The Wayne State football team is looking to rebound from an injury-plagued 2017 season, as they begin their 2018 campaign on Aug. 30.
Halfway through last season, an average of 13 players per game were unable to play due to injury; the Warriors had a 2–5 record at the midway point of the season and finished the year 5–6.
While the team battled injuries for much of the season, senior linebacker Anthony Pittman said there were a couple of games that could have turned things around for the team last year.
“We definitely left some games on the table (last year),” Pittman said. “We probably should have beaten Tiffin and Northwood; those are the games we (have circled) on the calendar for this season.”
In the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Warriors were tied for fourth with two other teams in the league standings.
One of the most stable positions for the program in the past has been at running back and this year is no different, as WSU has several legitimate options in the backfield, and according to senior Deiontae Nicholas, each player brings something different to the table.
“Me, I’m more of a pass catching deep threat, (Demetrius) Stinson is a power back, and don’t sleep on James Hill — he’s been working really hard this summer,” Nicholas said. “We have a special group.”
Senior quarterback D.J. Zezula enters the season with a slight advantage in the battle for the starting spot as quarterback over junior Dakota Kupp and sophomore Jake AmRhein. Although he missed some time due to injury, Zezula threw 15 touchdowns and threw for 1,172 yards last season.
On defense, Pittman leads a Warrior defense with six returning starters; he said he is looking to dominate on the field and remain healthy.
“We want to take it one game at a time (and) not get too high or too low,” Pittman said. “We want that GLIAC title this year (and) then try to fight for the national championship.”
“We can’t look past certain teams (since) we (have) a tough schedule —including two trips to Ferris State and Grand Valley, the two toughest teams in our conference — so we need to have the same mindset going into each week,” Nicholas said.
For the sixth season in a row, WSU will play at least one night game at Tom Adams Field.
This season, five of the Warriors six home games will kick off at 6 p.m., including games against Ashland University, Tiffin University and the homecoming game on Oct. 20 versus Northwood University.
WSU will start the 2018 season with a non-conference match up versus Walsh University on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics.