« on: Yesterday at 06:02:46 pm »
Here's the thing about next week's RMC at W&L matchup that should have everyone stand up and take notice. It is the #1 rushing offense in DIII versus the #3 rushing defense in DIII. RMC is holding opponents to 1.55 yards per rush, 42.1 rushing yards per game on the season, and only 3 rushing TDs. W&L averages 427 rushing yards per game, 6.15 yards per carry, and has scored 30 rushing TDs this season, more on average per game than RMC allowed all season.
Has there been a strength on strength match up like this in DIII this year? You have to think something about this looks very good for RMC. They almost seem built to stop W&L, kind of odd in a conference that has so many passing teams, but there you have it. Last year they held W&L to tie for the Generals' second lowest point total of the season, 21. And it took a fourth quarter 11 play, 97 yard drive for W&L to leave with a win. To be fair, W&L racked up 347 yards rushing and 5.3 yards per carry, but they still punted 8 times.
I can't help but feel the first team to 24 wins this game. If W&L gets 400 yards rushing, they win easy. If RMC holds them to less than 300, the Jackets should leave Lexington with a win. In the middle, where I expect the game to be decided, is a toss up. Turnovers and penalties will probably tell the tale.
No I don't really fear the Jackets' offense. Unless they've been saving a lot of wrinkles, there just isn't much there to fear. They have yet to score 25 points against an ODAC opponent, and while they rank 79th in YPG in DIII, they only average 365 YPG against ODAC foes, closer to 140th in DIII. In terms of scoring, they are 86th in DIII, but if you look at ODAC foes only they would be closer to 171st at about 21 points per page.
As for W&L, the offense has caught fire in 3 of the last 4 weeks. They are averaging more yards and scoring more points against ODAC foes than they did against their OOC slate. They've averaged over 40 points per game in conference, and over 540 ypg of total offense, besting their total averages of 51st in scoring (around 35) and 21st in ypg (489). In fact the ODAC average of ypg would put them 5th in DIII.
So that leaves W&L's defense. Which has been a lot better since conference play started. Playing Guilford and H-SC the last two weeks has given them balanced offensive opponents. Forcing opponents to play from behind has improved the pass defense. That was seriously lacking when C-M-S came all the way back from a huge deficit in week 3 by throwing the ball all over the field in the second half. At 149th in total defense, W&L isn't going to scare anyone away from their offensive game plan. Allowing over 400 yards per game overall, and about the same in conference, but with only 21 touchdowns allowed, and only 10 in 4 conference games, the Generals have been tougher where it matters.
So in the end, strength versus strength and weakness versus weakness. W&L's rushing offense has been brutal to ODAC foes, RMC's rushing defense has killed game plans. RMC's offense can't find the endzone, W&L's defense doesn't stop teams from racking up yards.
It really should be a fascinating game.