The Bombers return home to welcome the Union Dutchmen, a team that has never won on South Hill. Here’s what to look out for Saturday afternoon.
Continuing the momentum
Winning on the road 24-0 is a strong way to begin the season. Losing the next game at home against a beatable opponent is a great way to mess up the season. The Bombers had their way running against Moravian two weeks ago. They now face a Dutchmen defense that allowed an average of more than 160 total rushing yards in two games this season. Expect big games from senior running backs Jarrett “Horse Legs” Naiden and Clay “Beast Mode” Ardoin.
The grind begins
From the kickoff Saturday to the final whistle Nov. 10 at SUNY-Cortland, the Bombers will be now be playing consecutive games. It is an unfortunate consequence of having a bye in week two, but playing nine straight games could enable the team to get into a rhythm. However, a few losses and that positive rhythm turns into a dour grind. The Blue and Gold will want to cruise tomorrow afternoon to keep the good vibes going into Empire 8 Conference play.
Last year, the Bomber defense recorded five takeaways in its 37-18 win against the Dutchmen, with senior strong safety Josh Liemer leading the way with a fumble recovery and an interception. Union will be missing both starting wide receivers because of injuries, so the opportunity is there for the new-look Bomber secondary to have a field day. Keep an eye on junior cornerback Brian Garvey, who was impressive in practice Thursday.
Big tests across the E8
Every team in the Empire 8 is in non-conference action Saturday, and the strength of the conference will be tested. While 7th-ranked Salisbury University hosts lowly North Carolina Wesleyan College, 9th-ranked St. John Fisher hosts University of Rochester in the teams’ final meeting in the Courage Bowl. U of R is bowing out of the annual series due to scheduling issues. However, a loss Saturday would leave them still without a win in eight tries against the Cardinals.
Utica College hosts 14th-ranked Hobart College under the lights in the first meeting between the two squads. A win by the Pioneers would complete a sweep of the Liberty League. A win could send shock waves across the East. However, the biggest opportunity for shock waves is in Whitewater, Wis., where the top-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks host E8 newcomer Buffalo State. UW-W currently holds the fourth-longest winning streak in college football history. Their defense held Washington University in St. Louis’ offense to zero yards in the first half of their 34-0 win Aug. 31.