GW (2-3) will be in the house tonight as #11 Hurricane (3-2) looks to go 3 for 3 on their current home stand. If you know anything about this series you realize that it wont be easy.
Hurricane has lost 7 of the last 9 games against George Washington, and it took overtime last year on the hill to finally beat the Patriots 17-10 on their home turf.
When you think GW, your thoughts are centered on QB Grant Wells, well mine are on their Head Coach Steve Edwards Jr., my 2nd least favorite coach in the valley but that's another story.
Wells, a Marshall commit, has been a large part of everything GW does on offense this season. He has thrown a MSAC high 169 passes this season, completing a league high 88, resulting in 13 touchdowns. If you think he is one dimensional think again. Wells has also rushed 45 times for 290 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Putting that in perspective Hurricane leader in touchdowns scored is Christian Hill with 3. When Wells is not launching missiles he is handing off to Aidan Johnson who is averaging a whopping 10.8 yards per tote and has scored 5 TDS.
So with weapons like these how do you beat GW? Well although facing stellar competition, they have given up 50, 42, and 62 points in defeats against Ashland, Huntington, and Spring Valley.
The Patriots two victories have come against winless South Charleston 45-30 and hapless St. Albans 69-0.
"We have to defend the home turf tonight if we want yo host a 1st round playoff game. GW is a solid team that will give us fits on both sides of the ball," said Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor. "It's going to be a dogfight as always."
J.T. Cooper Hurricane's senior Linebacker told the Brandon Lowe show, "Wells makes some ridiculous passes, we have to play our game on defense and stay within the gameplan."
The Redskins secondary will be tested more than they have all season and how Charlie Womack, Walker James, Abel Cunningham, and J.T. James perform will certainly be a key.
Offensively, Nathan Roy will get the start and be asked to manage the offense for Taylor, without turning the ball over. This has been something Roy has done well in his time at Hurricane. This season he has 5 TD passes and no interceptions. For his career he has an astonishing 22 TD passes and only 2 interceptions. He is the only QB in the MSAC with at least 20 attempts not to be picked off.
As usual the workload will fall on Hill (130-694-3) who leads the Conference with 130 rushing attempts.
In case you have not figured it out, the game should play out as Hurricane's running game vs. GW's passing attack. Running games of Huntington and Spring Valley enjoyed big success against the Patriots. Look for Hurricane to do similarly.
Two years ago GW came to Redskin Stadium with their season in the balance. Similiar to the present, Hurricane was on a nice roll at the time and most predicted a Redskin victory. GW rolled the Skins that night and blasted Hurricane 35-2. Let's hope that this team's seniors remember that game and realize that GW will be confident about getting a victory tonight.
Notes: Tonight will also mark another return to Redskin Stadium for Scott Tinsley who served as Hurricane's Offensive Coordinator for 3 seasons prior to leaving to coach St. Albans. After 2 seasons leading the Red Dragons, Tinsley reemerged as GW's OC this season.
Go figure: All the regular gurus from the Charleston Gazette-Mail predict that Hurricane will defeat GW. A certain guest handicapper from WSAZ, who was probably busy watching himself in We Are Marshall for the 100th time, picked against Hurricane.
Prediction: GW will come out guns blazin. But Hurricane defense has not given up a 1st half touchdown in their last 3 games, including contests against Capital and Cabell Midland. Hurricane survives the onslaught from Wells and slowly takes over the game as Christian Hill has his best game of the season and puts up over 200 yards.
Hurricane 34 George Washington 21