The Fighting Lions of Southwestern Assemblies of God University will travel to Ottawa, Kansas, this week to take of the Braves of Ottawa University. This is the third consecutive week for SAGU to hit the trail, before the Lions return home next week.
Ottawa (1-2) defeated Tabor College 35-26 to open its season, but has lost to Friends University (24-9) and University of St. Mary 24-9 in its last two games.
SAGU has lost its last two outings by a total of nine points, last week to Kansas Wesleyan 30-28, and the Fighting Lions (0-4) are more than ready to enter the win column for the first time this season.
Quarterback Kevin Mikeska leads the Brave offense. He has thrown for 489 yards in the first three games, while Robbie DuBois and Vashon Perryman share duties carrying the ball. Chris Simms is the leading receiver for Ottawa with almost half the team catches.
Defensively the Braves swarm. Tackles leaders are Brandon Smith, Earl Morning, Gabe Lopez, Bob Risch Jermaine Thomas, and Thomas Shaw.
Three Brave players registered 11 tackles each last week against Friends University.
Chris Eiland is leading the SAGU rushing attack this season with 71 carries for 395 yards. Jason Rice, 27-136, and Brandon Smiley, 35-130, have seen several carries as well. Passing wise the Lion offense utilizes the throwing abilities of Joseph Garcia and Jason Rice.
The receiving corps for SAGU is led by Taylor Wallis with 13 snares for 165 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Colvin has 12 catches for 86 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively the Lions have several players in double figures: Joe Muse (33 tackles, 2.5 sacks), Ryan Muhlman (28 tackles), Willie Mitchell (27 tackles, 2 tfl), Tim Puckett (19 tackles, 1 tfl), Ryan McCray (17 tackles, 2.5 tfl, 1 sack), Shaunderrick Scott (17 tackles, 1 tfl, 1 sack), Jason Jenkins (15 tackles), Jerod Hudgins (14 tackles, 1.5 tfl, 1 sack), Dominique Phelps (11 tackles), Anderson Warrick (10 tackles) and Cody Johnson (10 tackles).
The defense has made seven interceptions so far this season: Ryan Muhlman (2), Tim Puckett (2), Willie Mitchell, Derek Brewer and Kenneth Wuerch.
“Defensively Ottawa is a little bit ahead of their offense,” SAGU head coach Jesse Godding said. “They throw the ball a little bit. They picked up a lot of junior college kids this year, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
“I feel that we made good strides last week even though we lost the game,” Godding said of his Fighting Lions. Our defense did improve. Our young freshmen are getting better every week.
“We feel this is a good opportunity to win first game of year. Certainly that is what we are working for. I anticipate a tight ball game, maybe coming down to the last drive. Their offensive scheme might give us a little problem, but the same can be said for us. We have rushed for more than 200 yards per game the last two weeks and if we can continue to do that we will have a good chance.
“Defensively Ottawa runs a 3-4 scheme and tries to bring a lot of pressure. They blitz more than we have seen this year. It should be exciting for our offensive line,” Coach Godding stated.
Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m., Saturday, at Peoples Bank Field on the campus of Ottawa University.