The Albany State Golden Rams will begin defense of their SIAC crown when they will host Mississippi College September 3.
Defense was Golden Rams calling , and they return seven starters from a defense that was the living embodiment of a worse case scenario for SIAC offenses last season, allowing a miniscule ppg versus conference opponents, only gave 13.5 ppg overall and had a staggering rsix shutouts. One of those returning starters is Stephan Pierre, the reigning, defending SIAC Player and Defensive player of the Year who was also 1st team All-SIAC.
The Albany State offense will once again be helmed by preseason SIAC offensive player of year, quarterback, Dionte Bonneau. Along with Bonneau, the Golden Ram offense returns seven other starters from last year’s playoff team. One of those other returning starters is Marcuis Fulks, who lead the team with 541 yards and 9 touchdowns, on 4.9 yards per carry.
Albany State’s offense averaged 18.4 ppg last season, with , from a statical standpoint, a fairly balanced attack averaging 139.4 yards won the ground and 136.3 yards throughout the air per contest. In last year’s matchup with Mississippi College, the Rams were able to scored 24 points and rack up 279 yards of total offense , with 189 coming on the ground and 90 through the air.
Mississippi College is looking to improve on their 4-6 campaign and want ti even the series with the Gold Rams; Albany State won their first-ever matchup 24-0 last season.
The Choctaws hang their hats on their rushing attack that that gobbled up 2947 yards last season, averaging 294.7 and 5.6 yards per carry. They are bringing back their top two rushers; Cole Fagan, who ran for 655 yards and 4 TD and Marcus Williams who ran for 500 yards and 9 TD. With as prolific as their running game was, the Choctaws had their lowest output of the season, 34 att, 141 yards( with Fagan and Williams accounting for a combined 36 yards on 13 carries ) , came against Albany State.
The Mississippi College passing “attack” is lead by quarterback Tyus Heard played secondary fiddle to the run game, only averaging a paltry 74.8 yards per game, with Heard’s biggest passing game was 67 yards against Fort Lauderdale. in the seven hames Heard played he threw for 105 yards, completing only 5 of his 20 pass attempts. If the Choctaws aspires to lift itself out of the nether parts of the Gulf South standings, they must get more production of out the quarterback position, and the passing game as a whole.
The Golden Rams have wo advantages heading into this game – they are bringing back most of a very dominant defenss, with the best player on either team in Stephan Pierre, coupled with the fact defenses often start the season clicking more than the offense, sets the table for a long day for the Choctaws. The Golden Ram offense won’t be prolific but will eek out enough plays to put some points on the board. t will be another rough day for Cole Fagans and Marcus Williams. Behind by multiple scores, the ball will be taken more out of the hands of their productive running game, placing more responsibility on the passing game, and if that is Tyus Heard, that could be highly problematic as they did not display any ability he make plays throwing the football that trend will continue, at least next week in Albany, GA.
The Choctaws may have better 2022 season but it will not be an undefeated one because when they head back to Clinton, Mississippi, they will do so as an 0-1 ball club.