The Urbana University football team (1-4) will step out of conference play this weekend for a showdown against first-year program Cincinnati Christian (0-6). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at UU Stadium.
UU will look to reverse its third straight 1-4 start and should have plenty of opportunity to put up points Saturday against the Eagles, who are allowing 54 points per contest. The Blue Knights are 2-2 in the previous four non-league games.
The Blue Knights are coming off a 48-14 road loss to undefeated Fairmont State. UU led twice in the first quarter after scoring on its opening two drives, but the Fighting Falcons responded with 41 unanswered points.
Redshirt junior quarterback Tajuan Green returned to the starting lineup last week and was responsible for both UU scores, including his first career rushing touchdown. In four career starts behind center, Green has seven touchdown passes and has thrown for 611 yards with three interceptions.
Five of UU’s seven touchdowns through the air have landed in the hands of playmaker Trevon Saunders, who has recorded a TD reception in 10 of the past 12 games. Saunders also has caught at least one ball in 18 consecutive outings and during 24 of 27 career games played.
Saunders’ 12-yard TD catch last week put him in a two-way tie for fifth place on the UU all-time career TD receptions list with 14. The 5-foot-8 junior needs four more TD grabs to earn sole possession of third place: Joe Webb (‘10-‘13) – 30, Marc Johnson (‘11-‘14) – 20, Barry Quinn (‘04-‘07) – 17, Howard Glover (‘98-‘01) – 16 and Matt Hightower (‘10-‘11) – 14
UU will go for its first win at UU Stadium under second-year head coach Tyler Haines. The Blue Knights have dropped seven straight games and 10 out of the last 13 games on their own turf.
Mechanicsburg graduate Brandon Purk is ranked seventh in the nation for punting with 43.7 yards per kick. Purk, who was named MEC Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 19, has pinned five punts inside the 20 and has recorded seven kicks of 50 yards or longer.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
In its first year of existence, NAIA Cincinnati Christian has stuggled to an 0-6 record under former Cincinnati Bengals Pro-Bowler David Fulcher. The Eagles most recently posted a season-best 14 points against Bethel (Tenn.) in a 48-14 setback last week. The Eagles finished the game with a season-best 237 total yards on the day, with 195 coming on the ground. CCU has been outscored 324-28 this season and was kept from scoring in three games.
HOMECOMING ON TAP NEXT WEEK
UU will remain home next week for a conference clash against West Virginia Wesleyan on Homecoming Weekend. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at UU Stadium with a pre-game tailgate scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The first 100 guests to swing by the UU Spirit Tent and complete an update form will receive a free UU alumni gift.