Written by Aldean Starr, Staff Writer
After coming off a dominant 31-3 victory against the Winston-Salem University football team, the Valdosta State Blazers are set to face off against the Cumberland University Bulldogs this Saturday. The Blazers are coming in at a perfect record of 2-0 while the Bulldogs stand at a record of 1-2.
Defense has been a key role in the Blazers two victories this season after holding Albany State to 79 rushing yards and 13 points in their first game of the season. And the Blazers held Winston-Salem State to 178 passing yards and only 3 points were allowed in the Blazers second victory this season. The Blazers look to continue this strong effort, especially this week after Cumberland posted a total of 495 yards of offense in the past week which resulted in a loss. Blazers defense must be conscious to limit Bulldogs quarterback Justin Snyder’s opportunities, after he contributed five touchdown passes last week. Blazers look to slow down Snyder who has been on fire after throwing nine touchdown passes in only three games so far this season. One spark for the Blazers is that the Bulldogs have struggled to protect their quarterback after allowing seven sacks so far this season. That should give confidence to the Blazers defense who has really been able to get pressure this season.
The Blazers offense must also show up, because Cumberland has proven that they can score big, after scoring 41 points in their last game. Blazers offense starts with the run game which has not been bad this season. But it can be way better with two running backs that have each rushed for over 2500 yards in their collegiate careers. Neither one has had a game where they have rushed for over 80 yards this season, but coming off a bye week, it is expected that the run game will improve and open hole in the passing game for the new quarterback, EJ Hilliard.
As for injuries, linebacker Thomas Wright should be returning this week after a broken hand kept him out for about a month. Thomas is excited to be able to get back on the field and stated that “it’s been a long time coming since getting back to play alongside my boys”.
“I’m looking for a large turnout for the first home game of the season,” said Wright.
A large turnout can be expected for this weekend’s game, because it’s VSU’s first home game as well as Parent’s Weekend. Kick-off is this Saturday at 4 p.m.