PARKERSBURG - The Glenville State College football team will try and make it two wins in a row when the Pioneers play at noon Saturday inside Urbana University Stadium versus the host Blue Knights in a Mountain East Conference showdown.
Urbana trailed 21-6 at halftime last week to then No. 15 Shepherd, but managed to rally and even the contest only to fall short in the end, 28-21.
Both teams bring identical 1-2 overall records and 1-1 marks in MEC play into the tilt.
GSC head coach David Hutchison's team finally got its first win of the campaign a week ago Thursday when the G-men dominated Fairmont State, 31-14, at Morris Stadium. In that contest, the Fighting Falcons had a mere 131 total yards of offense. That included just 37 yards through the air on 5 of 20 passing as Pioneers' Darren Elliott and Milton Gilchrist both had interceptions.
However, the Pioneers will be facing a much bigger threat this weekend as the Blue Knights feature gunslinger D.J. Mendenhall. All the senior signal-caller has done this season is rank third nationally in Division II in passing yards per game (397.33). He's completed nearly 60 percent of his aerials for almost 1,200 yards to go along with 10 touchdowns and a trio of interceptions.
The likely good news for GSC come Saturday afternoon comes from the fact Urbana hasn't been able to run the ball effectively this season. Although they are ranked 21st in total offense out of 162 schools, the vast majority of that comes through the air where the Blue Knights are fourth as compared to a 127th ranking in rush offense. Urban had only 14 rushes for 20 yards versus the Rams.
Glenville State's 17th ranked defense will be tested all day as Mendenhall's top targets are Joe Webb (27-381-3), Nate Wilburn-Ogletree (22-275-2), Alvin Busbee (15-178-2) and Marc Johnson (14-205-2).
Pioneer starting quarterback Sean Steele connected on 14 of 29 passes for 209 yards against FSU. MEC Offensive Player of the Week Rahman Lee, who rushed for 164 yards, also had three catches for 74 yards and joined teammate Seth Jordan by grabbing a touchdown pass. Wideout Delvon Purvis (5-72) led the G-men in the passing game while tailback Deshaun Sands found the end zone once and had 44 yards rushing on six attempts.
The two programs are both averaging more than nine penalties and 70-plus yards a game.
GSC is likely to try and pound the ball as much as it can to keep Mendenhall and company off the field as the Blue Knights rank 110th nationally in time of possession.