Tigerville, S.C. – North Greenville looks to rebound from a week two loss on Saturday as it travels to Georgia to take on 16th ranked Albany State in the third week of the 2017 season.
North Greenville travels to Albany State for the second time in program history on Saturday, looking to avenge a 24-12 loss to the Rams in Albany during the 2012 season. Even with the 2012 defeat, the Crusaders hold the edge over the Rams, winning two of the three matchups including the first-ever meeting between the two programs during the 2011 playoffs. North Greenville beat the rams in their return trip to Tigerville in 2013.
North Greenville is riding into week three after falling Lenoir-Rhyne in the second game of the season. The Crusaders struggled on offense, finishing with just 199-yards of total offense. NGU ran for just 92-yards against the Bears, well under the season average from a year ago in which the team ran for 181.2-yards per game. The Crusaders also struggled to pass the ball, throwing for just 107-yards through the air.
The Crusaders enter this week at 1-1 on the season.
The Albany State Rams are cruising after a pair of wins to open the season. The Rams took down traditional Gulf South power Valdosta State in week one with a 29-12 win. Albany State followed that up with another impressive win, this time a 20-7 defeat over Tuskegee. The Rams averaged 232.5-yards rushing in each of their first two contest and 148-yards through the air. The defense was also stout, holding Valdosta and Tuskegee to just 215-yards of total offense.
The two wins catapulted the now 2-0 rams into the top 20, currently sitting at 16th.
The Albany State Offense
The Rams had several returners on offense heading into this season including leading receiver Quadrey Simmons. A 6-2, 187-pound threat down the field, Simmons reeled in 28-catches for 392-yards last season and two TDs. He’s put together a strong showing thus far in 2017 with five catches, two of which were touchdowns to go along with 61-yards. Also helping out the passing game for the Rams is Mike Green who leads the team with 11-receptions and 150-yards this season. He’s found pay-dirt once.
The Rams have three guys in the backfield with at least 25-carries, led by McKinley Habersham, a 180-pound 5-9 junior. Habersham has carried the ball 43-times for 254-yards this year and a touchdown. Also getting in on the action is junior Kelan Fraise. Fraise is second on the team thus far with 119-yards on 26-carries and a touchdown. Habersham is listed as the starting fullback for the Rams while Fraise isn't listed on the week two, depth chart. Penciled in starter Calvin Lewis has just two carries for four yards thus far.
The Rams welcomed a new starter to the quarterback position this season. The competition came down to a freshman and graduate transfer in Chancellor Johnson and Stephon Masha. The first year college player won out and has been a solid signal caller for the Rams, connecting on 29 of 38-passes for 297-yards and four touchdowns. The offense has taken care of the ball, for the most part, losing just two fumbles on the season with no interceptions.
The Rams also had the advantage of returning four upperclassmen across the front five including senior bookend Douglas Turner at the left tackle position. Tedrick Cofield and John Wesley hold down the center guard positions and are both seniors while Brandon Williams earned the start at left guard as a junior.
The Albany State Defense
Defensively Albany State returned a good amount of production as three of the top tacklers returned from last season. This also includes the team’s interception leader in Free Safety Nick Scott and leading tackler Zavondric Shingleton who had 51 total tackles including 2 for a loss. Scott finished last season with two interceptions is already halfway there with one this year. Shingleton has seven tackles overall but leads the Rams with a pair of sacks.
Emmanuel Brown also brings back big numbers for the rams from last season with 50 tackles last season with one sack and two fumble recoveries. This season Brown has nine tackles but has broken up two passes from his weakside linebacker spot.
The leading tackler so far for the Rams this season is Marquez Thomas, a senior linebacker. Thomas has 14-tackles on the season with a sack and also has a quarterback hurry. He also has 3.5 tackles for a loss this season.
Last Time Out 2013 Game Recaps
- NGU: Crusader Football Earns Victory With Late Game Heroics
- Albany State: Golden Rams Comeback Falls Short in Season Opener
Saturday’s Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm in Albany Georgia. The game will be streamed live as well as broadcasted by Albany State Radio. The links to each can be found below.