Campbell’s rough season got even rougher last weekend with a 28-21 homecoming loss to previously winless Davidson. Davidson raced out to a 14-0 1st quarter lead on the strength of two Jonathan Carkhuff touchdown passes. The Camels failed to score in the first quarter for the 7th straight game. Two more TDs in the 3rd quarter gave Davidson a seemingly insurmountable 28-0 lead. However, the Camels finally got on the scoreboard :06 into the 4th quarter on a Brandon Chandler 9-yard run. QB Dakota Wolf capped a 10-play, 87-yard drive with a 3-yard run to cut the margin to 28-14 with 4:12 left in the game. After a failed onside kick, the Camels’ defense stiffened, sacking Carkhuff twice and forcing a 3-and-out. Campbell then marched 84 yards in 10 plays with Wolf again scoring, making it a 7-point game with 1:16 remaining. However, the onside kick again failed and Davidson escaped with a 28-21 victory.
The Camel passing game again sputtered as Wolf was just 8 of 22 for 80 yards and 1 interception. The ground game accounted for 236 yards with Wolf leading the way, gaining 154 yards on 22 attempts and the 2 TDs. Chandler added 71 yards and 1 score. Kurt Odom was the leading receiver with 3 grabs for 31 yards. Steth Monore paced the defense with 12 tackles and Michael Rudisill added 11. Isaac Scott had a huge day rushing the passer with 3 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Davidson outgained Campbell 404-316, gaining 340 of those yards through the air.
This weekend, the Camels hit the road to face Morehead State.
Morehead State University
Location: Morehead, KY (population: 6,845 as of 2010 census)
Established: The school was founded in 1887 as Morehead Normal School, a church-supported teacher-training school. It was taken over by the state in 1922. The school’s name changed as its mission broadened—to Morehead State Normal School and Teachers College in 1926, Morehead State Teachers College in 1930, Morehead State College in 1948 and Morehead State University in 1966.
Affiliation: MSU is a charter member of the Ohio Valley Conference in NCAA Division I and sponsors 18 intercollegiate sports for men and women, with all sports except football competing in the OVC.
Random Fact #1: The 2013 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report named MSU one of the top 25 public universities in the South.MSU has also become one of only four universities in the U.S. to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in space science.
Random Fact #2: The coed and all-girl cheerleading squads have won a combined 32 national championships.
Random Fact #3: At the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, 13th-seeded Morehead State upset Louisville 62-61. The Eagles then faced 12th-seeded Richmond in the third round, which was only the ninth time in tournament history that a 12–13 match-up occurred in the round of 32.
Random Fact #4: MSU has claimed the state’s best computer-student ratio in its computer laboratories, as well as offering students a program to lease university owned laptops while enrolled. The campus is ranked among the safest in the nation.
- former MLB 2B Denny Doyle
- Denver Nuggets F Kenneth Faried
- professional bowlers Liz Johnson and Kelly Kulick
- MLB pitcher Jon Rauch
- former NFL QB and current broadcaster Phil Simms
- former MLB pitcher Walt Terrell
- former college football coach and current broadcaster Mike Gottfried
- game show host Chuck Woolery
Notable natives of Morehead, KY:
- None listed
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- Morehead State is 1-6 (0-4 in the PFL) and has lost 6 consecutive games following a 55-0 season-opening win over Southern Virginia. Both teams have lost to Drake (MSU 28-25 and CU 35-7) and Butler (MSU 39-35 and CU 35-14).
- Morehead State was picked 8th in the preseason coaches poll, ahead of only Valparaiso and Davidson.
- The teams have split the 4 previous games with each team winning twice at home. Campbell took last year’s contest 41-31 after losing in double overtime in 2010.
- The Eagles suffered a heartbreaking 39-35 loss to Butler last weekend after leading by 17 points in the 4th quarter. The offense put up 505 yards but the team could not hold the 3-score lead late in the game.
- QB Zach Lewis threw for 254 yards and 1 TD while Rees Macshara ran for 116 yards. Kevin Thomas and Brandon Bornhouser combined for 3 short TD runs.
- Donte Sawyer led the receiving corps with 9 catches for 92 yards and 1 TD while MacShara added 8 for 85.
- Dillion Blackburn led the defense with 11 tackles and 1.5 TFL.
- Head Coach Matt Ballard is in his 19th season as head coach at Morehead State. The school won four straight PFL South Division titles from 2002 to 2005. He also spent 6 seasons as the head coach at Union College (KY). He also spent time as an assistant at Gardner-Webb, Georgetown (KY) and Morehead State.
- Defensive line coach Chris Garner won an NAIA national title while playing for Findlay. Offensive line coach Matt McCutchan was a 3-year starter on the line for Kentucky.
- Stat Leaders:
- Lewis – 177 of 281 for 1,826 yards with 14 TD and 9 INT
- Macshara – 86 carries for 492 yards (2 TD)
- Thomas – 4 TD (7 carries, 9 yards)
- Sawyer – 47 receptions, 471 yards, 4 TD
- Hendrix – 84 tackles
- Aaron Meadows – 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks
- 3 players have 1 INT each
- Kameron Scott – 13 pass breakups
- Nick McCune – 2 forced fumbles
- Best Name Nominees:
- K Rainer Duzan, QB Boone Goldsmith, SLOT Cyrus Stahm, DB Rayquan Sam, LB Russell Wilson, WR Shade Whitfield,
- The winner – RUSSELLWILSON!!!
For the second week in a row, the Camels take on a team with a poor record. This matchup of 1-6 teams will give one team its first conference victory. The Camels also play winless Valparaiso later this season so opportunities for wins still exist, but the team must play better. The lack of any semblance of a passing attack has no doubt hurt the running game this season. QB Jordan Wolf is a threat on the ground but the offense has not done enough to win. The defense has had its ups and downs also, playing well only in stretches. If scores against common opponents means anything (and it’s debatable how much) the Eagles have to be favored here. For the 3rd or 4th week in a row, I am predicting a Fighting Camels point in the 1st quarter – after all, they can’t go the whole season without scoring in the opening period, right? However, the Eagles offense, which put up over 500 yards on Butler last week will have another fine day. I predict the Camels leaving Morehead unhappy after a 30-17 Eagles triumph.
