The Wolves (1-2, 0-1 GSC) are coming off 52-34 loss to Arkansas Tech last Saturday in their Gulf South Conference and home opener. The week earlier, West Georgia had given Division I-FSC Georgia Southern a scare in Statesboro before falling behind in the second half for a 45-21 loss.
Newberry (3-0), which plays in the South Atlantic Conference, goes into the game with a 14-2 record since the start of the 2006 season and has cruised past its first three opponents, winning by 19 points or more on each occasion.
Newberry’s 321 rushing yards per game is currently the second-highest rushing average in Division II. It has rushed the ball on 70 percent of its play this year.
The Indians spread the ball around on the ground and are led by senior running back Alex Haynes, who has rushed for 490 yards in 55 attempts this season. Haynes is also a threat in the air. In addition to rushing 22 times for 150 yards against North Greenville last weekend, he also caught four passes for 77 yards.
Newberry is deep in the receiving corps and is led by senior Charles Brandon, who has eight receptions for 124 yards, with his longest being a 65-yarder. At quarterback, the Indians have used senior Eric McCollom (22-of-33, 332 yards, 5 TDs) and sophomore Brandon Gnatt (21-of-29, 181 yards, 3 TDs) regularly this season.
For the Wolves, senior quarterback Keats Baldwin has done well in the first three games after sitting out all of last season with a knee injury. Baldwin is 57-of-99 for 663 yards and five touchdowns. Jimmy Howard has been West Georgia’s leading receiver with 14 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns, while James Kennebrew has picked up 193 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 52 carries.
West Georgia has spread the ball around on offense this year. Eleven different rushers have run the ball out of the backfield and 13 different receivers have received a pass.
This game will mark the first time these two teams have played each other since 1996, when West Georgia won 10-7 on a fourth quarter field goal in its season opener.