Fairmont State’s football team had hoped to be heading into West Virginia Conference play at worst 1-1.

After holding its own in a season-opening 26-9 loss to nationally ranked California (Pa.) University, the Falcons got embarrassed somewhat Saturday by North Greenville University.

The Crusaders dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football and cruised to a 28-7 victory. NGU rolled up 453 yards of total offense and was pretty balanced doing it. The Crusaders got 256 yards through the air and 197 on the ground.

FSU, on the other hand, was limited to a total of 197 yards, 130 of which came via the pass.

“I don’t know if our guys realized how strong of a team North Greenville was,” said Falcon head coach Rusty Elliott. “They got into us and moved us on both sides of the ball.

“They had five preseason All-Americans on their team, three of which were on defense and they didn’t get that honor for nothing. Those guys could play and they proved it Saturday.”

NGU head coach Mike Taylor, who watched his team bounce back from a week-one loss to Virginia-Wise, says he was pleased with the way his squad played defensively.

“We were much improved on defense,” said Taylor. “We settled in and played better as a whole unit, and we played more aggressively around the perimeter.”

As Fairmont State prepares to open its WVC slate this week with a road trip to Concord, the Falcon players and coaches have some issues to address. First, Fairmont has not shown an ability to run the football with success which is what the squad’s offense is predicated on. Against Cal the Falcons were limited to 57 yards rushing, while Saturday North Greenville held them to 67 yards.

FSU’s passing game looked good against the Vulcans, but the Crusaders put heavy pressure on sophomore quarterback John Rahl and exposed some weaknesses. Rahl finished just 9-of-24 for 124 yards. He was sacked twice, threw a pair of interceptions and fumbled the ball away once. Rahl has suffered seven turnovers in Fairmont’s first two games.

One of Fairmont’s most clutch receivers, Pat McClintic, suffered an elbow injury in the first half of the loss Saturday and his status for the coming weeks is in question. The sure-handed McClintic had seven catches for 60 yards in just over five quarters of action this season.

Defensively, the Falcons are allowing 433.5 yards per outing and teams are moving the ball at will both on the ground and through the air. FSU gives up 192.0 yards per game on the ground and 241.5 yards per game through the air.

Opposing quarterbacks are completing an alarming 70.3 percent of their passes against the Falcons’ defense (38-of-54). FSU’s defense has produced just one turnover in its first two games and has allowed both a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in each loss.

“We’re not going to offer any excuses,” said Elliott. “It’s obvious we’ve got things to correct. We’ve made mistakes, we know what they are and it’s very simple — we’ve got to get better and we need to do it in a hurry.

“We go to Concord next weekend and we need to turn things around and get a win. It’s a big game for us, our conference opener and a challenge we need to answer. It all starts Monday morning for us.”

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