Florence, Ala. – After watching his team turn the ball over four times in a 31-10 loss in its last outing against Harding, University of North Alabama football coach Bobby Wallace says he has plenty of concerns entering Saturday’s game against an unbeaten Kentucky Christian squad that has forced nine turnovers in its first two games.
“Our biggest concern is getting better ourselves,” Wallace said. “It’s a long season and we’ve got a lot of work to do to improve in some areas.
“While we don’t know a lot about Kentucky Christian, we do know that their defense has generated a lot of turnovers in two games and that is an area of concern for us,” he added. “Their defense has generated a lot of short fields for their offense and their quarterback (Graham Johnston) is athletic, can run the ball and is an accurate passer.”
UNA enters the game 1-1 and is looking to not only pull out a win, but to also generate some momentum heading into its 2012 Gulf South Conference opener next week against Delta State. This will be UNA’s first game against an NAIA opponent since a 2002 meeting with Lambuth.
This will not only be UNA’s first-ever meeting with Kentucky Christian, but just the second school from the state of Kentucky that the Lions have ever faced. UNA played Murray State for eight straight seasons from 1954-61, going 5-3 against the Racers
Kentucky Christian is located in extreme northeastern Kentucky, just miles from both the Ohio and West Virginia borders. The Knights, who are members of the NAIA, the National Christian College Athletic Association and the Mid-South Conference, enter the game 2-0 with wins over Lindsey Wilson (27-20) and Bluefield State (33-14).
While KCU is averaging just 288 yards of total offense per game, the Knights offense has not had to go far on many possessions as their defense has intercepted seven passes and recovered two fumbles.
Johnston is 35-of-66 for 405 yards and three touchdowns and is also the team’s leading rusher with 118 yards and one score.
The Knights’ defense is allowing just 66 yards per game rushing and 217 total yards per outing.
North Alabama’s offense is ranked 22nd in the NCAA Division II in rushing with 219.5 yards per game on the ground. Freshman Lamonte Thompson has rushed for 187 yards and two scores in his first two collegiate games and quarterback Chris Alexander has 118 yards and one score.
On the down side, the Lions have lost five fumbles in two games which ranks them 151st of 154 Division II schools for holding on to the football.
The Lions are 13th nationally for fewest penalty yards as a team and linebacker Tavarius Wilson is 10th in the nation with an average of 12.5 tackles per game.
UNA will be trying to avoid back-to-back home losses at Braly Stadium for the first time since 2004.
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 6 p.m. at Braly Stadium.
Courtesy UNA Media Relations