The Fighting Camels return home this weekend for a homecoming tilt with Davidson College. The Camels are licking their humps after a 44-0 thrashing at the hands of the San Diego Toreros last weekend in southern California. The Camels were thoroughly outclassed by San Diego, managing just 79 yards of total offense and 6 first downs while allowing 516 and 26. QB Dakota Wolf completed 14 of 23 passes but gained a paltry 58 yards. Kurt Odom led the team in rushing with 24 yards on 7 carries. However, things could be looking up this weekend with Davidson rolling into Buies Creek as one of only 7 remaining winless FCS teams.
Location: Davidson, NC (population: 10,944 as of 2010 census)
Established: 1837 by the Presbyterians. The college (and the town) was named after Brigadier General William Lee Davidson, a Revolutionary War commander.
Nickname: Wildcats. The nickname was bestowed upon the football team by Atlanta sportswriters in 1917 after Davidson upset undefeated Auburn. [Ed. Note: SEC speed!] Wildcats replaced references to teams as the “Red & Black”, “Preachers”, and “Presbyterians”.
Mascot: Will E. Wildcat.
Affiliation: The Wildcats participate as a member of the Southern Conference in most sports. Sports that compete in other conferences besides football include men’s and women’s swimming and diving in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association, Field Hockey in the Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference and women’s lacrosse in the National Lacrosse Conference.
Random Fact #1: Davidson has the second smallest enrollment of any school in Division I football.
Random Fact #2: According to The Princeton Review, Davidson is ranked among the top twenty colleges nationally for the following categories: “Best Overall Academic Experience For Undergraduates,” “Professors Get High Marks (#1),” “Professors Make Themselves Accessible (#16),” “Students Study the Most(#10),” “School Runs Like Butter (#4),” “Town-Gown Relations are Great (#3),” “Easiest Campus to Get Around (#3),” and “Best Quality of Life (#16).”
Random Fact #3: The men’s basketball program reached the Elite Eight in 2008, defeating Bo Ryan’s open mouth and the Wisconsin Badgers in the third round. The Wildcats lost to the eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks 59–57 in the Elite Eight, capping off an incredible run that saw the rise of Stephen Curry to national prominence.
Random Fact #4: Davidson’s two-man golf croquet team has won the National Collegiate Croquet Championship back-to-back in 2007 and 2008. It also brought home the national trophy again in 2010.
[Ed. Note: Collegiate croquet? Tell me more, United States Croquet Association – “So you’ve never heard of NCAA-sanctioned collegiate croquet tournaments? Never seen the student body turn out en-masse to cheer their colleagues as they try to outwit their opponents on a carpet of green perfection? Never heard the cheerleaders gasp and scream as the team captain makes a 50-foot hit-in?” I haven’t, but I (and MB) will in the future.]
- Laeta Kalogridis, Screenwriter and Hollywood Film Producer (Avatar, Shutter Island)
- NBA player Stephen Curry (did not graduate)
- longtime college AD Terry Holland
- NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn
- John Belk, former head of Belk, Inc and former mayor Charlotte, NC
- author Patricia Cornwell
- Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States (did not graduate)
Notable natives of Davidson, NC:
- NASCAR crew chief Alan Gustafson
- NASCAR driver David Streeme
- NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin
- former MLB pitcher John Candelaria
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- Davidson is 0-6 (0-3 in the PFL) and have been outscored 189-77 on the season. They have no common opponents with the Camels thus far.
- Davidson was picked 9th in the preseason coaches poll, ahead of only Valparaiso. Valpo also remains winless on the season so keep your eye on a potential Pillow Fight of the Week November 10 if both teams keep losing. The Fighting Camels also play Valpo before then so hopefully they don’t spoil a winless matchup that late in the season.
- Davidson leads the all-time series between the two schools 3-1. The Fighting Camels won 26-20 at Davidson in OT last year. Davidson had won the previous three meeting by increasingly competitive scores: 49-0, 24-7 & 28-27.
- Davidson had its closest loss of the season last week in a 34-24 defeat at the hands of Jacksonville.
- WR Lanny Funsten caught a PFL record 17 passes in last Saturday’s contest, totaling 246 yards against Jacksonville. Funsten also broke school records for career receptions and career yardage during the game. The 17 receptions tied a Davidson record while he fell 2 yards shy of the single-game yardage record.
- QB Jonathan Carkhuff threw to others besides Funsten as well, completing 34 of 53 throws for 404 yards.
- LB Patrick Moynahan led the defense with 13 tackles.
- The Wildcats are averaging just 40.7 yards/game, 121st and last in FCS. They are averaging 1.7 yards/carry and have just 1 rushing TD.
- Carkhuff ranks 9th in FCS with 268.0 passing yards/game and 6th in completions/game with 27.5.
- Funsten is T-11th in receptions/game (6.7) and 16th in receiving yards/game (90.0).
- Head Coach Tripp Merritt Merritt was born with spina bifida occulta, which resulted in deformities in his lower spine and nerve damage in his left leg. To this day he has no reflexes in his left leg and back pain surfaces when he tires, sometimes causing a slight limp. His doctors didn’t have an optimistic outlook, telling his parents “He’ll never be able to run.” Merritt’s father was an assistant high school football coach and not one to give up hope easily. He worked with his young son, helped him improve his mobility and stamina. That and sheer determination allowed young Tripp to make his way onto the playing field as early as second grade – football, basketball, baseball. His athletic career continued at Burns High School in Shelby, N.C., where he lettered three times in football and baseball. He now runs three or four miles a day.
- The team runs the Air Raid offense under offensive coordinator Matt Mumme, son of longtime college coach and passing game tactician Hal Mumme. Matt was Tim Couch’s backup at Kentucky.
- Stat Leaders:
- Carkhuff – 165 of 278 for 1,680 yards with 9 TD and 9 INT (46.3 attempts/game)
- Spencer Perry – 55 carries for 253 yards
- Chris Gorman – 1 TD (23 carries, 63 yards)
- Funsten – 40 receptions, 540 yards, 3 TD
- Reese Williams – 3 TD (23 receptions, 241 yards)
- Moynahan – 65 tackles and 9 TFL
- Lewis McAlister – 2 sacks
- 4 players have 1 INT each
- Adam Dulberger 4 pass breakups
- Best Name Nominees:
- WR Desi Dockery, QB Bates Taylor, WR Se’Vaughn Carter, DB Toms Bernhard-Callahan, K/P Chazzo Habliston, WR Houegnon Attenoukon, OL Joey Esposito
- The winner – Chazzo (and his bowtie and serial killer stare)
- The best – Joey Esposito [Ed. Note: I don’t care how many times we’ve already linked to You’re the Best. We’re going to keep doing it.]
