Football Preview: Urbana at St. Joseph's
RENSSELAER, Indiana (October 13, 2012) - Energized after a return to conference play, the Urbana University football team makes their third straight road trip on Saturday afternoon, traveling to familiar foe St. Joseph's College for a noon kickoff (1:00 p.m. eastern). The showdown between the Blue Knights (4-2, 2-1 GLVC) and Pumas (3-3, 2-1 GLVC) is an important one in the GLVC. Currently, there are 3 one-loss teams chasing undefeated Indianapolis for the inaugural conference crown.
That group of 3 schools includes both Urbana and St. Joe's. Urbana's lone conference loss came on the road at Central State in the GLVC opener. St. Joe's conference loss came last week at first place Indy. The nationally ranked Greyhounds ran away with a 56-0 shutout. Earlier that day, Urbana put the finishing touches on a 74-0 shutout of GLVC opponent Kentucky Wesleyan. The record-shattering performance earned QB D.J. Mendenhall GLVC and National Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was joined by the dominant offensive line in the national spotlight.
Last year, the Blue Knights hosted the Pumas for Homecoming, back when both teams were members of the 4-team GLFC. The result was a 42-0 Urbana shutout on their way to a second straight GLFC Championship. Mendenhall led the Urbana offense with 112 yards passing and 2 TDs, in addition to 92 yards rushing and 2 more scores. Perry Jenkins led the UU defense with a dominant day. The defensive end finished with a team-high 11 tackles, including 3 for a loss and 2 sacks. Urbana is 2-1 all-time against the Pumas. The schools split the first 2 meetings, with each winning on their home field by 7 points. The Blue Knights fell in their only other trip to Rensselaer 27-20. Mendenhall led a 4th quarter comeback, throwing a 31-yard TD pass to erase a 19-14 deficit, but the Pumas found the endzone last, scoring the game-winning TD with 5:53 to play.
The rivalry is renewed on Saturday at noon local time (1PM Eastern) on SJC's Alumni Field in Rensselaer with 2nd place in the GLVC on the line. To follow the action live, CLICK HERE. As always, follow @UUSports on Twitter for Live Game Updates. And don't forget, next week is HOMECOMING for the Blue Knights, so make plans to be on campus for the biggest weekend of the year!
For more GLVC Notes at the conference season's halfway point, continue reading.
The Week Ahead...
The fifth week of the GLVC football conference season kicks off this Saturday with Indianapolis (4-2, 4-0 GLVC) welcoming Central State (2-4, 2-2) at 6 p.m. ET and second-place Missouri S&T (5-1, 3-1) hosting William Jewell (2-4, 1-2) for a 1 p.m. CT kick. Third-place Urbana (4-2, 2-1) will look for its second-straight blanking over a GLVC opponent, while Saint Joseph’s (3-3, 2-1) looks to avoid its second shutout in as many weeks when the Pumas welcome the Blue Knights for a noon CT start. Elsewhere, McKendree (2-4, 2-2) looks for its third straight GLVC win when the Bearcats travel to Quincy 0-6, 0-3) for a 1 p.m. CT start. Kentucky Wesleyan (1-5, 0-4) is hoping for its first home victory of the season as the Panthers welcome non-conference foe Lindenwood-Belleville at 1 p.m. CT.
The GLVC is halfway through its inaugural football season as four conference games have been contested and four remain to be played. Indianapolis, which was the league coaches’ unanimous favorite to win the conference championship, sits 4-0 in the GLVC standings. Missouri S&T is 3-1 in league play with the Miners’ lone conference loss coming to UIndy on Sept. 29, 54-35. Urbana and Saint Joseph’s follow in third with 2-1 records having yet to reach the midway point of the conference season. Here is a quick look at the remaining GLVC schedules for the league leaders.
