Geneva-Olivet Nazarene preview

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Geneva College Golden Tornadoes (0-1)
Olivet Nazarene University Tigers (0-1)

September 9, 2006

1:30 pm - Reeves Stadium - Beaver Falls, PA

Week two of the young football season can be classified as "rebound week" for both Geneva College andOlivet Nazarene University. Both teams are coming off opening game losses last week and are desperate to get into the win column.

As for the Golden Tornadoes, the defense seemed to be in mid-season form by holding Thiel′s explosive offense to just seven points. A Thiel team that averaged close to 35 points a game in 2005, was held to a single first-half touchdown, but that score turned out to be enough for the Tomcats. Geneva was shut-out for the first time since its season opening loss to California, PA back in 2002. In fact, it was just the second time the Golden Tornadoes failed to score a point since 1994. Despite Justin Sciarro′s 200 passing yards, Geneva′s late game rally fell just four yards short of tying the game. The running game needs to be improved as the Golden Tornadoes managed just 54 yards on the ground.

Defensively, Brian Hall′s long awaited comeback was a ringing success. The senior linebacker had a hand in 18 tackles, including six solo efforts. Derek McElhaney and Bradley Roman chipped in with interceptions as the defense held Thiel to under 300 yards of total offense.

Olivet Nazarene was able to dent the scoreboard in its opener, but the Tiger defense yielded 31 points in an opening game loss to St. Norbert, WI. St. Norbert racked up 408 yards of total offense, including 308 yards through the air. The Tigers used a pair of touchdown receptions from Austin Kizzee to keep the game close, but ONU also had trouble running the football with just 75 yards on the ground. Quarterback Derek Diehl threw form 258 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while tailback Billy Lawrence gained 66 yards rushing.

While Geneva was busy racking up eight victories in 2005, including its first trip to the NAIA National Championship Series, Olivet Nazarene finished its season with an overall record of 6-6, including a 3-4 mark in the MSFA Midwest League. The Tigers finished their season with a 29-13 victory over Northwestern, MN in the the NCCAA Victory Bowl. Gary Newsome, the head coach for the Tigers, has compiled a 33-33 record during his tenure at the helm.

Geneva and Olivet Nazarene have matched up five times since their first meeting back in 1998. The Golden Tornadoes hold a 3-2 advantage in the series, but it was Olivet Nazarene that pulled off a big victory over Geneva at Reeves Stadium back in 1998. With Geneva sporting a 4-0 record and holding onto the NAIA′s number one ranking, the Tigers upended the Golden Tornadoes on a rain soaked homecoming field by the score of 21-14. That was the first and last time that Geneva had ever held the NAIA′s number one ranking.

A quirk in Geneva′s schedule will force the Golden Tornadoes to sit out of action for the next two weeks. A road trip to LaSalle University, that was scheduled last season, was cancelled and as a result, Geneva will not be back on the field until it travels to Malone College and Fawcett Stadium on September 30th. After four weeks away from Reeves Stadium. Geneva will return to familiar surroundings on homecoming, October 14th to host Walsh University in an MSFA Mideast League showdown.