Urbana (Ohio) at UVa-Wise
Where: Carl Smith Stadium (Wise, Virginia)
Coming In: Urbana (3-2) beat the University of Charleston, 25-21, on Sept. 28; UVa-Wise (3-2) lost to Fairmont State, 34-6, last Saturday.
What to watch for: After falling flat in a 34-6 loss at Fairmont State last week, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise will try to rebound against another quality opponent.
Urbana could easily be 5-0, if not for a pair of three-point losses to West Liberty and Fairmont State. Defense is the strength for the team from Ohio.
Defensive coordinator Stacey Hairston, who spent three seasons with the Cleveland Browns, oversees one of the nation’s top units.
The Blue Knights are averaging a Mountain East Conference-best 4.4 sacks per game and are allowing just 17.8 points per contest. Sophomore linebacker Duray Hill has seven sacks among his 49 tackles.
UVa-Wise has committed 13 turnovers and the team’s quarterbacks have been sacked 22 times, so the Highland Cavaliers’ offensive line will face a tough task.
Each possession will be important for UVa-Wise too, since Urbana likes to grind out the clock and has become a master at ball control.
The Blue Knights average 46 carries and 157.2 rushing yards per game, while leading the MEC in time of possession.
Having failed to score a touchdown in two of its last three games, UVa-Wise must get its offense on track. The Highland Cavaliers earned a 39-36 win over Urbana in 2016 with Jacob Cousins and Carlton Griffith leading the way, but this season’s matchup figures to be much more low scoring.
Brycen Lee, Jarome Johnson and Jake Sturgill (Abingdon) have all seen playing time at quarterback this season for UVa-Wise. It will be interesting to see who gets the majority of the snaps Saturday.