CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The University of Charleston proved it could play with the Mountain East Conference's best team last Saturday - at least for the first half.In their homecoming game today, the Golden Eagles will be looking to put two strong halves together - and they'll also be looking for a little revenge.Following last week's 28-9 loss to unbeaten Shepherd, a game in which UC led 9-7 until late in the third quarter, the Golden Eagles (2-3 overall, 2-1 MEC) take on Glenville State (2-3, 2-2 MEC) at 1 p.m. today at UC Stadium. The Golden Eagles need a win to keep their conference title hopes alive, but UC coach Pat Kirkland knows it won't be easy."Glenville is very athletic and they're very close to being 5-0 right now," Kirkland said. "They've got a lot of seniors playing and a very good running game."
That would be keyed by Glenville sophomore running back Rahmann Lee, who ranks second in the MEC with 119 rushing yards per game. In a 35-32 homecoming win over West Virginia Wesleyan last Saturday, Lee had 116 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries."He's a bigger kid [6-foot, 184 pounds], runs very well, has very good vision," Kirkland said of Lee, who ran for 128 yard in Glenville's 14-10 win over UC last year - the Eagles' only other loss besides Shepherd in a 9-2 season. "We have to rally to the ball and make sure we've got a lot of hats on him."Stopping the run proved difficult for UC against Shepherd last week. The Rams gained 274 yards on the ground last week, with both Allen Cross (156) and Jabre Lolley (104) topping 100 yards.UC earned 17 first downs to the Rams' 22 in that game, but the Golden Eagles were unable to finish off drives."We moved the football but stalled in the red zone a couple times," Kirkland said. "We don't have a lot of depth, and we had some injuries and got worn down."Red-zone failures were also UC's undoing in last year's loss to Glenville."We threw three interceptions in the red zone, missed field goals, got stopped on fourth and goal and lost 14-10," Kirkland said. "We didn't take care of opportunities."Glenville State has also missed some opportunities this year. The Pioneers' three losses, all on the road, have all come by a touchdown or less - 34-27 in the opener at VMI, 16-13 at West Liberty and 12-9 at Urbana. Elsewhere in the Mountain East today:West Virginia State (0-5, 0-4) at West Virginia Wesleyan (1-4, 1-3): The Yellow Jackets have lost 11 in a row dating back to last season and are winless under first-year coach Jon Anderson. With just two touchdowns in those five games, State will face a Wesleyan defense that ranks at the bottom of the MEC in yards allowed per game (434). The Bobcats, though, have one of the league's top quarterbacks in Jeremy Musselman, who is throwing for 309 yards per game, second best in the MEC. LaVaughn Hughes had 12 catches for 230 yards and three touchdowns against Glenville last week.Shepherd (5-0, 4-0) at Virginia-Wise (0-5, 0-3): Shepherd, ranked No. 12 in the nation in Division II, has an NCAA-best 35 minutes per game in time of possession. Wise is minus-21 in turnover ratio this year, but has a pass-catching threat in James Long, who had 16 catches for 268 yards and four touchdowns in the Cavaliers' 59-35 loss to Notre Dame College.
Concord (4-1, 3-0) at Urbana (3-2, 3-1): A key MEC game pitting a great pass defense against the MEC's best passing offense. Concord leads not only the MEC but also all of Division II in fewest passing yards allowed per game (103.2) and has yielded just one touchdown through the air. Those numbers will be put to the test by Urbana's J.D. Mendenhall, who leads the MEC with 1,667 passing yards and 17 TD tosses, including six last week against State.Notre Dame (3-2, 2-2) at Lake Erie (1-4): Notre Dame boasts another of the MEC's top offenses, putting up 36.2 points per game behind quarterback Ray Russ (280 yards per game) and the MEC's leading rusher, Pedro Powell, who averages 161.4 yards on the ground. Lake Erie of the Great Lakes Conference is surrendering 44.4 points per game.West Liberty (2-3, 2-1) at Fairmont State (2-3, 1-3): Like West Virginia State, West Liberty is struggling on offense, totaling just four touchdowns on the season. The Hilltoppers' defense, though, is strong, allowing just 14 points per game. Fairmont State has won each of the last two meetings against West Liberty.Reach Nick Scala at 304-348-7947 or firstname.lastname@example.org.