Gameday Preview: CWRU vs. JCU
Issue date: 9/3/10 Section: Sports
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Captaining the Spartans are two seniors: running back Billy Deitmen and quarterback Joey Baum. Other big names on the CWRU roster are Tony Opperman, a second-team All-American pick by d3football.com, and senior wide receiver Zach Homyl, a first-team pick by USA Football News.
Opperman anchors the offensive line and likes the team's chances tomorrow, but he's not caught up in the diplomacy. "I have full confidence in our coaching staff to prepare us properly for the JCU Game so that we will be able to compete with them and win the game. As far as a specific gameplan, I'll leave that to our coaches. It is certainly exciting to get to play a team so close to us and to have it in the atmosphere of a night game at Case Field."
Dale English leads the team on the defensive side as an All-UAA lineman. English has twice won the John Anderson Award, a prize given to the most valuable underclassmen on the team.
The Blue Streaks find themselves in a similar situation, having nearly lost half of their starters on both sides of the ball. While CWRU returns 27 letterwinners and eight starters, JCU tops them with 37 and 12 respectively.
JCU wields a well-rounded offense. Although they have a below-average 3.6 yards-per-carry, the team still manages 113.8 yards-per-game. The backfield yields a controversy at quarterback as sophomore Michael Locke and junior Devin O'Brien trade snaps.
Locke looks to be the leading candidate: he appeared in just three games last season and completed just six passes all season. O'Brien started last season's opener for the Blue Streaks after JCU's starter was scratched late. O'Brien would go 20-34 for 163 yards against a D3-playoff-team Thomas More. Despite the success, O'Brien didn't make a repeat appearance, and the Spartans will look to rattle Locke's cage early to start the game.
The Spartans look to keep pushing forward, not getting caught up in last year's success or the drama of losing 13 starters. The Spartans' high-powered offense doesn't look to be slowed down by John Carroll, but spectators shouldn't expect any of the high-scoring shootouts that were common last year.
PREDICTION: Spartans: 31 Blue Streaks: 16