The word of the week is ‘finish’ for the Urbana University football team as it looks to bounce back from a pair of three-point losses to begin the season. The Blue Knights play at winless Lake Erie College at Saturday at 3 p.m. in a non-conference tilt at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium in Painesville, Ohio.
UU (0-2, 0-2 MEC) held a last-minute possession with a chance for victory in each of the past two weeks, but let the game slip away in both instances. Head coach Tyler Haines has a young team, but with 10 games decided by single digits since 2015, UU grasps the importance of playing until the final whistle.
Under Haines, UU is 2-0 in non-conference games including a wild 33-30 win at Lake Erie two years ago.
In that game, UU trailed by two at halftime and closed out the contest by scoring on three of its final five possessions. The Blue Knights racked up 424 yards of offense with 218 coming on the ground and did not turn the ball over. It was the last time a UU running back ran for 100 yards with Deonta Rudasill (110 yards) and Cedric Presley (61 yards, 2 TD) leading the way.
Success running the ball is key for the Blue Knights, who hold a 16-3 record since 2010 when they run for 200 or more yards.
Sophomore Maurice Warren Jr. (74.5 yards/game) leads the rushing attack in his first season on the field with dual-threat quarterback Tajuan Green providing additional pressure on opposing defenses. The senior signal-caller ran for a career-high 104 yards in the season opener, and has now rushed for over 400 yards in his Blue Knight career.
Green will be targeting wideout Tre Saunders on Saturday, who caught six balls for 127 yards and a score last week. The senior from Columbus has caught a touchdown in 17 of the past 24 games and needs five more to break the UU all-time career record of 30.
The UU defense impressed on opening night and showed more signs of dominance last week after holding Fairmont State 0 for 11 on third-down conversions. The Blue Knights are ranked 49th in total defense and lead the MEC in sacks (3.5).
Linebacker Duray Hall leads the group of eight returning starters and ranks third in Division II for most solo tackles through two games (19). The sophomore already has two sacks and two fumble recoveries.