The Bombers (2–0) look to remain undefeated as they kick off Empire 8 Conference action at 1 p.m Saturday at Frostburg State (2–1)
Now it begins
For all intents and purposes, the Bombers’ football season really begins tomorrow. With relatively weak non-conference opponents from Union, Moravian and, to an extent, SUNY-Cortland, any hopes at a postseason play will come through the Bombers’ success in the Empire 8 Conference. A conference title is most likely the only way to make the NCAA Playoffs, and a perfect E8 record is probably needed to win the conference. An early loss to the Bobcats may spell a premature death to the Bombers’ postseason bid.
Flair for the dramatic
The Bobcats have had their own experiences this season with late-game drama in both of their wins in 2012, coming with a touchdown in the final minute. When the teams met at Butterfield Stadium last year, the Bombers scored 10 points in the final 70 seconds to pull off a stunning victory. Andrew Rogowski kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired and became the hero in that game. Can sophomore kicker Garret Nicholson do the same?
Discipline and intelligence
The Bobcats come into Saturday’s game averaging eight penalties and more than 70 penalty yards per game. The Bombers average 37 penalty yards by comparison. The Bombers need to stay clean on offense and take advantage when a penalty puts the Bobcat offense in a long-yardage situation.
It begins for the others too
While 11th-ranked Salisbury University and Ithaca’s next opponent, Utica College, are idle this week, the Empire 8 season starts for four other teams.
Nineteenth-ranked Buffalo State Bengals, fresh off of their win against No. 1 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, will host Alfred University at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. If the Bengals can keep up the momentum they generated last week, a win would hardly be an upset.
The 9th-ranked St. John Fisher’s Cardinals hosts Hartwick College at 4:30 p.m. Fisher has been both undefeated and underwhelming so far, but a convincing Cardinals win would be a welcome boost of confidence for when they host Salisbury next Saturday.