DEFIANCE, OHIO - The Defiance College Yellow Jackets travel to Cincinnati, Ohio for a matchup against Mount St. Joseph University in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener at Schueler Field at 1:30 p.m. [Complete Game Notes in PDF]
Saturday's meeting will be the 24th meeting between the two schools. Mount St. Joseph holds a slim lead in the series record, 12-11.
Last season the Yellow Jackets fell to the Lions, 24-21, at home at Justin F. Coressel Stadium. DC led, 21-13 heading into the fourth quarter, but MSJ scored 11 straight points, including a 24-yard field goal as time expired to pull off the 24-21 come-from-behind win. The Lions have won 10 of the last 13 meetings.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets
Defiance returns 36 lettermen, including 17 starters in 2015.
After two games this season, the offense is averaging 274.5 yards per game. Sophomore Logan Scott (Curtice/Genoa) is listed as the starter at quarterback. To date, Scott has completed 32-of-85 passes for 413 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
The Yellow Jackets have a young backfield with freshman Jeff Watson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead) listed as the starter. Watson has 17 carries for 25 yards so far this season. Also look for the duo of freshman Tanner Hughes (Pierceton, Ind./Whitko) and junior Cody Wilson (McComb) to see carries. Hughes is second on the team with 35 yards on nine touches, while Wilson has carried the ball seven times for a team-high 59 yards (8.4 yards per carry).
At the wideout position, look for juniors Cody Wilson, Andy Foore (Swanton) and freshmen Devin Bolden (Lake Worth, Fla./Wellington) and Nate Roberts (St. Petersburg, Fla./Boca Ciega) to start. Wilson leads the team in receiving with 16 catches for 195 yards (12.2 yards per catch) so far this season. Roberts is second with six catches for 59 yards and a TD. Foore is second overall in reception yardage with 92 yards and has caught five passes. Bolden has one reception for 28 yards.
On defense, Defiance is currently allowing 414.5 yards per game, but has accounted for a pair of takeaways already this season with two fumbles.
The defensive line will be anchored by seniors Kyle Wilson (Wauseon) and Cody Lee (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson). Kyle Wilson has made seven total tackles (two solo and five assists). Lee has also recorded seven tackles (four solo and three assists). Also look for junior Matt DeVore (Van Buren) and sophomore Greg Ward (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti) to start alongside Kyle Wilson and Lee.
The linebackers will start a pair of freshman in Jalin Nealy (Pontiac, Mich./West Bloomfield) and Justin Braxton (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips). Nealy leads the team in tackles with 24 (14 solo and 10 assists). He also has 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Braxton has made five total stops (two solo and three assists) so far this season.
The Jacket secondary is led by junior Kenny Jones (Toledo/Bowsher) and freshman Dalin Brown (Port St. Lucie, Fla./St. Lucie Wester Center) at the corners along with senior Andrew Feldhaus (Lutz, Fla./Steinbrenner), junior Cody Wiggins (Howell, Mich./Howell) and sophomore Jacob Bickel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) at the safety positions. Jones is fourth on the team in tackles with 11 (seven solo and four assists) and also has one fumble recovery against Adrian which he returned for a touchdown. Brown has yet to record any tackles or other defensive statistics. Feldhaus is second in tackles with 17 (11 solo and six assists) to go along with a tackle for loss. Wiggins has made one tackle and Bickel has added five tackles (three solo and two assists).
On special teams, freshman Tyler L'Heureux (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) will handle the place kicking duties, while junior Tom Woehnker (Kendallville, Ind./East Nobel) will be the team's starting punter. L'Heureux is 0-2 in field goal attempts and one-of-two in extra point attempts. Woehnker has punted the ball 15 times and is averaging 39.5 yards per punt. He has recorded four punts over 50 yards and has pinned the opponents inside their 20-yard line on four ocassions as well.
Scouting the Lions
The Lions have played just one game so far this season in which they put up 380 total yards of offense (113 rushing and 267 passing).
Calling the plays for Mount St. Joseph will be freshman Quinn Farrell. Last week against Augustana, Farrell completed 21-of-40 passes for 245 yards and tossed three TD passes. He also rushed for 17 yards on two carries.
Expect to see the Lions line up with one person in the backfield as a running back with senior Chuck McCall getting the start. McCall has a team-leading 92 yards on 12 carries and has caught three passes for 17 yards. Also look for junior Mike Williams to see playing time in a backup role. Coming into the game against DC, he has carried the ball nine times for 25 yards and scored once.
At the wide receiver position, look for junior Ronnell Colbert, freshman Garrett Weaver, freshman A.J. Glines and junior Casey Cox to start. Colbert leads the team in receptions with eight for 48 yards, while Weaver leads the team in reception yardage (152) and touchdowns (three). He has caught four passes so far this season and is averaging 38.0 yards per catch.
Defensively, MSJ gave up 522 yards last week against Augustana (285 rushing and 237 passing).
The Lions line up in a traditional 4-3 scheme, but will start only three upperclassmen. Up front, MSJ will start a junior, two sophomores in a freshman. Freshman Dustin Applegate leads the "front four" in tackles with four (two solo and two assists).
At linebacker, Sophomore Colby Webb, junior Kevin McHale and freshman Tyler Robinson are listed as the starters. Webb leads the team in tackles with 10 (four solo and six assists), followed by McHale with eight stops (six solo and two assists) to go along with three tackles for loss, including a pair of quarterback sacks. Robinson has added two tackles (one solo and one assist) so far this season.
The MSJ secondary will feature senior Marvin Draper and sophomore Kenny Thornton at the corners and sophomore Jermaine Drake and freshman Tyler Hannah at the safety positions. Draper has made four tackles (two solo and two assists) and Thornton is fifth on the team in tackles with six (one solo and five assists). Drake is part of a three-player tie for second in tackles with eight (four solo and four assists) and Hannah has added four sopts (three solo and one assist) and has the team's only interception.
On special teams, both the kicking and punting duties will be the responsibility of senior Shane Kelly. He is one-of-one in field goal attempts and a perfect four-of-four in extra points. As a punter, he is averaging 33.4 yards per punt with a season-long kick of 45 yards.