Blue Knights play at Charleston tonight


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The Urbana University football team (3-1, 2-1 MEC) travels to the University of Charleston (4-0, 4-0 MEC) for tonight’s Mountain East Conference Game of the Week. Kickoff is slated for 7:10 p.m. at UC Stadium and the contest will air live on the West Virginia MetroNews Network.

UU has never started 4-1 in football during the Division II era (2010) and has only started the season with four wins in the first five games of a season on three occasions, ever. That happened in consecutive seasons from 2005 to 2007.

UU is coming off a 42-10 thrashing of West Virginia Wesleyan, where the defense limited the Bobcats to negative-three yards rushing, scored a fumble return touchdown and recorded five sacks. Junior Mikal Toliver was named MEC Defensive Player of the Week after producing a career-high eight tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The 5-foot-11 defensive end leads the nation in tackles for loss (10.5) and is tied for second in sacks (6).

Tonight’s matchup will feature some of the top offensive and defensive line units in the conference. UU’s offensive line, led by senior center Doug Hardin, has allowed the fewest sacks in MEC with only two on the year. The UU front five also led the Blue Knights to a season-high 257 yards and four rushing touchdowns last week.

However, the UC defensive front features unrivaled size and speed, led by senior DT John Cominsky (6-5, 275) and senior LB Kahzin Daniels (6-4, 240). Daniels, who is tied with UU’s Toliver with six sacks, posted a pair of sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss in last year’s meeting between the two teams. Cominsky had 10 total tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.

UU is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game in the MEC with opponents gaining 95 yards per contest while UC is ranked third with 107.8. However, the Golden Eagles feature the second-best rushing offense at 222 yards per outing while the Blue Knights are third with 186 yards per game.

UU will be looking for its first road win of the season and enters the matchup with a 7-11 ledger in away games under head coach Tyler Haines. The Blue Knights are 2-1 all-time in games played against the Golden Eagles in Charleston.

Under eighth-year head coach Pat Kirkland, the Golden Eagles are coming off a 23-17 road victory over Fairmont State last Thursday. UC led 23-3 at halftime and held on to beat the Fighting Falcons to move into a first-place tie with Notre Dame College. The Golden Eagles average 31 points per game while surrendering a conference-low 19 points per contest through four games.

SERIES HISTORY

UU leads the all-time series with UC, 4-3, after a 25-21 win last season in the first-ever football night game at UU Stadium. The Blue Knights had seven takeaways in that contest and led 25-0 in the fourth quarter. In the last meeting at UC Stadium, UU overcame a fourth-quarter, 10-point deficit to claim a one-point victory, 35-34.

UDC prediction

We blew it last week by picking against UU, and we’re going to do it again this week.

We’re picking Charleston to win.

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