WILMINGTON – The word for the week with the Wilmington College football team this week is compete. With the top-ranked Mount Union Purple Raiders rolling into town, the Quakers know what lies ahead. (Game Notes)
"Do the kids want to compete?" said interim head coach Jay Niswonger. "Are they gonna accept getting hit in the face all game, because they are gonna hit you in the face."
Mount Union comes into the game riding a 67-game regular season winning streak and a 106-game regular season road-winning streak. The Purple Raiders haven't allow a touchdown in three games, and only one – a fourth quarter tally in the opener – all season long.
"Mount Union isn't a good football team, they are a great football team," said interim head coach Jay Niswonger. "That is why they are the No. 1 team in the nation. They don't have any flaws."
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Burke has taken over the reign of the Mount Union offense. He is completing 65.8 percent of his passes (52-of-79) for 902 yards and nine touchdowns. With the Purple Raiders playing in so many blowouts this season, back-up signal caller Roman Namder has gotten his share of playing time. Namder has completed 13 of his 14 attempts for 182 yards and two scores.
A school that has produced two current NFL receivers, senior Chris Denton is this year's favorite target. Denton's 22 receptions is more than twice the total of the Purple Raiders' second receiver, Jasper Collins. However, Collins has a team-high four touchdown receptions in his 10 catches as he Mount Union's big-play threat. He averages 25.8 yards per catch, compared to Denton's 15.2
When they take to the ground, the Purple Raiders have five different players that have found the end zone – led by T. J. Lattimore. The senior has scored six times this season and leads the team with 89.8 yards per game. He is averaging almost seven yards per carry.
Wilmington's defense will no doubt be tested, but they are definitely played better than the number dictate. The score from Saturday's game says they yielded 45 points, but 20 of those were a direct result of special teams miscues.
Sophomore Gunner Calhoun leads the Quakers, and is second in the OAC, with 44 tackles. The return of cornerback LaVonte' Darby should also help Wilmington. The senior ups the level of toughness in the WC secondary.
Defensive back Nick Driskill is the leader of the Mount Union defense, with 25 tackles and two forced fumble.
Offensively, the Quakers are still searching for some kind of momentum, but struggles along the offensive line have hampered the effectiveness.
"It all starts upfront," said Niswonger. "Right now are having all kinds of complications."
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, October 6 at Williams Stadium's Townsend Field.