Thursday, November 2, 2017

Campbell and Davidson Meet as Conference Foes for Last Time

In a final farewell as Pioneer League foes, Campbell (5-4, 4-2) and Davidson (2-6, 0-5) will match up this Saturday at Richardson Stadium. It is the tenth meeting all-time between the two dating back to the first contest in 2008. Campbell leads the all-time series 5-4 after last season's 28-0 win at Barker-Lane Stadium. With Campbell transitioning to scholarship football and moving to the Big South in 2018, Saturday's game will be the last time the two teams compete as conference foes.

For the Campbell Camels, redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Smith has thrown for 1586 yards with 902 yards rushing, leading the Camels in both categories. His 902 yards rushing are the second most ever by a Camel, trailing only De'Shawn Jones' 2015 total of 1079. His 17 touchdown passes on the year has already made him Campbell's all-time leader in career touchdown passes. After a 58-year hiatus, Campbell began playing football again in 2008. A target of many of Smith's passes is former Southern Lee standout Aaron Blockmon. The redshirt junior has a team-high 423 receiving yards and has scored five touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Camels are led by linebacker Jack Ryan (Weddington), defensive back Carlos Merritt, and Emmanuel Olenga (Olympic). Ryan leads the team with 76 tackles, Merritt has scored two defensive touchdowns to go along with his five interceptions, and Olenga has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks with 8.5 sacks so far this season.

For Davidson to even the series with Campbell, the Wildcats are going to have to get another solid performance from Wesley Duggar. Duggar leads Davidson with 801 rushing yards this season, averaging 100 yards per game with four total touchdowns. Dugger, along with Daniel Smith of Campbell were both named to the initial STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award Watch List. This distinction is handed out to the most outstanding freshman performer in all of the FCS.

To say Davidson is relying on youth for its scoring this year is an understatement. 17 of the Wildcats' 19 touchdowns have been produced by the freshman and sophomore classes. Senior Kahleel Shaw rushed for a touchdown in the opener and classmate Austin Wells returned a blocked punt for a TD against Guilford - the only two upper-class scores of the season. On the defensive side of the ball, youth once again reigns supreme as sophomore George Hatalowich leads the Davidson defense with 53 tackles and an interception.

Kickoff at Richardson Stadium is set for 1:00 pm this Saturday and will be televised by College Football Down South.