Two teams with a combined record of 1-11 so at least one of them will get a win. The Camels have still yet to score in the 1st quarter this season. But what better weekend than homecoming? Davidson is averaging 12.8 points/game, the Camels 10.8. Campbell is allowing 35.8 points/game to the Wildcats’ 31.5. Davidson at least has an effective passing game with an excellent receiver although Campbell has been better defensively against the pass. If Davidson had a serviceable running game I would like their chances a bit more. Home field advantage has not mattered much to Campbell this season, but I think it tips the scales in their favor in this battle of two very bad teams. I foresee a happy bunch of Camels celebrating a 20-19 homecoming victory.
After a week off, the Fighting Camels return to action with a cross-country trip to beautiful San Diego, CA.
University of San Diego
Location: San Diego, CA (population: 1,301,607 as of 2010 census, the 2nd-largest city in California and 8th-largest in the United States)
Established: 1949 as the San Diego College for Women. The San Diego College for Men and a law school were opened in 1954 and all were merged into a co-ed institution in 1972.
Nickname: Toreros. Torero comes from the Spanish term toro, the bull, and from the word torear, to fight bulls. All of the contestants in the ring are called toreros. Torero is a general term describing a bullfighter and signifies courage, honor and fidelity. Before 1961, the USD nickname was the Pioneers.
Mascot: Diego Torero is the mascot and has a terrific mustache.
Affiliation: San Diego is a football-only member of the Pioneer Conference. Most sports compete in the West Coast Conference. The women’s softball program competes in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference and the women’s swimming and diving teams compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Random Fact #1: The philosophy of USD’s founder and her fellow religious folks relied on the belief that studying in beautiful surroundings could improve the educational experience of students. Thus, the university’s buildings are designed in a 16th-century Spanish Renaissance architectural style, paying homage to both San Diego’s Catholic heritage and the Universidad de Alcalá in Spain.
Random Fact #2: The Kroc School of Peace Studies opened in fall 2007. The Joan B. Kroc (wife of McDonald’s financier Ray Kroc) Institute for Peace & Justice was established thanks to Mrs. Kroc’s gift of $75 million “to not only teach peace, but make peace”.
Random Fact #3: In 2007, Toreros’ quarterback Josh Johnson threw for 43 touchdown passes and just 1 interception, a school record. Johnson was taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Johnson, who was recruited to USD by former head coach Jim Harbaugh (2004–06), is the first USD football player to be drafted by an NFL team. In 2012, Johnson signed a free-agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers, the team currently led by Harbaugh, the 49ers’ head coach, although Johnson was released prior to the start of the season.
Random Fact #4: Athletics facilities include the Jenny Craig Pavilion, made possible by a multi-million dollar gift from the weight loss tycoon.
Random Fact #5: The 13th-seeded Toreros upset the University of Connecticut in the first round of the 2008 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament on March 21, 2008. This marked the first time USD had advanced in the tournament, as well as the first time UConn was eliminated in the first round while coached by Jim Calhoun. It was the first NCAA Basketball Tournament win for any San Diego-area university.
- Los Angeles Lakes head coach Mike Brown
- former NBA GM and head coach Bernie Bickerstaff
- former MLB GM Bill Bavasi
- former MLB OF Brady Clark
- former NBA head coach Eric Musselman
- actor Jim Parsons, Sheldon from “Big Bang Theory”
San Diego is a big place, so we’ll stick to 10 San Diegans.
- NFL Hall of Fame RB Marcus Allen
- actor James Avery, Uncle Phil from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
- actress Mayim Bialik, Blossom from “Blossom”
- Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane
- Miami Dolphins RB Reggie Bush
- screenwriter, director and producer Cameron Crowe
- actor Robert Duvall
- actor Ted Danson
- actress Cameron Diaz
- Wyatt Earp
[Ed. Note: I only made it to the end of the E’s before I had ten. I’m sure there are many more awesome people I left out.]
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- San Diego is 2-3 (1-1 in the PFL), with losses coming to undefeated and ranked Cal Poly (a scholarship program), undefeated and ranked Harvard and conference foe Drake. Their wins are over D-II Western New Mexico and PFL opponent Valparaiso.
- San Diego committed 6 turnovers last weekend in losing to Drake 38-10. Drake was a 35-7 victor over Campbell two weeks ago.
- The all-time series between the two schools is tied at 1-1. Campbell won 48-24 last year in Buies Creek while San Diego triumphed 43-7 in 2008.
- QB Mason Mills threw for 216 yards and a TD last week but also tossed 4 interceptions, while Kenn James ran for 98 yards and Logan Smith had 8 receptions for 99 yards.
- Zach Devaney led the defense with 7 tackles while Zach Dunaj added 6 tackles and a sack.
- Junior WR Sam Hoekstra leads the PFL in punt returns (11.8) and senior kicker Ernie Collins is tied for first in the conference in field goals made (1.20/gm) and second in points scored (6.4/gm).
- San Diego was picked in the preseason to win the PFL, a task made much more difficult following the loss to Drake (picked 2nd in the preseason).
- Collins is 6-8 on FG this year including a career long of 51 yards and two others of 48 yards. He also handles the punting duties, averaging 39.5 yards on 21 attempts.
- In the loss to Harvard this season, Mills set USD records for pass completions (38) and attempts (63) while throwing for 354 yards and 1 TD.
- Head Coach Ron Caragher was a four-year letterwinner at UCLA and an assistant at UCLA and Kentucky prior to being hired at San Diego.
- Offensive line coach Hank Fraley spent 10 seasons in the NFL, starting 123 games for the Eagles, Browns & Rams.
- Stat Leaders:
- Passing: Mills – 121 of 184 for 1,253 yards with 9 TD and 8 INT
- Rushing: James – 50 carries for 268 yards (1 TD); Darrion Hancock 2 TD (34 carries, 132 yards)
- Receiving: Brandon White 31 receptions, 341 yards, 4 TD
- Defense: Dunaj 38 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries; Steve Gargiulo 3.5 TFL and 2 sacks; Drew Harris 2 INT; Troy McClelland 4 pass breakups
- Best Name Nominees:
- QB Bo Stompro; RB Bug Rivera; FB Luke Holler; DT Josh Huckleberry; OL Tarez Lemmons
- The winner – Bug Rivera
San Diego, the preseason conference champion pick, likely has a bad taste in their mouth after losing to Drake by 4 touchdowns last week. If you believe in revenge, they may also remember last year’s shellacking in Buies Creek. Regardless, the Toreros’ only losses have come to two undefeated and ranked teams and the (now) PFL conference favorite. Meanwhile, the Fighting Camels have struggled to continue the momentum from last year’s winning season. A long trip across the country to face an angry San Diego squad is not the tonic Campbell needs. San Diego will not come close to replicating the 6-turnover performance of a week ago and will get back on track with a victory. On the flip side, our Camels will drop to 1-5 as the season heads into the second half. It says here the final score will be 33-14.
