Geneva College Golden Tornadoes (3-4, 1-3)
Vs. Urbana University Blue Knights (5-4, 2-3)
Saturday, November 4, 2006
Urbana, Ohio – 12:00 pm
Geneva’s football team has dropped four games this season, including a 41-14 loss at Ohio Dominican last weekend. Each of Geneva’s previous three losses, have been immediately followed by a victory. Head coach Geno DeMarco and the Golden Tornadoes hope that trend continues this week when they travel to Urbana University for another MSFA Mideast League contest. While Geneva comes into action with a 3-4 overall record, the Blue Knights are 5-4 in 2006, including a 2-3 mark within the conference. While Geneva was busy dropping its game to Ohio Dominican last week, Urbana also was beaten by third ranked Walsh University 24-7.
Geneva’s much celebrated defense took a significant hit last week in allowing 41 points and 590 yards of total offense to an Ohio Dominican offense that has emerged as one of the most explosive units in the country. Geneva’s defense is still ranked among the best in the MSFA and has allowed just over 15 points per game. On offense, the turnover bug returned for Geneva and has reared its ugly head throughout the 2006 season. Geneva has thrown 11 interceptions this year and has tossed just eight touchdown passes. Senior quarterback Justin Sciarro has thrown seven TD passes in Geneva’s last three games and has thrown for over 200 yards in each of those contests. Geneva’s ground game has been the most puzzling and disappointing area of concern for the Golden Tornadoes. Geneva has rushed for just an average of 55 yards per game and last week managed just nine yards in the loss to ODU.
Urbana’s running game has been effective, mostly in part by Kirk Hannah’s 101.4 yard per game average. Hannah has also found the end zone three times for the Blue Knights. Through the air, Ryan Gehlert has thrown for 15 touchdowns and over 1300 yards with a completion percentage of over 53% on the season. Marc Burr has emerged as Gehlert’s number one target with 41 receptions and 10 touchdowns.
After starting the season with a record of 4-1, which helped the Blue Knights receive an NAIA top 25 ranking, Urbana has dropped three of its last four games while being outscored 86-43 in those losses.
Another week for Geneva and another MSFA opponent that will most likely never see Geneva again after this game, Urbana will watch the Golden Tornadoes move to Division III beginning next year. Geneva and Urbana have been matching up on the gridiron since 1994 when Geneva beat the Blue Knights 33-7. In fact, Geneva defeated Urbana in each of the first four meetings between the two schools. One of Geneva’s most crushing defeats under Geno DeMarco came in 1998 when Urbana defeated the Golden Tornadoes 37-30 that ultimately knocked them out of play-off contention. The two schools have met 12 times leading into this game with Geneva holding a 10-2 advantage in the series, including a 21-20 victory in 2005. In that victory, the Golden Tornadoes locked up a play-off berth with an 82-yard touchdown pass by Justin Sciarro in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Geneva will close out the regular season and its home schedule next Saturday against St. Francis, IN, the current number one ranked team in the NAIA. St. Francis has won the division eight straight years and has finished as the NAIA national runner-up in each of the past two seasons.