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The 2010 season did not start the way the Lakeland College football team planned, but the Muskies (0-1) can gain some momentum when they face rival Carthage this Saturday, Sept. 11. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
The Muskies are looking for their first win over Carthage in seven years after several years of high-scoring, close games and near misses.
The Red Men come to Taylor Field after a 30-27 win over Franklin College. Carthage had 431 total yards, including 341 yards passing. They were led by quarterback Evan Jones, who completed 26-of-45 passes and threw two touchdowns, both to junior receiver Jerome Brown. His favorite targets were sophomore wide receiver Pete Djurickovic (seven catches, 100 yards) and senior wide out Chris Schulz (six catches, 68 yards).
In last week's loss to Carroll, Lakeland's defense struggled, allowing 412 total yards, 215 on the ground. Lakeland defensive coordinator Colin Bruton said many of the problems stemmed from a breakdown in fundamentals. "We couldn't get off blocks and we were missing tackles," Bruton said. "We played an inexperienced front six and many were getting their first extended playing time. It's not an excuse, and we've worked hard this week and should do a lot better Saturday."
The Muskies' secondary will play a key role Saturday against the Red Men's passing attack. "They run plays and formations that most teams don't see around the country, let along in our league," said Bruton. "They have an experienced senior quarterback, one of the best we will see all year, and they run a very sophisticated passing attack."
Lakeland also hopes to find some rhythm on offense after gaining 289 total yards of offense and just 20 yards rushing. After a solid first quarter, Lakeland head coach Kevin Doherty said his offense lost focus as penalties and misreads cost the Muskies on key drives. Doherty believes the offense will perform better this week. Carthage's defense allowed 462 yards of offense in its opener, including 372 passing.
"We need to put some nice drives together, score some points and gain confidence for the rest of the game," said Doherty. "We need to take pressure off our playmakers and play more relaxed. We had some misreads and mental errors that cost us field position and we never found a rhythm. The changes are a collective assignment throughout the offense as a whole."