Football head to Norfolk to take on the Monarchs

Jorge Corrales/Staff Writer

Panthers football will be heading to Norfolk, Virginia, this weekend to take on the Monarchs of Old Dominion University. The Saturday, Nov. 8, 3:30 p.m. game will be the first meeting between the two schools and it will be broadcast on the American Sports Network.

The Panthers hope to snap the current three-game losing streak.

The most recent of those losses came at home against the Rice University Owls. Freshman quarterback Alex McGough threw for 128 yards and one touchdown. Despite not throwing an interception that afternoon, McGough was never able to get into a rhythm. His best pass was a 52-yard touchdown strike to redshirt senior receiver Glenn Coleman. Coleman led the Panthers with 101 receiving yards.

“[McGough] has gotta let go of the ball sooner,” said Head Coach Ron Turner. “We’ve gotta protect better. We’ve gotta get open better. We’ve gotta do everything better.”

The rushing load was shared by running backs freshman Napoleon Maxwell and redshirt junior Anthon Samuel. Maxwell had 88 yards rushing and scored his first collegiate touchdown. Samuel added 33 yards on the ground.

“We’re working on ourselves this week,” said Turner. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to win last week. We had some individuals that really played well but, as a team, we did some things to hurt ourselves. A few individual breakdowns really cost us. But we had a really good team meeting on Sunday and a really good film session on Monday.”

Samuel will get his second-straight start on Saturday as the Panthers still await the return of freshman sensation Alex Gardner. Gardner led the team with 582 rushing yards before going down with an apparent shoulder injury in the homecoming game against Marshall.

“[Gardner] is out of the sling,” said Turner. “He’s out this week for sure, probably next week. We’re hoping to get him back by the last one. [Samuel] will be out there first but [Samuel and Maxwell] will both play. It will be similar to last week.”

The Monarchs are on a losing streak of their own; having dropped their last five games. Their offense averages 32.6 points-per-game which ranks sixth in Conference USA.

“They score a lot of points,” said Turner. “They’ve got a good quarterback and some good receivers to go along with him; plus they can run the ball. They’re a balanced and explosive offense. But they also give up a lot of points.”

The Panthers are ranked 33 in the nation in total defense; allowing just 349.4 yards-per-game. They’ve also forced 25 turnovers which ranks second in the nation. They will be tasked with trying to slow down the explosive Monarch offense.

The Panthers sit at 3-6 after losing their last three. They will need to win their remaining three games (away at Old Dominion University, home vs. Middle Tennessee State University and away at University of North Texas) to keep their hopes for a Bowl game alive.

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