Benedict College takes on Lenoir-Rhyne Bears on Saturday in a redemption game of sorts in the Division II playoffs.
“It’s going to be a good football game,” said Benedict head coach Chennis Berry. “But it’s never about the opponent. We’re going to respect all our opponents, but we’ve got to make sure we focus on us and focus on the small things we always talk about – winning the effort battle, winning the penalty battle, winning the turnover battle, and winning the explosive battle. We feel if we can win those four battles, we have a chance to win a football game.”
The game kicks off at 1 p.m. at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.
The 11-0 Tigers are the No. 1 seed in Super Region 2 for the second year in a row and had a bye last week. Last year, the Tigers were upset by Wingate 23-6 in the second round. And the Tigers will be up against a stellar defense for the second year in a row.
Benedict comes into the contest with the nation’s best scoring defense, allowing opponents 8.5 points per game. The 11-1 Bears, champions of the South Atlantic Conference, are third in that stat category, allowing just 11.1 points per game.
Benedict ranks second in total defense, allowing just 207.7 yards per game, while Lenoir-Rhyne ranks fourth, allowing 232.6 yards per game. The Bears rank eighth-best against the run (79.7 yards per game), while Benedict ranks first in passing yards allowed (121.4).
It will be a battle to see which top-ranked defense prevails against a potent offense. The Bears average 40.2 points per game and are coming off a 63-17 first-round playoff victory over Shepherd. Standout running back Dwayne McGee has rushed for over 1,200 yards with nine touchdowns.
Benedict averaged 41 points per game and has not scored less than 27 points in a game this season. The Tigers are coming off a 47-10 victory over Albany State two weeks ago in the SIAC championship game, where they amassed a season-high 563 yards of offense.
“Defense wins championships,” Berry said. “There are two good defenses and two good offenses. We’ll see what it looks like when it’s all said and done. Lenoir-Rhyne is a good football team and a good football program, but so are we.”
That’s something the Tigers felt they learned after last year’s loss to Wingate.
“That was learning lessons,” Berry said. “It comes down to discipline. It’s not going to be about a maximum of talent from another team; it’s about us making sure we take care of the small things. It was a good experience for us to get the opportunity to go through the playoffs last year, but it’s a new team and a new season.”
Senior defensive lineman Loobert Denelus, the two-time SIAC Defensive Player of the Year, said the team learned they need to have more focus in the playoffs.
“Last year kind of left a bad taste in our mouth, so we want to learn from our mistakes,” Denelus said. “We know we haven’t played our best ball yet, so we want to go do that this Saturday. We know it’s going to take a lot of discipline and a lot of leadership on our part and for us to execute our assignments.”
Wilberforce University will be the third HBCU to form a gymnastics program. https://twitter.com/hbcusports1/status/1759267653254873187?s=46&t=NPFjWlxAzW3wZ9iBa1Vfzw “The introduction of a gymnastics team aligns with our commitment to provide inclusive athletic programs...
The Celebration Bowl champion Florida A&M Rattlers have added a transfer from the College Football Playoff champions. Graduate transfer Jerome Nichols, a Michigan linebacker, announced his commitment to...