GSC has hands full with Shepherd

PARKERSBURG – Maybe the third time will indeed be the charm for Glenville State College head football coach David Hutchison.

The past two seasons veteran Shepherd University head man Monte Cater’s Rams have knocked off the Pioneers. Two years ago, the Rams posted a 37-20 win in Gilmer County and last year the G-men led 23-20 with 1:59 to play in the game, but left Shepherdstown with a 34-23 setback.

Now, the No. 9 Rams invade for a 1 p.m. Mountain East Conference rival game inside Morris Stadium where the Pioneers will be looking to deliver a little payback.

“We’re a couple scores away from being 8-0, but we’re sitting at 4-4 and won two of our last three and won two in a row for the first time,” said Hutchison, who is in his third year at GSC (4-4, 4-3).

“We’ve been playing better and getting better and we’re excited. This is a good time to play them.”

Even though Glenville State sports the ninth-ranked defense and the 12th-ranked rushing defense in Division II, the Rams (7-0, 6-0) are better. Shepherd has allowed a mere 32 yards rushing a game, good for tops in the country, and Cater’s squad has the second ranked overall defense – one that is allowing only 1.4 yards per rushing attempt.

“Their defense is phenomenal,” Hutchison said. “They haven’t given up a rush over 20 yards this season and haven’t given up a rushing touchdown.

“They seem like they’ve worn people out and worn them down and wait for them to make a mistake.”

Robert Hayes ranks seventh in the country with eight sacks, but Hutchison noted a large part of that is because preseason All-American defensive end Howard Jones plays on the opposite side and draws plenty of double teams.

“You don’t need any motivation to play and want to beat a Shepherd team,” Hutchison added. “Our guys will be excited. We’re not worried about records and all the other stuff, just trying to beat Shepherd.”

Pioneer tailback Rahman Lee needs 89 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for the season. Lee, whose 911 yards ranks 21st in D-II, also has 19 receptions for 273 yards.

Shepherd, which lost to the G-men four straight years from 2007-10, is 11th nationally in turnover margin, ranks first in time of possession and have the 32nd ranked rushing offense (214.1 ypg).

Hutchison said both quarterbacks – starter Sean Steele and Steffen Colon – are expected to play.

Shepherd, which has used Jeff Ziemba more at quarterback lately, features the tandem of Allen Cross and Jabre Lolley in the backfield. The duo has combined for nearly 1,300 ground yards. Ram kicker Ryan Earls also has hit on 9 of 10 field goal attempts, but his longest is from 37.

Gary Henderson leads the G-men with 3.5 sacks and is tied with teammate Demetrius Lofton with seven tackles for loss apiece. James Johnson’s 70 total stops leads GSC and defensive back Darren Elliott ranks first nationally in passes defended (23) and is tied for fourth with his six interceptions.

“Shepherd had a bye week and should be healthy and ready to go. We’re happy to have them at home in front of our crowd,” Hutchison added.