BUENA VISTA, Va. Coming off the first win over Guilford, and an ODAC foe, the road gets even tougher for the Southern Virginia football team as they travel to face off with NCAA D.III national power, Wesley. A season of firsts continued for the Knights, as they scored the convincing 36-21 win over the Quakers in a homecoming win. Wesley had an easy time in a game against SVU rival, Apprentice, recording a 64-7 win. Wesley has been a perennial power in D.III football, and SVU will have its hands full with the Wolverines
Currently Wesley sits as the number three team in NCAA D.III football. The Wolverines have won the Atlantic Central Football Conference every year since 2005. Last season the Wolverines were NCAA D.III semifinalists, falling to perennial power Mount Union, 24-7. This season, Wesley sits at 6-0, and is 2-0 in conference play. Wesley has one more coference game against Salisbury, and is looking to be the team to wear the conference championship crown again. The Wolverines, have been consistent players in the South Region of D.III, as they have won three out of the last five Region Championships.
Wesley made quick work of Apprentice, as they rattled off 64-straight points before allowing Apprentice to get a consolation touchdown in the dying stages of the fourth quarter. The game was done before the first half ended, as Wesley put up 35-points in the first quarter alone. The Wolverines scored on six consecutive drives, and limited Apprentice to only 53-yards the entire game. Wesley's run defense was stifling, as they held the builders to negative yards in the entire game. The hosts ended with 426-yards of total offense, and punted only twice for the entire game.
Wesley is averaging 470.2 yards per game, with the bulk of that average coming from the passing game. Junior quarterback, Justin Sottilare, has thrown for over 1700-yards, and has connected for 20-touchdowns. The Wolverines average302.5 yards through the air, and 167.7 on the ground. Sophomore, Brandon Wright, has been the workhorse for Wesley, with 88-rushes, and 562-yards. He has 8-touchdowns for his efforts. Ellis Krout is the main threat in the receiving game, having pulled down 30-receptions for 537-yards, and 9-touchdowns. Defensively, Wesley is led by Mike Asiedu, and the team has three defensive touchdowns on the season.
This will be the first matchup between the two teams. SVU and Wesley have faced similar opponents in the past, as Apprentice, and Frostburg State play in the ACFC. Wesley has already beaten both teams this season. Apprentice is the traditional rival for the Knights, and Frostburg faced off with SVU in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
The Knights made history for the program when they beat Guilford on Oct. 9. No SVU team had ever scored a victory over the Quakers. The Knights were 0-3 going in to the game, and the win was a program first. The win also gave the Knights the first win against an Old Dominion Athletic Conference in the history of the program. With the win, SVU was also able to register a winning record against D.III foes. With a program first win over Ferrum, SVU is 2-1 against D.II teams, as they lost earlier in the season to Bridgewater.
The matchup with Wesley represents the fourth matchup against a D.III foe this season. It also represents the third straight matchup against a D.III school. The string started with a game to Bridgewater, and included last weeks win over Guilford. The D.III schools are the most prevalent on the schedule for the Knights, as they face the four previously mentioned teams. Two D.II schools were on the slate, with Apprentice being the lone USCAA opponent, and Lindsey Wilson, Kentucky Christian and Webber International representing the NAIA on the schedule.
Senior linebacker, Matt Mellor, had ten tackles in the game against the Quakers. The tackles gave him a grand total of 252 total tackles, and place him only 11-tackles behind SVU career tackles leader, Shea Owens. With a potent Wesley offense, Mellor will have plenty of opportunities to get the record.
With a Byron Tillery PAT-block, the Knights have now registered a blocked kick in four straight games. The streak is a program record. Dylan Dikes had three straight kicks in games prior to Tillery's block.
The game against the Quakers was also noteworthy from a special teams perspective, as Chad John scooped up Tillery's block, and ran back the 97-yards for a SVU touchback. The score was the first time in program history that a touchback had been score for the Knights after a blocked PAT. What was even more remarkable was Guilford mirrored the blocked PAT-touchback in the fourth quarter after and SVU rushing touchdown.