After a dismal outcome in the season opener, Urbana University (0-1) will look to rebound in Week 2 against West Virginia State (1-0). The Blue Knights face a tough test in the road opener against the Yellow Jackets, who are coming off a 59-34 triumph over Fairmont State. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. in Institute, West Virginia, at the Monroe Complex at Laken Field.
The Blue Knights have quickly erased any memory of last week’s 49-0 loss to Glenville State. UU head coach Tyler Haines liked the effort he saw from his team in his coaching debut, but quickly moved on to discussing preparations for this week’s matchup.
“We took some time to critique the film, but we are past week one and ready for the game at West Virginia State,” Haines said. “I have no doubt we will bounce back with a better performance and we are very excited for the opportunity to get back on the field this Saturday.”
UU starting quarterback Cale Burdyshaw has been upgraded to probable for Saturday after exiting last week’s game in the second quarter due to injury. He will look to ignite the UU offense after a stagnant performance by the Blue and Grey in the opener. UU totaled just 204 yards on 58 plays, and turned the ball over four times.
A major concern for the Blue Knights heading into the second game is the ability to convert third downs and producing in the red zone. UU went just 3-of-12 on third-down plays and was kept from scoring inside the 20 on all four chances last week.
Burdyshaw and company will have to find ways to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers on the outside.
Wideout Trevon Saunders will pose a threat to the WVSU defense, no matter where the Blue Knights are on the field. Saunders racked up a career-high 101 receiving yards on just four receptions, while connecting on two plays for over 30 yards versus GSC.
Junior Kelly Carter produced 208 all-purpose yards last week, including a kick return of 60 yards. He ranks 18th nationally in all-purpose yards. In addition, senior Karim Jones Jr. is always a big-play threat.
On defense, the Blue Knights need to shore up the secondary. GSC passed for 333 yards and piled up nearly 500 yards of total offense. The senior linebacker corps of D’Gary Wallace and Bo Keener totaled 17.5 tackles last week, and will surely have the Blue Knights motivated and ready to go.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets
West Virginia State is coached by Jon Anderson who is in his third season. Under Anderson, the Yellow Jackets are 3-19 overall and were picked to finish ninth in this year’s MEC preseason poll. WVSU scored over half as many points in its first game (59) as it did all of last season (106). The Yellow Jackets had three players rush for over 80 yards in the game as Tyrone Barber had three rushing touchdowns.
The all-time series between Urbana and West Virginia State is split 1-1. The Blue Knights put up 62 points in a blowout win two years ago at Laken Field. WVSU won a close contest between the two schools last season, 18-13, at UU Stadium.