PARKERSBURG - A pair of teams which have had their fair share of red zone problems early in the season will meet today when Fairmont State travels to Morris Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff against Glenville State in the Pioneers' home opener.
The 1-1 Fighting Falcons are coming off a 27-7 setback to visiting Shepherd last week, but opened their season with a 37-29 triumph over Seton Hill.
Glenville State head coach David Hutchison's squad easily could be undefeated as opposed to 0-2, but the realization now is the Pioneers can't afford another loss if they hope to have a shot at winning the inaugural Mountain East Conference title.
After coming up short in the red zone at the end of the VMI game in week one, the G-men had four costly turnovers against West Liberty in a 16-13 setback on Saturday. One of those was a fumble in the end zone that handed the Hilltoppers a gift six-pointer and two of the interceptions came when the G-men were in the red zone.
Entering tonight's game, Glenville State is tied for 160th out of 162 teams in red zone efficiency. However, FSU doesn't rank much better as it's tied for 155th.
Former Grambling State 1,000-plus yard tailback Dawrence Roberts (45-155) has failed to get going thus far for Fairmont State, which is averaging a mere two yards per carry as a team. The opposite holds true for reigning Division II Freshman of the Year Rahman Lee of GSC. All Lee has done thus far in two games is average better than 122 ground yards a contest, good for 25th in the country. He also holds down the 15th spot nationally in all-purpose yards.
A year ago, the G-men bolted out to a 34-7 halftime lead and cruised to a 41-21 victory in what turned out to be the final West Virginia Conference battle between the two rivals. In that affair, Lee carried just 10 times, but had 146 yards rushing.
Two of the top tacklers in the country will be showcased this evening. Glenville State's James Johnson is averaging 10 total tackles a game and FSU's Garrett Davis leads Division II with 10 solo stops an outing.
Fairmont State is led by signal-caller Cooper Hibbs, but he's completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Chris St. Hilaire has been the top wideout for the Fighting Falcons. He's caught 10 passes for 177 yards and two scores. Nick Alvaro has eight receptions for 79 yards.
Pioneer Darren Elliott is currently tied for fifth in the MEC in passes defended.