Tony Nicolette: D2football.com GLIAC Column

Hillsdale (5-2, 5-2) at Mercyhurst (3-4, 4-4)

This is a game that looked like it would be very interesting and have a big impact on the conference a couple of weeks ago. Now, it’s one team trying to stay on course for a shot at the playoffs while the other is just trying to get back on course at all as the high-octane Hillsdale offense pays a visit to Erie. The Lakers will try and stop the bleeding of a three-game losing streak.

Hillsdale Keys:
– Tough defense. The Chargers are still short some key players, but they need to not be the catalyst that gets Mitch Phillis and Co. back on track. Keeping them rattled is their best bet.
– Run the ball. Vinnie Panizzi had a big day against Wayne State last week. Look for more from him this week against the less than impressive MC run defense.
– “The road is your friend”. Hillsdale has really struggled to have a great performance away from Muddy Waters. They must overcome this if they want to make and succeed in the playoffs.

Mercyhurst Keys:
– Stop the run – well, stop anything. The Laker defense has been, well, offensive the last three weeks. You know Nicolet is going to get his, and if MC allows Hillsdale to run the ball as well this one could be gruesome.
– Offense must re-ignite. Hillsdale’s defense has not been fantastic thus far this year, especially on the road. This is when Phillis and Stokes must get things going the way they were a month or so ago.

Prediction: While Mercyhurst should be able to move the ball (I know, I said that last week as well), I just don’t see how their defense is going to be able to slow down Hillsdale’s offense. The Charger road woes have been almost exclusively on defense, as they are averaging more than 37 points a game away from home. With the Mercyhurst defense playing the way it has the past few weeks, that average should go up. Hillsdale 58, Mercyhurst 38.

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