West Virginia State University’s football team edged Fairmont State last weekend for its first win of the season, and the Yellow Jackets are looking to build on that this weekend.
It won’t be easy for WVSU (1-2, 1-1 Mountain East Conference) as the Yellow Jackets travel to face undefeated and defending MEC champion Notre Dame (3-0, 2-0 MEC) at noon Saturday in South Euclid, Ohio.
In WVSU’s most recent game, the Yellow Jackets downed Fairmont State 30-23 on the road.
“It was great to see us take another step forward,” West Virginia State coach John Pennington said. “We’re continuing to get better and better. We’re still not playing the level of football that we want to play, but we played extremely physical. We were locked in for the whole game.”
The Yellow Jackets outgained Fairmont 465-381, accumulating 282 passing yards and 183 rushing yards. Freshman running back and Pittsburgh transfer Malik Newton rushed for a game-high 180 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown. Fullback Dant’e Jones rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Junior quarterback Donovan Riddick started the game and completed nine of 11 pass attempts for 121 yards and a touchdown, but he left the game with an injury early in the second quarter. Pennnington said it was nothing major and Riddick will likely be ready to play against Notre Dame.
“He’s doing good,” Pennington said. “He’s progressing each day. He’s out there practicing. We got [backup quarterback] Drew Chance who looks good. He’s a senior. He’s also got plenty of reps over his career. He’s got plenty of starts but Donovan is out there practicing.”
In Riddick’s absence, Chance completed 4 of his 11 passes for 62 yards with an interception.
WVSU looks to stifle Notre Dame’s offense, which has outscored opponents 124-60. Pennington said the game experience that the Yellow Jackets have gained from the teams they’ve played will help in that aspect.
“If you’re looking at the last two teams we played and compared them to Notre Dame, they’re really very similar,” Pennington said. “[They’re all] very talented teams. Notre Dame is just as talented but a little bit older. You’re not going to see them make a whole lot of mistakes. They have a lot of seniors on that two deep.”
Notre Dame senior quarterback Chris Brimm is coming off a huge game against West Liberty in which he completed 21 of 25 passes for 449 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
UC at Alderson Broaddus
The University of Charleston is coming off a week it probably wishes it had back. The MEC preseason No. 2-ranked Golden Eagles (1-1, 1-1 MEC) fell to Frostburg State 30-24 in double overtime on Sept. 16.
“Frostburg is a very good football team,” UC coach Pat Kirkland said. “Going into that game I felt our preparation was really good. I thought the guys were focused — locked in. It did not translate onto the field. The University of Charleston did not play their best. I thought we really struggled up front on offense. We struggled to get anything going.”
UC quarterback Guy Myers completed 14 of his 26 pass attempts for 156 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception. UC running back Tyreik McAllister led the game in rushing as he gained 70 yards on 15 attempts while rushing for a touchdown.
Backup quarterback Javonte Howard also got some playing time as he completed 9 of his 14 passes for 89 yards and am interception.
This week, the Golden Eagles hope to rebound with a win as they take on Alderson Broaddus at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Philippi. The Battlers have not won a game this season (0-3, 0-2 MEC) and haven’t faced UC since their 2016 34-17 win over the Golden Eagles.
“Their quarterback [Jaylen] McNair was out with an injury [last week],” Kirkland said. “They expect him to be back this week against us. He’s a good player. Couple that with a couple good receivers, he can also create [plays] with his feet so the big thing is making sure we keep him in the pocket and limit the amount of time he has to throw the football.”