This week the Spartans of Aurora University (1-1 in the league and 3-2 overall) come to town in hopes of upsetting the Falcons on their homecoming tomorrow. CUW, tied for first with Lakeland, is coming off a big win against the BU Eagles, the team that beat the Spartans one week earlier.
Aurora returns nine starters to what was already the league's best defense in 2008. This will pose a threat to a Falcon offense that will have to compete without the presence of their senior quarterback TJ Pacchioli, who went down last week with a season-ending ACL injury. The Spartans boast a preseason All-American, Pat Funk, in their defensive front. They like to put pressure on opposing offenses by blitzing, and mixing their multiple defensive fronts.
The Falcons offensive line will have to step up and play physical football in order for the Concordia offense to be productive. Look for the Spartans to stack the box with eight and nine players in order to stop the Falcons running game and force CUW to pass. Kasiem Duran, the NAC Offensive Player of the Week, will need another stellar day to get Concordia into the end zone. Last week he ran for 99 yards and caught passes for 60 more.
Keys to victory:
The Falcons will need to find a way to make the Spartans play with seven defenders in the box by passing and taking shots down the field when they can. The jury was still out as of this writing as to who will take Pacchioli's place behind center for Concordia. They will also have to run the ball productively against eight defenders in the box and the Falcon's defense will have to slow the Spartan offense and create turnovers as they did last week in the process of overpowering Benedictine.
My prediction is the Falcons will win 20-17