Saturday the Albany State Golden Rams (1-1, 0-0) will look to bounce back from their 23-13 loss to FAMU last week in Tallahassee by hitting the road to take on the Hawks of Shorter University Saturday in a SIAC/Gulf South matchup.
The Golden Rams came up short in a hard-fought loss against the Rattlers. After scoring a touchdown on their first offensive drive, the FAMU defense sank their fangs into the Albany State offense, shutting them out until a Marcuis Fulks touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The defense was Albany State’s calling card last season, as they had the most dominant units in recent SIAC history, returning starters from the said group have kept its level of play very high. Through the first two games of the season, the Albany State defense is surrendering 18.50 ppg. Defending conference of the year Stephan Pierre has been his usual, offensively disruptive self. He leads the team in tackles, with 17 (14 solos) and sacks with 2.0, and he’s also amongst the conference leaders in both categories.
Shorter University (2-0) brings a potent and balanced offensive attack. The Hawks, through their first two contests, average 39.5 ppg, and average 262.5 yards on the ground, and 248.50 yards through the air. As a team, the Hawks averaged 5.4 yards per carry and are led by graduate student Noah Holland who has run for 193 yards and a touchdown. Holland ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in their win against Catawba College last week. Senior quarterback Aeneas Dennis can attack defenses with his arms and his feet. He ran for 93 yards against Catawba, but struggled with accuracy/efficiency, completing just 48.1%, or 13 of his 27, pass attempts Defensively the Hawks rank fourth in the Gulf South, allowing 13.5 ppg. They only allow 124 yards through the air but are particularly stiff against the run, giving up a mere 63 yards and 2.6 yards per carry.
Why Albany State will win:
Stephan Pierre and the Golden Ram defense will wreak havoc on the Shorter offense. Aeneas Dennis will be put in uncomfortable positions to either escape constant pressure, forcing him to either not have time to make throws he wants to make to attempt ones he is not comfortable with. Albany State will slow the pace down with their run game from Fulks and Kam Ward, along with timely throws that Dionte Bonneau can make. The Hawks’ offense will start to press a little bit causing execution will suffer which will make sustaining productive drives difficult and make turnovers more likely, on which an opportunistic Albany State defense will capitalize.
Why Shorter will win:
Offensive coordinator Blake Robles’ game plan will focus on Dennis making quick, shorter passes. This will not only help nullify pressure from the ASU defense but also will him to get in a rhythm. This will also cause the Ram defense to play less aggressively and more reactive which could open things up for Noah Holland. Atrellious Edmunds will show that his strong game against Catawba was no fluke as he will fly all over the field and make plays, helping to stymie the Albany State offense
Albany State: 27
Shorter University: 17