UNA Football Hosts Shorter Saturday
Florence, Ala. - Coming off a huge road win over Delta State in last week’s Gulf South Conference opener, the University of North Alabama football team returns to Braly Stadium where the Lions hope to celebrate Homecoming with a win against the Shorter College Hawks.
This will be UNA’s first-ever meeting with Shorter in football as the Hawks have joined the Gulf South Conference but are not yet eligible to compete for a conference title. This game will count as a GSC contest, however.
With few returning lettermen or starters back from 2011, the 2012 UNA Lions are off to an impressive 3-1 start and already have a key GSC win against one of its toughest GSC rivals in hand. Keeping that momentum going will be the challenge against a first-time opponent in Shorter.
“This game will be a big challenge for us,” UNA head football coach Bobby Wallace said. “It’s a conference game, which is extremely important, then it is also our Homecoming, so that puts a little more emphasis on it.
“We have to focus on being disciplined on defense and eliminating mistakes on offense,” Wallace added. ‘Shorter is a good football team and they run the same type offense as Harding, and we had some problems with them with breakdowns and missed tackles. We’ll have to be real disciplined to stop their option offense and at the same time not give up big plays in the passing game. It will be a big challenge for us.”
On the offensive side, Wallace said the Lions can’t turn the ball over.
“We’ve done a pretty good job the last couple of weeks of protecting the football and that will be extremely important in this game,” Wallace said. “With their ground control offense, they eat up a lot of clock and shorten the game and that magnifies any mistakes.”
Shorter brings a solid 2-2 record to Braly Stadium, especially when you consider that two of the Hawks first four games were against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools.
Shorter is coming off a 23-20 home loss to Charleston Sounthern but has wins over Campbell (FCS) and Chowan.
The Hawks utilize a ground attack, rushing for 267.5 yards per game. As has been the case in each of the last three games that UNA has played this season, the opponents quarterback is also among the team’s top rushers.
Shorter’s Eric Dodson has thrown for 512 yards and four touchdowns this season and has also carried the ball 60 times for 261 yards and one TD.
North Alabama’s defense faced a stiff challenge against Delta State but was able to contain thei quarterback, Trevor Wooden, holding him to just 98 yards passing and 50 yards rushing. The UNA defense was also especially tough in the Red Zone, allowing DSU just one touchdown.
The UNA offense got a spark from back-up quarterback Luke Wingo at Delta State as the true freshman led two second half scoring drives as the Lions overcame a 9-7 deficit to win 20-12.
Red-shirt freshman Lamonte Thompson continues to impress as he had a 79-yard touchdown run and now has 349 rushing yards and three touchdowns this season, while averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
The Lions passing game is still a work in progress as UNA has completed just 26 of 69 passes and has thrown four interceptions. The Lions average just 76 yards per game passing and threw for just 16 yards against Delta State. That was the lowest single game passing total by a UNA team since 1996.
UNA is tied for the early lead in the GSC with West Alabama at 1-0. Each GSC school will play five conference games this season with the addition of Shorter.
UNA has an all-time 43-19-1 record in its previous 63 Homecoming contests. The Lions have won their last seven straight Homecoming games dating back to 2004. Current UNA head coach Bobby Wallace had a 7-3 Homecoming record at UNA in his first stint as the Lions’ head coach.
Kickoff for Saturday’s Homecoming contest is set for 6 p.m. at Braly Stadium. Pre-game Homecoming activities begin on the field at 5:30.
Courtesy UNA Media Relations