This has been the quietest Ashland-Hillsdale runup I can remember in the last 5 or 6 years over on the D2football.com message board. Some of the best smack running over the past half decade has come from this rivalry. It’s pretty slow this year. It might be the fact the teams are meeting earlier than normal or is it because one of Ashland’s biggest yappers got the boot for posting under the influence this weekend? Could it be because both clubs’ fanbases are still scratching their heads trying to figure how they both came home empty handed last Saturday night?
Despite the lack of chatter, there are still a bunch of intriguing wrinkles in this matchup.
Taylor Housewright is a roll-out, athletic type quarterback that relies on the short passing game to move the chains…a big switch from the dropback, deep-strike from anywhere threat of Billy Cundiff. The Chargers are going to have to keep everything in front and contain Housewright’s ability to scramble. Hopefully, they can get some pressure but Ashland has only given up two sacks in two games. The secondary is going to have to mix up coverages and try to confuse him as well. Two of Ashland’s first possessions in Indy ended with Housewright interceptions. A third pick came late in the game as Housewright tried to force a ball while under the shadow of his own goalposts.
Ashland is also going to have to establish a more consistent running game in order to keep the HC defense honest. Last week the team had 139 rushing yards but Housewright had 71 of those. The next highest gaining back was DJ McCoy with 35 yards.
I am also anxious to see how well Ashland’s defense that limited UIndy to 11 yards rushing will handle a Hillsdale rushing unit that was virtually unstoppable at Grand Valley. One of Ashland’s assistants stated in this week’s game notes that Ferris pretty much stopped the run against Hillsdale, but “(Hillsdale) then blew them up with the pass.” Ashland wasn’t nearly as lights out against the run in their opener with Bloomsburg. Flanklin Quiteh picked up 149 yards on 35 carries. We know Glendening is more than capable of finding space so it will be up to the Charger offensive line to create it. Picking up the blitz is going to be a big job the offensive line has to handle as well. The rushing defense number for AU at Indy is especially gaudy due to the 3 sacks and 5 other tackles for loss that Ashland recorded.
Just some food for thought as the Traveling Trophy goes up for grabs again this week in Ashland.