The Fighting Camels fell to 1-3 with a 35-14 loss at Butler last week. In his second start, QB Dakota Wolf was 17-23 passing for 159 yards and ran for 111 yards on 31 carries. Kurt Odom provided the scoring with 2 short touchdown runs. Jordan Hildreth had 4 catches for 58 yards and Chad McMichael 6 for 45 yards. The Camels rushed for 206 yards but the defense allowed 452 yards and the 35 points. Paul Pizzuti had 12 tackles and a fumble recovery for the defense. After two consecutive road losses, they return to the friendly confines of Buies Creek this week to face Drake University.
Location: Des Moines, IA (population: 203,433 as of 2010 census, the largest city in Iowa)
Established: 1881 by Francis Marion Drake, who lead a group of staff members from Oskaloosa College to form the new institution.
Affiliation: Drake is a football-only member of the Pioneer Conference. Except for women’s crew, the rest of its teams compete in the Missouri Valley Conference. The crew team is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Random Fact #1: On September 17, 1969 the Drake student newspaper, The Times-Delphic, published what appears to be the first documented account of the famous Paul is dead hoax, written by Tim Harper.
Random Fact #2: Drake’s law school is one of the twenty-five oldest law schools in the nation, tracing its history to 1865. It is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools, has been accredited since 1923 when accreditation first began, and is one of only seventy-five ABA-approved law schools to have a Chapter of Order of the Coif.
Random Fact #3: The athletic teams received their nickname of Bulldogs in 1904 from a sportswriter who noticed that John L. Griffith, who coached every sport, was bringing his pet bulldogs to the practice fields. The teams had previously been known as the Ducklings and Ganders. (I, for one, am sad they are not the Drake Ducklings.)
Random Fact #4: In 1928 Drake defeated Simpson College 41-6 in what is believed to be the first night football game west of the Mississippi River. Perhaps the most famous incident in Drake’s football history is known as the Johnny Bright Incident, where Pulitzer-Prize winning photographs in the Des Moines Register proved an intentional attack on the African American quarterback by Oklahoma State Cowboys football players. Drake withdrew from the Missouri Valley Conference in protest of the lack of disciplinary action taken against those responsible. Today, Drake’s football field is named Johnny Bright Field in memory of the incident.
Random Fact #5: The university hosts the Drake Relays during April. This track and field event has been held since 1910, and is the second-largest collegiate track and field event in the United States. The 1961 Drake Relays was the first sporting event televised on ABC’S Wide World of Sports anthology show.
- comedian Steve Allen, the first host of the Tonight Show
- Terry Branstad, former and current governor of Iowa
- NFL kicker Billy Cundiff
- Michael Emerson, Emmy-winning actor as Ben Linus on Lost
- PGA golfer and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson
- actor Jeremy Piven (did not graduate)
- actor Sam Wanamaker (Private Benjamin, Raw Deal)
- WGN TV producer-director Arne Harris (if you watched Cubs games on WGN, you instantly remember that name)
We’ll expand the list t0 10 this week. You can never list too many notable Iowans.
- Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins of TLC, Grammy winning R&B Singer
- actor Stephen Collins, the dad from 7th Heaven
- Peter Hedges, writer of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
- multiple Emmy-award winner Cloris Leachman
- Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Shawn Johnson
- Track & field world champion LoLo Jones
- NFL quarterback Kyle Orton
- former MLB player Casey Blake
- 7 of the 9 members of the band Slipknot
- former NFL quarterback and league & Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- Drake is 2-2 (1-0 in the PFL), with both losses coming to FCS scholarship programs (Montana State & Indiana State)
- Drake defeated conference foe Morehead State 28-25 in Des Moines last Saturday.
- Drake leads the series between the two school 4-0.
- In the teams’ only previous game at Campbell in 2010, Drake eked by with a 14-12 victory.
- Drake trailed Morehead State 17-7 in the 4th quarter last week before scoring 3 TDs in a span of 9:40
- Senior QB Mike Piatkowski, the reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year, threw for 268 yards and 3 TDs and became the school’s all-time leader in passing yards. Gary Scott added 125 yards on the ground and 1 TD.
- The defense was paced by John Hugunin’s 16 tackles and 1 sack while Travis Merritt added 14 tackles.
- Drake leads the PFL in sacks with 14, which ranks them sixth in FCS. They have ranked in the Top 10 nationally in each of the past three seasons.
- The Bulldogs are looking for their 6th consecutive PFL victory and their fourth straight 2-0 start in conference play.
- Piatkowski also holds the career record for completion percentage (62.2) and needs just 7 TD passes to become the all-time leader in that category as well. He ranks 5th all-time in the PFL in passing yardage. With 7 games remaining he must average 228 yards/game to pass current San Francisco 49ers QB Josh Johnson for 2nd all-time in the conference.
- In last season’s meeting Piatkowski set an FCS record for completion percentage by a QB with at least 30 completions, going 30-33 (90.9%) in a 31-14 Bulldog victory.
- Stat Leaders:
- Passing: Piatkowski – 110-178, 1179 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT
- Rushing: Scott – 64-285, 3 TD
- Receiving: Kevin Marshall 23 receptions (198 yards); Joey Orlando 219 yards (21 catches, 1 TD); Nick Rosa 3 TD (13-208)
- Defense: Hugunin 46 tackles; Brandon Coleman 8 TFL; TylerMoorehead 4 sacks; Drew Ormseth 2 INT
- Best Name Nominees:
- Neko Graf, Naser Hannoon, Paddy O’Connell, Ezekiel Okeleye, Zach Zlabis & Caz Zyks
- The winner – Caz Zyks
Drake has not yet lost to the Fighting Camels in four tries and were picked to finish 2nd in the league by the coaches in the preseason poll. Campbell has still yet to score in the first quarter this season (outscored 45-0) and seeks a better start than the past 4 weeks. The defense is allowing 466 yards per game to opposing offense, including more than 10 yards per pass attempt and will be severely tested by Drake’s all-time leading passer, Mike Piatkowski. Drake’s defense has allowed 215 yards per game on the ground this season, which may be an opening for the Camels’ ground based offense. Dakota Wolf is the first Camel QB to top the 100-yard mark in back-to-back weeks and may find #3 against the Bulldog defense. However, poor starts and a weak defense have the Achilles heel’s for the Camels this season and again portend doom against Drake. I will boldly predict that the Camels dent the scoreboard in the opening stanza for the first time this season and that Dakota Wolf again manages 100+ yards rushing, but Piatkowski, Scott and the rest of the Bulldogs recover and will celebrate a 28-14 road victory.
