Urbana University’s football team (1-1, 1-1 MEC) returns home to UU Stadium this week for a Mountain East Conference matchup with No. 21 Concord (1-1, 1-1 MEC).
Fresh off a dramatic, last-minute comeback win at West Virginia State, the Blue Knights are looking to sustain their emotional high as they prepare for the Mountain Lions, who were voted the league’s preseason favorite and are coming off a 27-10 win over Fairmont State.
WHAT TO EXPECT
UU is still seeking to find its identity under first-year head coach Tyler Haines. After getting thrashed in the opener, the Blue Knights responded well in Week 2 at WVSU, the first win for Haines, with 30 points and nearly 400 yards on offense.
Concord poses a major challenge, but look for the Blue Knights to come out aggressively in search of redemption in front of the home crowd. The early Saturday contest is sure to feature energy and hard-hitting action, as both sides look to push their records past .500 on the season.
UU ON OFFENSE
Quarterback Cale Burdyshaw returned last week after getting knocked out of the season opener due to injury. In his return, Burdyshaw completed 16-of-34 attempts through the air with 290 passing yards and two touchdowns. He did fall victim to two interceptions, but came up clutch with three third-down conversions during the game-winning drive that ended with a 38-yard TD pass.
Wide receiver Trevon Saunders, who hauled in the game-winning TD last week, spearheads the UU attack. The sophomore is second in the league in all-purpose yards averaging 202.0 per game, while eclipsing 100 yards receiving in both games this season.
Against the Yellow Jackets, Saunders set a career-high total in receiving yardage (4-153) for the second straight week. The speedy sophomore has transformed into a big-play threat for the Blue Knights with half of his catches on the season going for over 30 yards.
UU’s ground game has struggled through two games. Starting running back Ben Sasu found the end zone last week for his first score in Blue and Grey, but is averaging under two yards per carry. Seniors Deonta Rudasill (one TD) and Cedric Presley are also still looking to make an impression.
UU ON DEFENSE
Linebackers D’Gary Wallace and Kevin Chapple are both coming off career performances. Wallace set an MEC record with 20 total tackles at WVSU and leads the conference in the same category. His 20 stops were the fifth-most ever by a Blue Knight in single game.
Chapple earned D2Football.com and MEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after totaling 12 tackles and five for a loss. The junior recorded two sacks, two pass breakups and two quarterback hurries. He also scooped up a fumble and returned it 24 yards, setting up UU’s opening touchdown.
In addition, senior linebacker Bo Keener has been solid through two games and ranks second behind Wallace with 25 total tackles.
The Blue Knights enter Week 3 ranked seventh in total defense (435.0 yds/gm) and tied for fourth in sacks (five).
The Mountain Lions are ranked third in the MEC for total defense, allowing just 327.5 yards per game. On offense, Concord is averaging nearly the same amount of yardage (327.0) as opponents and is two spots ahead of UU. After being held under 30 points just twice all of last season, Concord has not broken 30 points in each of its first two games this year.
Concord was upset in the season opener 29-28 at West Liberty. Last week, the Mountain Lions defeated Fairmont State at home, 27-10.