Centre to face Rhodes

September 17, 2004|JILL ERWIN

Andy Frye knows his Centre College Colonels will have an uphill battle this week.

The Colonels (1-1) are heading into their Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opener on the road against Rhodes Saturday. But the Lynx (1-1) already have a loss on their SCAC ledger, and a second one would all but eliminate them from postseason hopes.

"It's our (conference) opener, but it probably means even more for them," Frye said. "If you get two losses, that just about puts you out of the hunt. For us to get off on the right foot, you've got to win your opener. That's our goal, to win the conference and get an NCAA (playoff) bid.

"We're not trying to make this game any different than we would have any other."

Both teams are coming off wins, Rhodes on a late touchdown and Centre in a rout of Kenyon.

The Lynx beat Maryville on a 9-yard touchdown pass with two minutes, 15 seconds left last week. Rhodes' senior quarterback Daniel Swanstrom was the co-SCAC offensive player of the year last year with Centre's Lorenzo Engleman. Swanstrom completed 18 of 31 passes for 187 yards against Maryville. He is 39-for-70 for 444 yards and three scores in Rhodes' two games.


"He's their spark plug, and he makes things happen. He can take a bad play and make a good play out of it," Frye said. "He throws the ball well on the run, and he's not afraid to tuck it and run, so that puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

Centre has several top offensive players

Centre's offense came through in a 54-27 win over Kenyon last year. Several Colonels are near or at the top of the SCAC offensive statistical categories:

* Brian Behrendt is the second-ranked quarterback, completing 39 of 76 passes for 511 yards and six touchdowns;

* David Crowley is the SCAC's leading receiver, snagging 14 passes for 201 yards and three scores;

* Adam Blandford is No. 1 in all-purpose yardage with 167 rushing, 139 receiving and 62 on kick returns.

The Colonels are averaging 39 points a game to Rhodes' 15.5. Centre is also looking forward to the return of running back Jeremy Britt, who missed last week's game with an injury.

"He's all set to go," Frye said. "We're finally at a point where I think we're pretty healthy going into the game. I'm looking forward to seeing (Britt) break out.

"I think (his return) gives us much more dimension in our attack. Now we certainly can develop a running game. If Brian Behrendt continues to play the way he's been playing, I think we can stretch their defense with our passing game, and that opens up our running game."

Defense ranks last in conference

Centre's defense is another story. The Colonels rank last in the conference in team defense, giving up 374 yards a game, and are also the worst at turnover margin at minus-2.

"We're trying to fine-tune some of the things we do in our secondary to make sure we're more sound in our techniques," Frye said. "We're a very young secondary; two of the three back there are first-year players. We're OK up front, we just need to continue to play together as a defense. We've just made mental mistakes. Those happen early in the year, but I don't expect that to happen anymore."

Frye does think his team will go into this game more prepared. After not seeing much information on Kenyon and Bluffton the first two weeks, the Colonels' staff now has two games worth of film on Rhodes.

"We didn't have anything on Kenyon and Bluffton to give us, as a coaching staff, an idea of what to tell the kids to expect," Frye said. "You had some parameters, but they could do anything. With two films, I know more what to expect from them."

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