The Tigers did not perform well during their week one matchup that resulted in a 26-7 loss to the University of Central Oklahoma. The same could be said about the Tigers’ week two opponent, Northeastern State University, who lost 37-0 to No. 9 Pittsburg State University. Either way, both teams will mash together in Tahlequah, Okla. for the MIAA Game of the Week this Saturday.
The biggest thing that sticks out from both teams opening games is neither offenses were able to score or really do much of anything. The Tigers lone score came on a DeAndre James, defensive back, Tampa, Fla, sophomore 89 yard kick return and only gained 181 yards offensively. The Riverhawks were shutout for the first time since 2009 and their first five possessions resulted in four punts and a turnover and gained only 180 yards offensively. The difference between the two is that Northeastern State went up against the number nine team in the country, while Fort Hays went up against the number 10 team in the conference and only gained one more yard from scrimmage than NSU did against Pittsburg State.
The good news for the Tigers is according to Matt Erbert, offensive lineman, Ellis, junior said that the Tigers learned a lesson from their loss to Central Oklahoma and they can’t over look anyone. Head coach Chris Brown said there was a bit of a losing hangover, but the Tigers had a high tempo week of practice and sharpened some things up and are more focused.
The Tigers are going to have to be sharp this weekend against NSU. Do not be fooled by their week one shutout or their ranking in last in the conference, this is a team that Brown says as a lot of talent.
“They’re a team that does some great things,” Brown said.
One thing to expect from Northeastern State is more of a slow paced game. The Riverhawks huddle up after every play and do not come right up to the line of scrimmage to try to control the clock, which is becoming untraditional in college football today.
Against Pittsburg State, Northeastern State had 132 yards through the air and just 48 yards on the ground. Quarterback Kevin Pantastico was 13 of 28 with two interceptions and 132 yards. Most of the targets will go to junior wide out Garrett Powell who had three receptions for 45 yards against Pitt.
On defense the Riverhawks are very young, but Erbert still had some praises for their front line.
“Their defensive front is pretty good,” Erbert said. “They’ve got some good seven or eight guys.”
Head coach of the Riverhawks Rob Robinson was very pleased with his defensive performance is week one despite giving up 37 points, saying they played extremely hard and were in the right position to make some plays.
For the Tigers Brown says it is still an open competition at quarterback between Treveon Albert, quarterback, Atlanta, Ga., junior and Kevin Spain, quarterback, Scottsdale, Ariz., junior.
Brown evaluated the quarterback play with one word, “ok.”
You can expect the Tigers to throw Albert and Spain both at the Riverhawks defense, although at this moment it is unclear on who will make the start.
On defense, more good news for the Tigers as it appears Tomasi Molesi, defensive line, Oceanside, Calif., senior and Joita Te’i, Oceanside, Calif., senior may be available for week two. Molesi sustained a concussion late in the home opener and is still going through the concussion protocols and Brown feels if there are not any complications he will be back and Te’i who injured his shoulder is no longer in a sling and looks to be ready to go.
All in all it should be a interesting game with it being close at times. The style of offense that the Riverhawks run may limit the number of possessions for the Tigers if they are able to move the ball at all. The experienced secondary for the Tigers should be able to shut down any attempts at trying to get a passing game going, the only question is can the front line hold up and not let the quarterback rush which hurt the Tigers in week one. On the other side of the ball for Fort Hays, let’s wait and see which quarterback wants to led the team. Ed Smith, running back, Miami, Fla, senior has a deep bruise in his knee which limited him to just two whole plays last week maybe be back, but one is for sure the run game was inefficient without him.
Prediction: FHSU 30 NSU 16