After a 70-14 thrashing at the hands of Old Dominion, the Camels return to facing fellow non-scholarships teams as they open Pioneer Conference play by hitting the road to face Butler.
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana (population: 829,718 as of 2010 census, the 12th largest city in the United States)
Established: 1855 as North Western Christian University. It was renamed in 1875 for founder Ovid Butler.
Mascot: Blue II is the official live mascot of Butler and is known by the tagline “Butler’s Mascot, America’s Dog”.
Affiliation: Butler is a football-only member of the Pioneer Conference. Except for women’s golf, the rest of its teams are spending their first year as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Butler left the Horizon Conference in July to join the A-10. The Atlantic 10 does not sponsor women’s golf, so the Butler team will compete elsewhere in that sport.
[Ed. Note: Conference realignment is not just for big-time football as Butler is the 4th straight opponent of Campbell who has undergone or is currently undergoing some type of division or conference shift.]
Random Fact #1: The university was the first in Indiana and the third in the United States to admit both men and women.
Random Fact #2: Architect Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the World Trade Center, designed the Irwin Library on campus.
Random Fact #3: Butler ranked 2nd in the U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2010 for Top Midwestern Master’s Universities.
Random Fact #4: Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse also serves as the home to the Indiana High School state basketball tournament as was the site of Milan High’s 1954 title, which served as the loose basis for the movie Hoosiers. Parts of the movie were also shot in the fieldhouse.
- former Nebrasketball head coach and current Butler AD Barry Collier
- Baylor men’s basketball head coach Scott Drew
- IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher
- Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward
- Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Thad Matta
- Bobby Plump, the hero of the real-life Milan High basketball team
- Jim Jones, notorious founder of the People’s Temple and organizer of the 1979 mass suicide of 909 members of his organization
Indianapolis is pretty large – let’s stick with 5 really good people from there.
- former UCLA basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Famer John Wooden
- former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle
- Basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson
- actor Steve McQueen
- former NBA player Eric Montross
[Ed Note: For some reason I am reminded of the old Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others”…]
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- Butler heads into Pioneer Conference play with the same record as the Camels, 1-2
- The Bulldogs opened the season with a 23-15 loss at Western Illinois, defeated Franklin 42-13 in Week 2 and dropped a 35-7 decision to Dartmouth last week
- The series between Butler and Campbell is tied 2-2. Butler won the first two games while the Camels have taken the last two. Last season saw a 38-23 Camel win in Buies Creek.
- In the teams’ only previous game at Butler in 2010, Campbell won by a 27-10 score.
- Butler outgained Dartmouth 416-358 last week despite the four-touchdown loss. They lead the PFL in total offense at 483.3 yards per game.
- Senior LB Jordan Ridley is tied for 8th in the PFL in tackles per game and was named PFL Co-Defensive Player of the Week after last season’s game against the Camels in which he had 19 tackles.
- RB Trae Heeter leads the PFL in rushing at 65.3 yards per game.
- WR’s Derek O’Connor (79.0) and Brendan Shannon (68.7) rank 2nd and 3rd respectively in the conference in receiving yards per game. O’Connor had 164 yards on 9 catches last week against Dartmouth.
- Junior QB Matt Lancaster, a transfer from Illinois State, threw for 267 yards and 1 TD last week and has thrown 92 consecutive passes without an interception.
- Stat Leaders:
- Passing: Lancaster – 60-100, 739 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT (also 153 yards rushing & 3 TDs)
- Rushing: Heeter – 31 carries, 196 yards
- Receiving: Shannon 16 receptions (206 yards) & 2 TDs; O’Connor 237 yards (15 catches)
- Defense: Ridley 26 tackles; DE Jeremy Stephens 3 TFL & 2 sacks; Bryce Barry & Sean Grady 1 interception
- Best Name Nominees:
- JoJo Ciancio, Jayme Szafranski, Trae Heeter, Guy DiBalsamo, Joe Hackett (think Wings), Nestor Porres,
- The winner – Guy DiBalsamo.
Both teams are 1-2 and coming off of blowout losses last week – Butler by 28 points and the Camels by twice that. Despite the lopsided score, the Camels did top 200 yards rushing for the first time this season. Junior QB Dakota Wolf, making his first start for the injured Braden Smith who will miss the rest of the season, rushed for 101 yards on 22 carries to lead the ground attack. Through the air Wolf was 8-16 passing for just 56 yards. Kurt Odom added 53 yards and 1 TD on the ground and had 3 receptions for 16 yards. Lucas Smith paced the defense with 9 tackles while Isaac Scott had a sack and a forced fumble.
The series between these two teams has been evenly matched and this game should be as well. The rest of the conference coaches felt that way also, as Campbell was slotted 5th and Butler 7th in the preseason poll. Two things that seem to tilt this game in favor of the Bulldogs are that the game is being played in Indianapolis and Camel QB Dakota Wolf will be making just his 2nd career start. The Camels have been outscored 38-0 in the 1st quarter so far this year and are averaging just 14.7 point per game. A new QB with pedestrian throwing numbers will be hard-pressed to improve on those numbers. I see Butler snapping their 2-game losing streak to the Camels with a hard fought 27-17 victory.
The Fighting Camels step it up big time competition-wise this week as they travel to face Old Dominion University (ODU!).
Location: Norfolk, Virginia (population: 242,803 as of 2010 census)
Established: 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary. It became Old Dominion College in 1962 and Old Dominion University in 1969.
Affiliation: ODU is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, which is FCS in football and Division I in all other sports. On May 17 of this year ODU announced it would move to Conference USA on July 1, 2013. The football team, restarted just 3 years ago in 2009, will be an FBS independent for 2 seasons before joining conference play in 2015.
Random Fact #1: ODU derives its name from one of Virginia’s state nicknames, “The Old Dominion”, a name given to the state by King Charles II of England for remaining loyal to the crown during the English Civil War.
Random Fact #2: ODU is one of the nation’s largest providers of online distance learning courses.
