By Jarrod Harris
Times West Virginian
Taking its winning streak on the road.
Fairmont State football is set to play away against Concord at 1 p.m. on today at Callaghan Stadium in Athens.
FSU is looking to win its first road victory of the season against the Mountain Lions. So far this season, Fairmont is 3-0 at home, but 0-4 when it is on the road.
The Falcons are coming off a barnburner win over Seton Hill where they blew a 23-point lead in the fourth quarter. Being knotted up 47 apiece with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter, FSU quarterback Bobby Vega fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to Matt Wilmer. The touchdown gave FSU its third win of the season, 54-47.
As for Concord, the Mountain Lions stepped out the WVIAC last week while falling to a Division I program in Liberty, 21-13.
Here’s a brief look at today’s matchup:
This season: FSU 3-4; Concord 4-4
Coaches: FSU — Mike Lopez (fifth season); Concord —Garin Justice (second season).
Key players: FSU — Bobby Vega, QB; Matt Wilmer, WR; Garrett Davis, LB. Concord — Calvinaugh Jones, RB; Ansel Ponder, WR; Evin Dusold, QB, Nate Pollard, DB.
Head coach Garin Justice is in his second season at Concord. In 2011, he led the Mountain Lions their first WVIAC title since 1990. Justice is 11-8 overall and 10-3 in WVIAC games. ... Concord is second in the WVIAC in pass defense (180.50) and third in total defense (328.38). ... Jake Lilly is first in the conference and sixth in the country in tackles, averaging 11.50 per game. Lilly has recorded 92 tackles (49 solo) and 11 for a loss. He also has four pass breakups. ... The CU defense has intercepted 10 passes this season. Kevin Elliott leads the team with four interceptions and three others have recorded two (Davon Marion, Riyahd Richardson and Lilly). ... Calvinaugh Jones leads the Mountain Lions’ rushing attack with 527 yards on 118 carries and a touchdown. Fullback Ben Nester leads Concord with five rushing touchdowns. ... Senior quarterback Zack Grossi was lost for the year after a car accident earlier this season. Since then, Evin Dusold and Albert Rose have seen action under center. Dusold relieved Rose in the second quarter against Seton Hill two weeks ago. Dusold has completed 27-of-44 passes for 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the last two games for the Mountain Lions. He is completing 62 percent of his passes. ... Receiver Randall Hawkins is second in the conference with 6.29 catches per game. He has a team-high 44 catches for 409 yards and a score. Ansel Ponder leads the team with 493 receiving yards on 39 catches and three touchdowns.
Fairmont State has the WVIAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week. Daniel Monroe earned the honor following his performance against Seton Hill, and Matt Wilmer claimed the honor the week prior. ... Since returning to the lineup after an injury, Garrett Davis has led the team in tackles in each of his five starts this season. ... In Fairmont State’s three wins, the Falcons have recorded an average of 9.6 tackles for a loss. In losses, they are averaging 4.8 TFLs. ... FSU is averaging 42.7 points per game in its three victories and has scored over 49 and 54 points in its last two games. ... Fairmont State has 32 plays of 20 yards or more in its three home games this season. However, FSU has managed just 27 in four road games this season. ... The Falcons are averaging 219.5 yards per game on the ground in the last two games. In the first five games of the year FSU was averaging just 74.6 yards on the ground. ... After a sluggish start battling through injuries, Monroe has slowly climbed back to be among the leaders in the WVIAC in rushing. He is currently third in the league in rushing yards (569) and average per game (94.8). ... Through five games this season the Falcons had scored just 37 second-half points. In the last two games, Fairmont State has put up 67 points in the game’s final 30 minutes. ... The Falcons are third in the league in time of possession, averaging 31:27 minutes of possession per game. ... Fairmont State boasts two WVIAC Special Teams Players of the Week this season in Matt Wilmer and Ryland Newman. ... Newman has at least one return of 20 yards or more on a kickoff, punt, interception and blocked field goal return. ... Fairmont State’s defense has done well against teams not allowing red zone touchdowns. Opponents have scored TDs on just 11 of their 21 attempts (52 percent) inside the 20-yard line. ... After being behind in turnover margin for most of the season, FSU is now even in that category. ... Thirteen different players have recorded sacks this season.
Series notes: The Mountain Lions have taken the last three games in the series; however, FSU leads the all-time series between the two schools, 43-31. Last season, Concord used a pair of big plays in the second quarter that proved to be the difference in a 20-7 win over the Falcons. Although Concord won the game, the Mountain Lions were outgained, 328-274, and overcame 12 penalties for 140 yards in the victory. Concord would then go on to win the WVIAC and earn a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs.