturday. Two really good quarterbacks spreading it out. Which defense makes enough plays to slow down the gunslingers? Which offense can establish some kind of running game? I’ve been going back and forth on this game all week but I really think the TC defense will be as improved of a unit as the SAC has this year and helps the Pioneers move to 2-0.

Prediction : Tusculum 42, ECSU 38

Carson-Newman (1-0) at Colorado Mines (1-0)
2 p.m. – Golden, Colo.

No one is riding higher than Carson-Newman after the first week. They hammered a Wayne State program two years removed from national title game but definitely not the powerhouse they once were. The Eagles are up to #11 in the country and on their way out west. The Orediggers (I know) plastered South Dakota Mines 72-6, tying a D2 record with FORTY TWO first downs. Carson-Newman had 27 in their win. The Orediggers also had 727 yards of offense but this is a totally different week and a different beast.

The Eagles flew in Thursday and will have an entire day to work on time change and altitude difference. I really don’t believe much into the theory that it will effect C-N. I’ve never been in the position but plenty of teams have gone into Golden and won. This will be a great test for the Eagle secondary. Colorado Mines quarterback threw for 401 last week and was the leading rusher for 72 yards. Expect Mines to air it out early and often. As we know, Carson-Newman will also air it out some turning their veer offense into a much tougher task to game plan against. If Colorado Mines can't move the football and keep the Eagle offense off the field, then its gonna be a long day. Wayne St had eight months to prep for the veer and completely whiffed. While I expect Mines to put up some points on offense, I don’t expect their defense to control the Eagle offense enough to win the game. C-N becomes third SAC team to go 2-0.

Prediction : Carson-Newman 41, Colorado Mines 21

Brevard (0-1) at College of Faith (0-1)
4 p.m. – Charlotte, N.C.

Knock yourself out Tornados. A trip to Mossy Creek awaits.

Prediction : Brevard 56, College of Faith 3

Catawba (1-0) at Livingstone (0-1)
6 p.m. - Salisbury, N.C.

Catawba opened up the Curtis Walker and Danny O'Brien era by squeaking out a 10-9 win over West Liberty. Catawba failed to put up any points in the second half at home but found a way to win and thats all that matters. For now. They get crosstown "rival" Livingstone on Saturday. I say rival lightly because CATU leads the all-time series 13-0.

The Indians had an interesting stat sheet to score just once. They ran the wall pretty well with three backs and O'Brien had a solid first start. Wideout Nate Charest caught 9 for 111 but no other wide receiver had more than two catches. Will see if they can get more guys involved this week in what should be another win. I also look to see if Coach Walker will settle on a feature tailback or continue to work three in each game. They only averaged 5.6 yards per catch, a number that must go up to mix in some big play opportunities. Catawba's defense won the game for them on Saturday with their efforts in the redzone. The Hilltoppers made three trips inside the 20 and had to settle for field goals all three times, costing them a win. Catawba becomes fourth SAC team to 2-0 and sets up fun matchup with Newberry next week.

Prediction: Catawba 31, Livingstone 7

Lenoir-Rhyne (0-1) at Davidson (0-1)
7 p.m. – Davidson, N.C.

The Bears are coming off the disappointing loss at home to open up their 2013 season, effectively dropping them out of the top 25. LRU has been here before early in the season and still gone out and had a great year. D1 non-scholarship Davidson was wiped out at Georgetown in their first game of the year.

As I mentioned, the Bear defense played pretty well. They forced 5, 3-and-outs, which was the most during week one in the SAC. But the offense suffered four of their own, also the most in week one, making the offense and Miles Freeman easily the most watched unit this week. No touchdowns for 59:50 of last weeks game and a chance to take out frustration on the Wildcats. How much progress can be made in five days of practice? There is no doubt how much talent they have in the backfield with Spears, Duncan and Whitaker. It's up to Freeman and the o-line to put them in the position to succeed. The Wildcats were down just 7-6 to G-town before the wheels came off. This series has gone to the home team the past three seasons but not Saturday. The LR offense will be better and their defense will dominate like they did a year ago in Hickory. Not a blowout, but enough to get the Bears back to .500.

Prediction: Lenoir-Rhyne 27, Davidson 7

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Updated 09-13-2013 at 09:51 PM by Ryan Brown

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  1. Cat U Fan's Avatar
    No score prediction for Catawba / Livingstone?