Random Fact #3: The ODU Lady Monarchs basketball team has won 3 national titles – 2 in the AIAW (1979 & 1980), the precursor to the NCAA in women’s sports, and 1 in the NCAA (1985). They also reached the 1997 national title game before losing to Tennessee.
Random Fact #4: The school colors are silver and two types of blue, slate and cerulean.
- Ben Bailey, the host of Cash Cab
- former NBA player Cal Bowdler
- Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States (attended but did not graduate)
- Basketball Hall of Fame member Anne Donovan
- Poet Maya Angelou (attended but did not graduate)
- Benjamin S. Grffin, four-star general in the United States Army
- Basketball Hall of Fame member Nancy Lieberman
- Lashawn Merritt, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 400 meters and the 4×400 meter relay
- Oliver Purnell, head men’s basketball coach at DePaul University
- Actress Deborah Shelton (A-Team, T.J. Hooker, The Fall Guy, Cheers and others)
- Justin Verlander, author of 2 no-hitters and the 2011 AL MVP
Good work ODU. Any awesome people from Norfolk?
- Musician & hip-hop producer Timbaland
- MLB baseball players David Wright, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton
- Actor Tim Reid (WKRP in Cincinnati, Simon & Simon, Sister Sister)
- Actor Rob Estes (Silk Stalkings, Melrose Place)
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- Despite starting football just 3 years ago, ODU is already nationally competitive. They went 9-2 as an FCS independent in 2009 and 8-3 in 2010. Last year, they joined the CAA and went 9-2 in the regular season, earning the program’s first playoff bid. The Monarchs defeated Norfolk State 35-18 in the first round of the FCS playoffs before falling 55-48 to Georgia Southern in the second round in a game that saw 1167 yards of total offense.
- ODU enters the game ranked #6 in The Sports Network FCS Top 25 and #4 in the FCS Coaches Poll. They are 2-0 this season, defeating Duquesne 57-23 and winning at Hampton 45-7 in a weather shortened contest.
- The Monarchs have defeated Campbell in each of the past 3 seasons: 28-17 in 2009, 44-13 in 2010 & 41-14 last season.
- ODU football is sold out for the 4th straight season. Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium holds a crowd of 19,818.
- In the season-opening rout of Duquesne, QB Taylor Heinicke went 41-63 for 492 yards and 4 TDs and ran for 38 yards. He was named CAA and TSN National Offensive Player of the Week.
- The Dukes actually led that game 20-10 at the half before ODU exploded for 47 second-half points.
- RB Tyree Lee leads the team with 131 yards rushing and 3 TDs through 2 games. Blair Roberts is the leading receiver with 13 grabs for 157 yards.
- Craig Wilkins leads the team with 12 tackles, 2 sacks and 4 TFL and has forced 1 fumble. Rodney Hunter has collected 2 interceptions in the first 2 contests.
- Best Name Nominees:
Last week, the Camels offense sputtered but the defense shined in their 10-0 win over Virginia-Wise, evening their record at 1-1. Braden Smith passed for 200 yards and 1 TD despite losing a tooth on a first half hit. RB Josh Williams, making his first start, ran for 89 yards on 23 carries and had 4 receptions for 26 yards. Lucas Smith spearheaded an excellent defensive effort with 2 sacks while Matt Farris and Steth Monroe each grabbed an interception. The Camels outgained the Cavaliers 320-175 and recorded their 2nd shutout since reviving the football program.
Unfortunately, none of those positive vibes will do much good this week. ODU has averaged 51 points the first two weeks while allowing 15. The Camels are scoring 15 points per game while giving up 15.5. There are also not any other numbers that indicate this is going to be anything other than an easy victory for ODU. The Camel offense could not do much with the Virginia-Wise defense, so I do not foresee any more luck with the 6th (or 4th) ranked team in FCS. Much like the last 2 seasons, ODU scores early and often while rolling to victory. I’m going to guess a slightly worse beating than last year since the Camels appear a bit weaker and ODU is an FCS force to be reckoned with – 48-10 Monarchs.
Providing the opposition this week for the Fighting Camels, and thus the subject of the second Camel Foe of the year, is the University of Virginia at Wise.
Location: Wise, Virginia (population: 3,286 as of 2010 census)
Established: 1954 as Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia
Nickname: Highland Cavaliers
Affiliation: UVa-Wise is currently a member of the NAIA and the Mid-South Conference, but will begin the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II next year. They would be an active D-II member in the 2015-16 academic year. They will become a charter member of the new Mountain East Conference which plans to launch in the 2013-14 academic year.
Random Fact #1: It is the only branch of the University of Virginia and the westernmost public college in Virginia.
Random Fact #2: Existed as a junior college until the first Bachelor of Arts degrees were granted in 1970.
Random Fact #3: Boasts the “best small-college intramural program in the Southeast”. Half of the student body participates in some form of intramural activity.
Random Fact #4: UVa-Wise ranks first among public national liberal-arts colleges for students graduating with the least amount of debt.
- Holly Kiser, the first winner of Make Me a Supermodel
- Virginia delegate Terry Kilgore
Quite the list. How about anyone from the town of Wise…
- Actor, director & producer George C. Scott
- Former Green Bay Packers WR Carroll Dale
- Glen Roberts, the originator of the jump shot while playing basketball at Christopher Gist High School in Pound, VA
- [Ed. Note: I think there are about 100 people credited with inventing the jump shot. In fact, a book published in 1999 and authored by John Christgau investigated 8 different men who each claim credit for inventing the jump shot. Roberts is among the eight, although Christgau makes a strong case that Ken Sailors was the first in May 1934.]
- [Ed. Note II: The towns of Pound and Big Stone Gap are both located in Wise County, VA. Insert your own joke here.]
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- The Highland Cavaliers opened the season with a 24-21 overtime win at Bethel University (ranked #11 in the NAIA preseason poll) on August 25 before being routed at home 43-10 by Faulkner University last Saturday
- Last week Faulkner exploded for 26 second quarter points and cruised to victory, outgaining UVA-Wise 558 to 174. The Cavaliers’ only TD came on a 69-yard interception return by Vernon “Major” Payne
- The Fighting Camels lead the series 1-0, winning 20-16 at Wise in 2010
- UVa-Wise looks to start a season 2-0 on the road for the first time since 2008, when it posted back-to-back wins away from home over Kentucky Christian University and Newport News Apprentice School
- Junior Kicker Paul Melshen needs 1 FG to tie the school’s career record of 18, set by Jay Withrow from 1993-96
- Senior LB Derek Comer leads the Mid-South Conference and ranks 6th nationally with 22.5 tackles in the first 2 games
- True freshman RB Connery Swift has run for 185 yards in the first 2 games, 175 of those coming in the season-opening win
- Best Name Nominees:
- Jalani Winbush, Capers Zentmeyer, Shahn Khan, Zaukeus Witcher, T’ontray Billups, Skylar DeJesus
- The winner – Shahn Khan. KHAAAAAAAAN!
