Written by Daniel Whitehead and Wesley Evans
Southern Virginia University vs. North Carolina Wesleyan College
Date: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Place: Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium (Rocky Mount, N.C.)
Southern Virginia all-time versus N.C. Wesleyan: 1-2
Last Meeting: Sept. 8, 2012 at Southern Virginia (W, 24-14)
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The Southern Virginia University football team will travel to Rocky Mount, N.C., this Saturday to play North Carolina Wesleyan College in its first road test of the 2013 season. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams, with N.C. Wesleyan leading the all-time series, 2-1. The Battling Bishops will look to avenge its 2012 loss to the Knights when Southern Virginia earned a 24-14 victory in its home opener. Last year's back-and-forth contest had both teams tied 14-14 entering into the final quarter of play before the Knights outscored N.C. Wesleyan 10-0 in the last 15 minutes of the game to seal the victory.
Both teams will enter this week's contest with an 0-1 record as N.C. Wesleyan fell to a tough Stevenson University (Owings Mills, Md.) squad, 19-9, last week, while Southern Virginia lost its season opener, 33-20, to Methodist University. This will be N.C. Wesleyan's home opener and first time playing back at the Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium since 2007.
Fitzgerald on North Carolina Wesleyan
"They have a brand new coaching staff and a lot of new players. No. 4, Jacques Alston, their tailback, is as good as we'll face this year. He fits the mold of Barry Sanders and is a great player. We're going to have to tackle him to have a chance to win the football game.
"They're very good at play-action passing. They're going to rotate Dustin Midgett and Robbie Lanier. They're both great quarterbacks and we expect their play-action passing to be pretty good this week.
"Up front, No. 74 Samuel Herring, is a three-year starter and is a great left tackle. Beside him, No. 64 Quentin Pittman is a good football player. Their center, Martin Brazwell, is a good football player.
"Their run game is potent and will be difficult to stop. They have a very, very good run game. No. 35, James Wallace, has been a good football player for a few years now. No. 42, Wesley Thompson, a linebacker, is a good player and we'll need to keep an eye on him and block him.
"Last week, a true freshman, Rocky Carlisle, had a big game last week. They have a great defensive line, too.
Fitzgerald on what was learned last week against Methodist
"We've got to execute better on both sides of the ball and play at a little faster pace. Offensively, we have to learn to finish. We didn't convert two 4th-and-1s. We had a 4th-and-goal on the one-yard line and didn't score. We have to finish those drives. We have to learn to convert and finish on offense.
"On defense, we need to play at a quicker pace and execute what we're doing. Special teams-wise, we were okay last week. We've worked even harder on special teams this week and put in a few wrinkles. We're executing better and moving at a faster speed."
Southern Virginia Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald
DeLane Fitzgerald is in his fifth season as head football coach at Southern Virginia and is in his 12th year of coaching collegiate football, making previous stops at his alma mater James Madison University (NCAA DI-FCS), the University of Tennessee at Martin (NCAA DI-FCS) and Bethel College (NAIA).
In his four-plus years as Southern Virginia's head coach, Fitzgerald has posted a 16-29 overall record, including back-to-back 4-7 seasons in 2010 and 2011 and 5-6 in 2012.
Fitzgerald became the winningest coach in Southern Virginia football's 10-year history in 2011, passing Mike Smith who went 9-13 overall from 2007-08.
North Carolina Wesleyan College Head Coach Jeff Filkovski
Jeff Filkovski was named the head football coach at North Carolina Wesleyan in the spring of 2013. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Filkovski joined the Battling Bishops after a five-year stint at Marietta College and is the third head coach in program history.
Before coaching at Marietta College, Filkovski served as an offensive coordinator at Heidelberg University where he led the offense to a top five Ohio Athletic Conference ranking in nine different statistical categories. As a result, he was named the conference's co-Assistant Coach of the year in 2007.
Other coaching positions he's had include offensive coordinator for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe and quarterbacks coach at the College of Holy Cross, Thomas More College, and Division I University of Cincinnati. Filkovski is leading the Battling Bishops in its tenth season of football.