By Wesley Evans
Southern Virginia University (1-8, 1-5 NJAC) vs. William Paterson University (3-6, 1-5 NJAC)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014
Kickoff: 12 p.m.
Location: The Fields (Buena Vista, Va.)
All-time vs. William Paterson: First Meeting
In its final game of the 2014 regular season, Southern Virginia University will host New Jersey Athletic Conference opponent William Paterson University this Saturday at noon for Senior Appreciation Day at The Fields.
Last week, the Knights made history as they earned their first NJAC win, first win at The Fields and first win under first-year head coach Jason Walker in a 28-21 victory over The College of New Jersey. Southern Virginia will look to pick up its second straight win as it hosts the Pioneers.
Quarterback Mitch Stevenson leads the passing attack for Southern Virginia, throwing for 1,649 total yards with 13 touchdowns on 136 completions. The Muskogee, Oklahoma, native threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns in last week's win. Junior wide receiver Kyler Harris is Stevenson's go-to receiver as he owns a team-best 567 yards receiving on 41 receptions and five touchdowns, while tight end Michael Carroll has 16 receptions of his own for 281 yards.
Senior Jerry Washington—who sat out last week due to injury—leads the ground attack for the Knights, accumulating 385 yards on 138 rushes, while also earning 160 yards receiving on 18 receptions.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive back Matthew Gregory—who garnered NJAC Defensive Player of the Week accolades last week—leads all Southern Virginia players with 82 tackles—9.1 tackles per game—to go along with a team-best three interceptions. Senior linebackers Colter Evans and Robert Robbins have brought down 81 and 75 opposing players, respectively, through nine games.
William Paterson enters this week's matchup having beat The College of New Jersey 21-0, before dropping its last two contests to Morrisville State and SUNY Cortland in its most recent games.
Through the air, quarterback Austin Fellows leads the Pioneers' offensive attack with 1914 yards passing (145-of-276) and 13 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Anthony DiMarsico and Darius Kersey are the main receivers for William Paterson, accumulating 39 and 29 receptions, respectively, for a combined 1,141 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns on the year.
The ground attack for the Lions is led by running back Matt Deiana, who has registered 671 yards rushing on 77 carries with four touchdowns.
Defensively, Ben Allen leads the Pioneers with 91 tackles—44 solo and 47 assisted—and two forced fumbles on the year.
Walker on William Paterson
"They're very similar to us in that they have one NJAC win this year over the same opponent, The College of New Jersey, which they beat 21-0 a couple of weeks ago. They also lost a very close game to Kean just like we did.
"Their defense plays really hard. They fly around, they're athletic, aggressive in their calls. It will be a good challenge for our offense. Statistically, they're a little bit better than The College of New Jersey on the defensive side.
"On offense, they air it out all over the place and run very little. It will be a good challenge for our secondary, which hasn't really been tested the past few weeks like they were all season. As we're fully aware, that's been one of our weaknesses in giving up the deep ball in most of our games. It will be a good test for our defense to see the passing game one more time to see how much we've improved.
"On offense, we're looking for consistency and to finish strong. We're looking for a complete game in all facets, including our special teams play.
"We want to go out with a win. It's big for offseason morale, recruiting and lots of different things. Both our teams are near the bottom of the conference standings, so we're both hoping to go into the offseason with confidence by getting a big win Saturday. It should be a good game."
Southern Virginia Head Coach Jason Walker
Jason Walker enters his first season as head coach of the football program after being named to the position in April. Walker served as a defensive graduate assistant the past four years at Brigham Young University, where he learned defensive schemes from head coach Bronco Mendenhall and some of the nation's top defensive assistants.
William Paterson Head Coach Jerry Flora
Jerry Flora is in his seventh season at the helm of the William Paterson football program and 13th season as part of the Pioneer coaching staff. Prior to William Paterson, Flora coached the wide receivers at his alma mater Iona College—Division I-AA—after coaching at FDU-Flordham as the offensive line coach.