GLENVILLE - Homecoming for Glenville State here 1:30 p.m. Saturday inside Morris Stadium will pit the host Pioneers against West Virginia Wesleyan in a battle of 1-3 Mountain East Conference programs.
Both squads are 1-2 in the MEC and are trying to find some traction as the season nears the halfway point.
GSC's defense has been stellar this year and is ranked No. 8 in the nation out of 162 teams. However, costly turnovers, red zone ineffectiveness (160th) and a lack of offense has hurt head coach David Hutchison's team.
"Our defense has really been playing lights out. They've been playing really well," said the coach, who has watched Darren Elliott snag four interceptions (tied 2nd in the country). "Last week Urbana (12-9 GSC loss) was statistically the top offense in the conference and we held them to 222 total yards and had four turnovers."
The Bobcats are coming off a 45-10 home drubbing at the hands of Shepherd. However, Wesleyan was without the services of starting quarterback Jeremy Mussleman, who Hutchison thinks will return this week. Due to another injury, former Parkersburg South signal-caller Tyler Bolen stepped in for the Bobcats and saw his first Division II action. The freshman went 12-of-23 for 147 yards and had a touchdown pass to LaVaughn Hughes.
Wesleyan has yet to have anyone on its team amass 100 yards rushing overall this year. The Bobcats do feature senior defensive lineman Marcus Spearman, who has seven sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.
Glenville State to be honored
- Glenville State's 1973 NAIA national runner-up team will be honored this weekend during the Pioneers' 1:30 p.m. Saturday homecoming game against visiting W.Va. Wesleyan at Morris Stadium. The 1973 squad went 9-0 in the regular season and a plethora of Mid-Ohio Valley names dotted the roster and coaching staff.
- Head coach Bill Hanlin
- Assistant coach Bob Summers
- Bernie Buttrey (DE)
- Scott Hamilton (All-American LB, deceased)
- John Pratt (RB)
- Bill Garrison (OL)
- Steve Buffington (WR)
- Rick Lemley (RB)
- Steve Deem (OL)
- Stu Deem (TE)
- Dan Clevenger (DT)
- Chuck Barker (LB)
- Roger Bonnett (DB)
- Tim McCartney (DE)
- Richard Conaway (DL)
- Donnie Evans (OL)
- Joe Mitchem (QB)
- Steve Parker (OL)
- Mike Robinson (FB)
- Les Facemyer (WR)
- Jay Chambers (K)
- Ed Wilson (FB, Marshall transfer/ineligible)
- Larry Wolfe (K)
- Gerald Matheny (WR)
"We're excited to play this week and we want to get things turned around," said Hutchison, who noted Sean Steele will continue to start at quarterback.
"We had nine dropped balls last week and we've got to do a better job of catching the football and not making mental errors."
Hutchison also noted the play of Wesleyan wideout Connor Arlia, a West Virginia University transfer, who has 25 catches for 324 yards.
"They've got two of the best wide receivers in the conference," he said. "We've got to try and get the ball out of the quarterback's hand quickly."
Rahman Lee is 23rd nationally in rushing yards per game at nearly 120 an outing. That's allowed the G-men to have an average time of possession of more than 33 minutes, which is good for 15th in D-II. Only six teams are worse nationally than the Bobcats in TOP.
Current St. Marys assistant coach Bill Hanlin was the head coach of the '73 team, which started the year with a long road trip in Hilldsale, Mich., then ran through the West Virginia Conference schedule to a 9-0 record.
"They were one of the top NAIA programs in the country," said former PHS head coach Bernie Buttrey, who was a defensive end for the Pioneers. "We drove 13 hours up there and beat them in a pretty close game."
At that time, the NAIA only allowed four teams to participate in the postseason. Glenville State was able to play its national semifinal in Ripley and managed to beat a squad from Carthage, Wis., on a muddy field. The G-men lost a low-scoring game to Northwest Iowa in the title game, which was played at old Fairfield Stadium in Huntington.
"They scored late in the fourth (quarter) to go ahead and won the national championship," Buttrey added. "It was close, but no cigar."