D2football.com: Tony Nicolette’s Gliac Column

#25 Ashland (1-0, 1-0) at Hillsdale (2-0, 2-0)

Hillsdale is off to a fast start and looking to prove it belongs with the elite in the GLIAC for 2007. A win over Ashland (on one of the earliest Homecoming dates I think I’ve ever seen) will certainly say quite a bit. The Eagles are also sporting an unblemished record, and want to keep it that way.

Ashland Keys:
– Shake off last week. Even though they didn’t lose to Grand Valley, I could see them as being a bit disappointed that they didn’t get a full shot at “The Champs”. If nothing else, the Eagles could treat it as a glorified scrimmage and see what adjustments they can make as a result.
– Secondary play. SVSU had big yardage two weeks ago, and GVSU had a good start toward some more last week. Mark Nicolet and crew have proven very plainly that they can move the ball. The Eagle secondary will be tested, and must pass that test in order to win.
– Pressure on Nicolet. The Ashland front is very physical. They need to manhandle Nicolet as much as possible and take some pressure off of the secondary.
– Ball control. Another way to take pressure off of the defense is to sustain long drives on offense. The Eagles have shown they can do this.

Hillsdale Keys:
– Nico-let him do his thing. Ashland’s secondary is not the greatest. The Charger passing game has a chance to do big things this week, and needs to in order to win.
– Play some “D”. Last weeks showing at NMU was not impressive. While I am one of those folks that thinks Northern’s offense is actually quite good (especially at home), that’s still no excuse for allowing 41 points and 604 yards last week. While I doubt Ashland has that type of outing in them, Hillsdale would be well-advised not to find out.
– It should be a good crowd for Homecoming, and the Chargers need to leverage that home field advantage.

Prediction: I know I sound like a broken record, but this is yet another game that no result would surprise me. To be even more repetitive, I’m still not 100% sold on either team. Sooner or later you people are going to think I’m nothing more than a horoscope writer who just spits out the same predictions that have vague details and are essentially all the same and get used for different signs on different dates! To this point, I do think Ashland is a bit better team, but I’m going with the upset anyway. Hillsdale 28, Ashland 26.

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