Another game that is tough to get a read on as the non-scholarship Camels face another team transitioning from NAIA to NCAA Division II, albeit one that is just beginning the process. The Highland Cavaliers first two games muddy the waters as well – they opened with an overtime win on the road against #11 Bethel but then returned home and lost by 33 to unranked Faulkner. As with most teams, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, plus we have to factor in that pre-season polls at best an educated guess and at worst a complete mockery. Meanwhile, our Camels turned the ball over 5 times last week against Shorter, including 4 first-quarter fumbles. They still managed to take a 3-point lead early in the 4th quarter before falling 31-20. We look for two questions to be answered this week: 1) Will the real Virginia-Wise Highland Cavaliers please stand up? 2) Can the Camels take care of the football? One man’s highly uneducated call – UVa-Wise’s lackluster offense (262.5 yds/game) will struggle to exploit the inexperienced Camel defense. On the other side of the ball, despite all the turnovers, Campbell had 475 yards of offense (336 passing from QB Braden Smith) last week against Shorter. With Virginia-Wise allowing 481.5 yards per game so far, the Camels should be able to move the ball once again. I foresee a Camel bounce-back this week as they turn the ball over only once and Smith enjoys another big passing day, leading them to a 31-16 victory.
Our critically acclaimed (meaning, enjoyed by at least 2 of the original 8 MB members) series Camel Foe returns for its second season in MB 2013. Each week we shine the MB flashlight on the upcoming opponent of our beloved Campbell University Fighting Camels. We mix together some actual football information with our usual mix of random facts to concoct a delicious appetizer for the week’s college football smorgasbord. Without further ado, let’s learn a little about the Camels’ season-opening opponent, Shorter University.
Location: Rome, Georgia (population: 36,303 as of 2010 census)
Established: 1873 as the Cherokee Baptist Female College
Motto: Light, Truth
Affiliation: Currently transitioning from the NAIA and the Southern States Athletic Conference to NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference. This school year is Gulf Coast’s first as a full member of Division II although it will remain ineligible for NCAA championships for the next 2 seasons.
Random Fact #1: During the 1920s, the college constructed the first indoor swimming pool in the United States.
Random Fact #2: The college became co-educational in the 1950s and also began sports programs in the NAIA during that decade.
Random Fact #3: As of October 2011, the university requires all employees to sign and adhere to a “Personal Lifestyle Statement” that includes the following principles:
- They will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention
- They will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal drugs
- They will reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality
- They will not use alcoholic beverages in the presence of students, and will abstain from serving, from using, and from advocating the use of alcoholic beverages in public (e.g. in locations that are open to use by the general public, including as some examples restaurants, concert venues, stadiums, and sports facilities) and in settings in which students are present or are likely to be present. Neither would they promote or encourage the use of alcohol
- They will actively engage in a local church
Random Fact #4: Due to clause #4, it is unlikely any of the executive members of MB will ever apply for a job at Shorter University
- NCAA basketball coach Bill Foster, one of 16 coaches to win at least 500 games
- Benton Gill, lead singer of the band Crisis
Well, that was impressive. Let’s throw in notables from the city of Rome as well.
- Professional wrestler Arn Anderson (that’s more like it)
- NFL running back Ronnie Brown
- Former NFL running back Larry Kinnebrew
- Florida head football coach Will Muschamp
- Former NFL player and coach Dan Reeves
- Ellen Wilson, First Lady of the United States (first wife of Woodrow Wilson)
- George Stephen Morrison, Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and father of singer Jim Morrison; Admiral Morrison was part of the crew of the minelayer Pruitt stationed in Hawaii and witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor from that vessel
Oh yeah, the Football Team:
- In 2011, Shorter finished 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the Southern States Athletic Conference, its 7th final season in that conference and in NAIA after starting football in 2005
- Shorter played just 4 home games in 2011, splitting those contest while finishing 4-2 on the road
- Shorter runs an offense similar to Air Force, putting an emphasis on the QB and FB positions – they ran the ball 486 times in 10 games last season, while throwing it just 89
- The Hawks lost their top 2 QBs and top 3 FBs from 2011
- The leading returning rusher is slotback Roderick Jones who ran for 400 yards on just 34 carries, a ridiculous 11.8 per carry
- The team’s leading receiver last year had 7 catches for 161 yards and 3 TDs. For the season. He also graduated meaning someone will have to step up and replace those 0.7 catches per game in the offense
- Shorter returns 5 players on defense who garnered all-conference accolades in 2011, including NAIA All-American ILB Demery Hawkins
- Best Name Nominees:
- Jovann Shabazz, SaDarrius Rooks, K-Sun Manzano, Terrian Beavers, Quay Boddie, Marktavious Dasher, Santavious Bryant, Maurice Bloodser
- The winner – K-Sun Manzano (I’m not telling him he didn’t win)
This is an interesting match-up as a team new to Division II (and in just its 8th season) takes on a non-scholarship FCS program in just its 5th year. We may learn a little as to whether you get better players in NAIA or D-II with partial scholarships rather than at an FCS school with no scholarships. On the field, we will see a match-up of strengths as the experienced and talented Shorter defense takes on second-year starting QB Braden Smith and the Camels offense. On the flip side, the Camel defense and Hawk offense each return only a few starters and match up schemes that are not widely in vogue – the option offense of Shorter vs. the 3-3-5 defense of Campbell. The key to this game will likely be how well the inexperienced Shorter offense runs the option and how well the inexperienced Camel defense can defend it. Expect a fast game as both teams prefer to run the ball, with Shorter especially using the pass as an afterthought. The x-factor in this game is that Shorter will have to deal with the excitement surrounding the first night game ever played at Barker-Lane Stadium. I don’t think you can prepare yourself in practice for the atmosphere in Buies Creek on a Thursday night. The rabid Camel fans help propel the team to a 1-0 start on the season – Campbell 27, Shorter 21.
