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Gameday Preview: CWRU vs. JCU

Peter Cooke

Issue date: 9/3/10 Section: Sports
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The Spartans gear up for a new rivalry against John Carroll University and a shot at a fourth straight undefeated season.
The Spartans gear up for a new rivalry against John Carroll University and a shot at a fourth straight undefeated season.
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The Case Western Reserve University Spartans take the field for the first time tomorrow night, hosting local rival John Carroll University. They will be going into one of their toughest regular season games in recent memory coasting on a 31-game regular season winning streak. The nationally ranked squad faces the Blue Streaks, who are rebounding from their worst season in decades. JCU (3-7 overall, 3-6 conference) suffered its first sub -.500 season since 1986. The Spartans haven't faced the Blue Streaks since 1988, two years after that woeful season. The Blue Streaks won the series 27-10, giving them the lead in the all-time series 9-7-1.

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
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Issue Summary

News

  • Current SEC board coping with unfinished business
  • CWRU ranked in top 50 by U.S. News & World Report for 15th year
  • CWRU sees second highest amount of donations in history
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  • RAM founder Stan Brock receives 2010 Inamori Prize
  • Student injured crossing Adelbert
  • Tense SEC open forum addresses internal SEC issues and upcoming Greek Life referendum
  • USG Brief

Sports

  • Gameday Preview: CWRU vs. JCU
  • Lady Spartans to face tough competition in Labor Day Tournament
  • NFL Preview: Division breakdowns
  • Spartans soundly defeat Hiram Terriers
  • When it rains, it pours

Opinion

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  • Editorial: Permanent solutions necessary to protect student safety
  • Letter to the Editor: Proud to be Greek
  • Letter to the Editor: Stronger SEC commitment to accountability, their constitution needed before they take away Greek Life's money
  • Rough and tumble: the spirit of Cleveland
  • What's your favorite part of Leutner?

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