1. UINDY (4-0): CSU (2-4), @KWC (0-4), WJC (1-2), @UU (2-1)
2. S&T (3-1): WJC (1-2), @QU (0-4), UU (2-1), @SJC (2-1)
3. UU (2-1): @SJC (2-1), McK (2-2), @S&T (3-1), WJC (1-2), UINDY (4-0)
4. SJC (2-1): UU (2-1), @WJC (1-2), @KWC (0-4), S&T (3-1), @McK (2-2)
Indianapolis Earns Votes in AFCA D-II Poll
In the latest AFCA Division II Poll released Monday, Indianapolis is the lone GLVC team to earn recognition as the Greyhounds are once again receiving votes outside the top 25. UIndy earned votes in the preseason poll, but dropped out of consideration following the season opener. Since then, a GLVC team has received votes outside the top 25 each week, as Urbana was recognized after the first two weeks of play, and Missouri S&T was represented the following two weeks. UIndy has been the lone conference representative to received votes the past two weeks.
Urbana and Indianapolis turned in the top-two scoring efforts in the GLVC this year after 74-0 and 56-0 wins over Kentucky Wesleyan and Saint Joseph’s, respectively, last week. The Blue Knights’ 74 points ranks as the third-highest output in the country this year, while UIndy’s mark is tied for 37th. The Greyhounds entered last week ranked first in scoring offense in conference games only with a 44.7 average, while Urbana was eighth at 18.0, having only played in two other GLVC games. Following last Saturday’s offensive surge, UIndy’s average improved to 47.5, while the Blue Knights now rank second at 36.7 -- an 18.7-point increase from last week.
Several Single-Game Highs Set
In addition to the top-two single-game highs for points scored being set last week, several other conference marks were established. Urbana now holds new single-game highs in the league for touchdowns (10), total offensive yards (684) and passing TDs (5), while Blue Knights QB D.J. Mendenhall was responsible for a league-best six touchdowns and 365 yards passing last week. UIndy’s 383 rushing yards against Saint Joseph’s is a new conference mark, as were Missouri S&T’s Scott Hendricks’ 29 rushing attempts. Among the other notable performances, Urbana racked up 319 yards on the ground and 365 yards passing for the second-best marks this year. UIndy’s Klay Fiechter now ranks second this year with 159 rushing yards against the Pumas and Central State’s Michael Wilson is second in total offensive yards after putting up 447 markers against Missouri S&T.
In addition to Urbana’s 74 points being the third-highest output in the country this year, the 684 total yards the Blue Knights registered are fifth-best overall, while UIndy’s 383 yards on the ground rank 16th.
Three of the GLVC’s top-four scoring offenses have become accustomed to scoring quickly in conference action this year. No. 1 Indianapolis (47.5), No. 2 Urbana (36.7), and No. 4 Central State (27.0) rate near the bottom of the conference in overall time of possession. UIndy is sixth at 28:21, followed by Urbana in seventh at 28:06 and Central State in ninth at 23:44. Only Missouri S&T has managed to stay out on the field while still putting several points on the board. The Miners are second in time of possession (35:24) and third in scoring offense (35.0) this season.
GLVC Well-Represented Among NCAA Stat Leaders
Three GLVC standouts are ranked first in the country in select statistical categories in a report released by the NCAA on Sunday. Indianapolis’ Klay Fiechter leads the country in scoring (14.00) and is also second overall in all-purpose running (206.33). Central State’s Darius Wilson is the nation’s leading tackler with 13.67 stops per game, while Missouri S&T’s Carlton Westbrook sits first with a punt-return average of 26.22. Four different teams pace the GLVC in select team stats, including No. 1 Kentucky Wesleyan in punt-return average (33.25), No. 8 Missouri S&T in turnover margin (1.33), No. 13 Quincy in passing defense (167.67) and No. 25 Urbana in passing efficiency (151.89). Additionally, S&T ranks 14th in punt returns (17.83), 15th in passing (312.17), 19th against the run (99.67) and 24th in scoring offense (37.00).
Central State senior linebacker Darius Wilson has continued to impress with his individual defensive efforts this year. Last week Wilson registered 19.0 tackles against Missouri S&T, which is tied for fifth most in the country this year. Wilson owns the nation’s top mark of 22.0, set against Saint Joseph’s on Sept. 22, as well as the 14th slot with his 17.0 stops earned against Urbana on Sept. 15.