The matchup this Saturday in Commerce is going to be the polar opposite of what we faced this past week. William Jewell is going to be a much different matchup than playing North Alabama in just about every way, shape, and form. So, lets get to it.
- William Jewell is in the midst of tough times in their athletics, and Football is at the forefront of that. There is a strong chance that WJ drops down to either NCAA D3 or to the NAIA. There is a struggle within a lot of schools, both public and private, that is causing many athletic departments across the country to start having to cut back on scholarship athletes and their department as a whole. We saw that last year with Oklahoma Panhandle State having to do the same thing, and that is a shame.
- Now, onto Football. WJ is having a rough go. They dropped their season opener to South Dakota Mines 42-27 and last season finished 1-9, the year before that they were 4-7 and were 5-6 back in 2014. They have not had a winning record in a while and for the most part play in a pretty weak conference. Most of the teams that come out of the Great Lakes Valley Conference usually get knocked out of the playoffs in short order. Like I said, much different battle than last week.
- On offense, WJ is not too bad. They averaged 347 yards per game on offense. They also throw the ball a lot and have some pretty good athletes than can catch the ball. Brad Strauss quarterbacks the Cardinals and played on Northeastern Missouri’s national title team in 2015. He was the leading rusher and passer on Saturday and he is someone to watch out for who can make plays. The Cardinals problems actually seem to be in execution on their offense, not necessarily talent.
- Jewell’s defense has a lot of holes in it and gives up a lot of points. That mainly has to do with them being on the field for so long, which has to do with their offense’s lack of execution. Last week they gave almost 500 yards of offense and over 40 points. Attacking Jewell is going to be a point of emphasis for any team that plays them as it seems to completely neutralize their offense.
- One thing I do see in WJ is that play hard. They play very hard and have lost numerous games within about 3-7 points. They also have an excitement about playing and that is a big deal. Any team that plays hard and is excited to play can knock off any team on any given day. I really admire that about this team in that despite all the tough things going around them and they seem unfazed by it and are just playing hard. That could make things much more interesting on Saturday than Lion fans hope for.