Wayne State football will look to post one of its biggest wins in recent memory as it faces 10th ranked Slippery Rock University in the season opener at Tom Adams Field on Sept.5.
WSU leads the all-time series versus SRU 2-1, with the opening matchup being the first meeting between the two teams since 1986.
Redshirt senior offensive lineman Charlie Younger said the focus of the team heading into the game is to execute their game plan.
“Obviously we’re trying to start something this season and I think a lot of the guys have bought into that,” Younger said. “(Slippery Rock is) a good team, obviously their record speaks for (itself) from last year, so we just gotta come out there and do our jobs and execute like our coaches tell us to do and we’ll see where the game takes us.”
Slippery Rock enters the season ranked 10th in the country after earning a berth in the Division II Playoffs last year, as SRU posted an 11-3 record last season. Slippery Rock returns its starting quarterback from last season along with the team’s top two pass catchers, who combined to score 15 touchdowns last season.
Sophomore linebacker Spencer Stephenson said adjusting to any new changes created by the opponent’s new offensive coordinator and transfer players added to the offense over the summer will be key for WSU’s defense.
“It’s gonna be a learning curve the first series of the game,” Stephenson said. “We’re gonna have to adjust very quickly to those guys and figure out their strengths and weaknesses, (but) as long as we trust our rules and what we’ve been taught, we’ll be completely fine.”
After missing substantial time last season due to injury, Younger, who was one of five players to be selected as team captain, said he was excited to be back on the field again during fall camp.
“There’s no worse form of torture than watching your buddies go to battle each week and not being able to really impact the team statistically speaking,” Younger said. “(But for) fall camp I really got to get physical and get the pads back on and start hitting. It feels great to be back out there with the guys again.”
Stephenson said playing a highly ranked team in the season opener is a big test for the team, but the team believes that they are up for the challenge.
“Playing the number 10 team in the country, obviously it’s a big test for a team that went 2-9 last year, but we have high hopes and we believe in ourselves that we are a very good team and we can prove that,” Stephenson said.
“It should be a very great atmosphere come Thursday and we’re all excited as can be and we can’t wait.”
Kickoff for the game is slated for 6:07 p.m. The game can be seen on Comcast channel 900 and heard on 101.5 FM/1400 AM The Patriot.
Matt Williams is the sports editor of TSE. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover photo by WSU Athletics