2023 Gulf South Conference Football

SAC Games of the Week: Lenoir-Rhyne Can Plant Its Flag In Week 2

SAC Games of the Week: Lenoir-Rhyne Can Plant Its Flag In Week 2

Lenoir-Rhyne welcomes defending national champion Ferris State to Moretz Stadium for the marquee matchup of the Week 2 calendar.

Sep 9, 2022 by Kyle Kensing
SAC Games of the Week: Lenoir-Rhyne Can Plant Its Flag In Week 2

The top matchup on the Div. II docket in Week 2 emanates from the South Atlantic Conference footprint. 

Lenoir-Rhyne welcomes reigning national champion Ferris State to Hickory and Moretz Stadium for a marquee matchup of Top 15-ranked teams. The Bears have a prime opportunity with Ferris State's visit to bolster their postseason resume, and more importantly, measure their championship mettle. 

While the whole D-II nation will have eyes on Hickory this Saturday, there's plenty more to the SAC schedule in Week 2. A pair of the conference's teams face Div. I opponents with Barton visiting Davidson and UVA Wise at North Alabama. 

South Atlantic squads also draw opponents from the always strong Gulf South Conference as non-league competition continues. 

Catawba at Shorter 

Sep 10, 2022, 4:00 PM UTC

Catawba rolled off 44 consecutive points in its Week 1 romp over Livingstone, deploying a multifaceted run game to overwhelm the Blue Bears. Four Catawba ball-carriers rushed either 10 or 11 times, gaining between 44 and Leroy Bracey Jr.'s game-high 115 yards.

On the flipside, Shorter decimated Div. III opponent Brevard College in the opening week with a potent passing attack. Aeneas Dennis threw one-quarter of his total completions for touchdowns in the 45-6 blowout, and racked up 228 yards to go with his four scores. 

All-Gulf South tight end Kyle Morlock garnered the majority of the attention for Shorter heading into the season, but it was wide receiver Dorian Anderson stealing the spotlight in Week 1 with six catches for 104 yards and three touchdowns. A Catawba secondary that enjoyed a dominant opening-week performance can anticipate plenty of work at Shorter. 

The Indians' most game-changing player against the pass in Week 1, however, played linebacker. Christian Campbell grabbed two interceptions in the blowout. 

Lenoir-Rhyne vs. Ferris State 

There isn't a bigger game on the Div. II schedule this week, as always-tough Lenoir-Rhyne aims to take that next step into the upper echelon against the defending national champion. 

Ferris State can anticipate opponents' best shot every week, and the Bulldogs certainly faced just that Week 1 against Central Washington. The Lone Star Conference newcomers led Ferris State in the second quarter, before Bulldogs quarterback Mylik Mitchell took over. Mitchell led the Ferris State offense on a 27-point deluge, spanning the second and into the fourth quarter. 

Any questions about Mitchell's ability to lead the Bulldog offense as the full-time quarterback should be assuaged, though Ferris State heads to Lenoir-Rhyne with another uncertainty: How will the run game respond to an uncharacteristically tough day at the office? 

The Bulldogs gained just 2.9 yards per carry — though they didn't need much on the ground with Mitchell passing for 339 yards. Still, Lenoir-Rhyne's approach to containing the Ferris State rush will provide one of Week 2's most intriguing subplots. 

Likewise, Lenoir-Rhyne had to scratch out every year it could muster in a 38-19 win over Virginia State. The Bears also faced a quarterback controversy after opening-week starter Austin Cagle threw three interceptions. Reserve Sean White played a clean game after taking over. 

Newberry at North Greenville 

In another SAC vs. Gulf South showdown, defending South Atlantic champion Newberry visits North Greenville for a nighttime kickoff. The Wolves faced little resistance from Allen in Week 1, storming to a 40-6 win behind Dre Harris' four total touchdowns. 

Harris continuing the dual-threat magic that led Newberry to a conference title and signature playoff win over West Florida a year ago bodes well for the Wolves repeating in 2022. So, too, does Devante Gambrell emerging as a real problem for opposing offensive lines on the Newberry defense. 

Gambrell went for 2.5 sacks and tied a team-high with four tackles in Week 1. He'll look to continue applying pressure this week against a North Greenville bunch that struggled in the opener, but didn't show much of its potential. The Crusaders opened with Furman, an FCS team with designs on a Southern Conference championship. 

The result was uninspiring, but North Greenville boasts plenty of All-GSC caliber talent. This could be a low-key gem to close out the night for Week 2.