The Newberry Wolves will try to gets their third win of the season when they host Catawba Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Newberry also looks to move to open South Atlantic Conference play with a win as the Wolves host the third of four straight home games to open the season.
This matchup features the only two 2-0 teams in the SAC as Newberry has wins over Elizabeth City State and Shorter, while Catawba defeated West Liberty and Livingstone.
Newberry is one of only two teams in the conference (the other being Wingate) who can count all of their 2012 schedule as in-region games for NCAA Division II playoff purposes.
This game will match up the two most efficient quarterbacks in the conference, as Catawba’s redshirt freshman B.J. Sherrill has a 223.03 rating and Newberry’s sophomore W.T. Murden has a 149.43 rating. Murden is the SAC’s only starter in a non-option offense without an interception thrown this season.
Murden will be protective by an outstanding offensive line, which despite returning only one starter from a year ago, has allowed only two sacks in the last 14 games.
Wide receiver Corey Washington was a standout in the Shorter game for the Wolves, moving up to ninth in the SAC’s yards per game charts after hauling in four receptions for 113 yards and the 30-yard game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Three of his receptions were for over 25 yards.
Punter JoJo Morris is the second leading punter in the league in terms of yardage at 42.4 yards per boot, but his placement has been excellent, with five of his nine kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Newberry’s opponents have averaged only 0.2 yards per punt return (1 yard on five returns).
The defense has been led by senior Apollo Stretch, who ranks second in the league with 12.5 tackles per game after 13 stops against Shorter.
The Wolves lead the league turnover margin, with a plus-3.50 per game in that category to rank fourth in the nation. Newberry has recovered six punts and intercepted two passes and thrown only one fluke deflection interception.
Both teams will look for a balance between the run and the pass on offense, as the pass has been each squad’s primary weapon.
Catawba comes into tonight’s game as one of the only two 2-0 teams in the South Atlantic Conference. One of Saturday’s combatants will emerge as the only 3-0 team in the conference.
The Catawba Indians caused eight turnovers and notched 11 sacks in a 24-3 win over West Liberty to open the season.
Sherrill made his collegiate debut against Livingstone last week and threw a 57-yard TD pass on his first play on the way to a 19-for-24 performance for 317 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Catawba has the sixth-best rushing defense in Division II, allowing 29 yards per game thanks to 13 sacks.
Nate Charest has 10 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown, while Payton McCollum has five receptions for 156 yards and three scores.
Cory Johnson has a team high 15 tackles, while Gabriel Evans has recorded three sacks.
Saturday’s game is the 76th all-time meeting between Newberry and Catawba.
This is Newberry’s second-longest active rivalry, behind Lenoir-Rhyne (79th meeting in November).
Catawba holds a 38-34-3 lead in the all-time series.
Newberry has a 17-14-2 (.545) lead in games played at Setzler Field.