For the 2nd consecutive season, MB is adopting the Campbell Fighting Camels as our obscure football team to highlight and follow throughout the season. Each week during the season, we will give a preview (MB-style, of course) of their upcoming game and opponent in our section entitled Camel Foe. This week, we will take a look back at the 2011 season and a look ahead at 2012, the 5th season since Campbell reinstated football in 2008.
2011 In Review
Campbell finished 6-5 in 2011 and 5-3 (4th place) in the Pioneer Football League, marking the first winning season and highest PFL finish since restarting the program in 2008. Campbell finished 1st in the PFL in rushing (18th in all of FCS) to claim its 3rd consecutive conference rushing title and had 5 of the league’s top 20 runners. The Camels placed 11 players on the all-PFL lists with 2 first-team selections, 2 second-team selections, and 7 honorable mentions.
The Camels opened last season with a 41-14 loss to Old Dominion before whitewashing The Apprentice School 76-0. They then started the conference season with losses to Jacksonville (57-21) and Drake (31-14). The 1-3 start was erased as Campbell reeled off a 5-game winning streak during which they averaged 37.6 points per game and scored less than 35 just once. The victims were Butler (38-23), Marist (35-21), San Diego (48-24), Davidson (26-20) and Morehead State (41-31). The win over San Diego was the Toreros only conference loss on the season as they tied with Drake for the conference title at 7-1. However, the Camels stubbed their toe at Valparaiso to halt the winning streak, losing 34-31 in the Crusaders’ only win of the year and that program’s first conference win since the 2008 season. The campaign came to a close with a 42-35 loss to Georgia State. Overall the season was a rousing success with the 6 wins not only representing the highest total since the 2008 restart, but also nearly equaling the win total of the 3 previous seasons (7). The 5 PFL wins did exceed the 2008-2010 combined total of 4. The Fighting Camels outscored their opponents on the season for the first time, doing so by 109 points (9.9 per game).
2012 In Preview
The Fighting Camels return just 9 starters from last year’s squad, 5 on offense and 4 on defense. Not surprising for a program in its 4th year, the 2011 team had a lot of seniors who had logged a lot of playing time building the program from scratch. Those players’ efforts paid off in a winning season in year 4 and the task of repeating that winning season will fall on a large group of new starters.
The returning starters on offense are highlighted by senior quarterback Braden Smith. Smith was twice named PFL Offensive Player of the Week and set school records for yards (1,965), touchdowns (14), completions (179), attempts (313), and total offense (2,254). He also doubles as the leading returning rusher from 2011, totaling 289 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. Backup QB Dakota Wolf returns as well, giving the Camels an experienced reserve at the sport’s most important position.
The Camels lost the 3 top rushers from last year’s team and will be looking for new face to step up as they pursue their 4th straight PFL rushing title. Junior Kurt Odom ran for 288 yards on just 57 carries (5.1 avg) and is expected to be the top running threat in 2012. After having 5 players rush for at least 288 yards last season, Campbell will look to develop depth in the backfield in order to maintain a top-notch rushing attack.
Campbell lost two four-year starters at wide receiver and will need new players to step up there as well. Junior WR Chad McMichael is the team’s leading returner, having grabbed 16 balls for 156 yards last season. Odom had 12 catches, while no one else who returns had more than 5. Coach Steele mentioned South Carolina transfer Riley Gallaher (redshirted for the Gamecocks in 2011) as a potential leader of the receiving corps. Junior Alex Green returns as the starter at TE with experienced backup Christian Rogers back as well. Green had just 5 catches in 2011 as the tight end serves mostly as a blocking weapon in the run-heavy Camel offense.
The offensive line was also decimated by graduation, returning just one starter, senior tackle Daniel Ritter. Nick Beaver and Dalton Brown each have started a handful of games in the past and will be counted on to steady the new group and pave the way for another effective running game.
The Camels averaged 34.5 point per game last season but will likely be hard-pressed to match that number as they replace much of the offense from 2011. It is likely that more responsibility will fall on the shoulders of QB Braden Smith, especially early in the season as the backfield and line are revamped.
On defense, the headlining returners are preseason all-PFL picks Brandon Chandler at safety and Steth Monroe at corner. Chandler was second team all-conference in 2011 and honorable mention the two years before that. He forced three fumbles and broke up four passes last year while also totaling two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. In addition, he averaged 20.6 yards on kickoff returns and 11.9 yards on punt returns. Monroe was honorable mention all-PFL last season after grabbing four interceptions and leading the league with 15 passes defensed.
The Camels play a 3-3-5 defense and return as many as 3 starters in the defensive backfield. Junior Jeff Swinton (8 starts) is the 3rd returning starter while senior Paul Pizzuti (1 start) give the Camels another experienced option at safety, although the two are expected to compete for one spot. The other safety spot and one corner will be manned by new starters. Two starting linebackers graduated as well, although veteran Mike Rudisill returns after starting all 11 games last season, making 48 tackles and grabbing two interceptions.
The defensive line with have two untested players alongside junior Taurean Lynch, who started 5 games last year. With just 5 starts among the returners, defensive line might be the biggest question mark heading into the 2012 season for the Fighting Camels.
The Fighting Camels also lost their starting kicker, punter, and long snapper to graduation in 2011. Senior kicker Sam Eberwein does have experience, however, having played in 21 career games. With a brand new punter and long snapper, questions abound as to whether the new starters can prevent a drop-off in those areas from 2011.
In an exciting development for the program, lights were installed at Campbell’s Barker-Lane Stadium / Ed Gore Field in the offseason. The permanent lights will allow more options for practice times and greater flexibility with game times and other sporting events. The lights will be put to use immediately as the Fighting Camels open the season with the program’s first night game, Thursday, August 30th @ 6:00 pm CDT versus Shorter University, an NAIA school in Rome, GA. In all, Campbell will play 4 home games at night, with the Virginia-Wise, Davidson and Drake contests also being held under the lights.
Overall, the Camels definitely face a bit of uncertainty heading into 2012 having lost so many starters and major contributors from last season. Fellow coaches in the PFL showed a lot respect for the job Coach Steele is during by picking them to finish 5th in the conference, the highest preseason spot in the program’s 5 years. With a coach named Steele – first name, Man Of (Scrubs joke) – MB trusts the Camels will put together another solid season as they rise up the PFL ranks. After all, they aren’t called the Fighting Camels for nothing – just ask Iowa’s basketball team.
Other Fighting Camel Football Links
Fayetteville Observer – Campbell Looks to Build on First Winning Season
GoCamels.com – Five Questions with Head Coach Dale Steele
GoCamels.com – 2012 Season Outlook
GoCamels.com – This is Campbell Football