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Bulldogs begin two-game Appalachia swing
Sep 22, 2012 12:00 am
By ANDY REED
If Cumberland didn't have classes next week and a larger supply of money for an extended hotel stay, the Bulldogs could spend the next eight days in Appalachia.
The Bulldogs will face Virginia-Wise at 5 p.m. CDT Saturday and Pikeville, some 40 minutes away, seven days later.
"We're going to pass ourself, I think, on the way back," Cumberland coach Dewayne Alexander said. "It's the same route. We'll go the same way. We're actually going to stay at the same hotel.
"I hope we have a good stay this week. I may change hotels if the game doesn't go well."
Virginia-Wise's only extended trip went well as the Cavaliers won at Bethel 24-21 in overtime Aug. 25 before losing at home 43-10 to Faulkner and just down the road at Pikeville 38-20 last Saturday.
"They've got a solid team, a young team," Alexander said of the Cavs, who run a spread but with some two-back, similar to Belhaven, which lost in overtime to CU 367-30 in overtime last Saturday. "They have an athletic team.
"Offensively, they've been throwing quite a bit. They do like to run the football. They've had a couple of games where they've gotten behind and they've had to throw. They've played several different quarterbacks... They're balanced on offense."
UVa's defense features four down linemen, also similar to what Cumberland saw last week.
"They're very active on defense," Alexander said. "They move around a lot, they blitz quite a bit. They blitz more than what we've seen the last couple of weeks so we've had to work hard on that this week."
Wise plays in the Mid-South Conference East Division while Cumberland is in the West, thus, this game won't count in the division standings. But at 2-1 for the season, this game is important in terms of the NAIA poll, where the Bulldogs are rated 21st.
"These games could prove important," Alexander said. "You don't want to get to the end of the year and let one of these bite you. In football, we don't get but 11 games, so they're all important."
Carl Smith Stadium has FieldTurf, which Alexander said the Bulldogs will play on away from Nokes-Lasater Field most of the remainder of the season. The team is scheduled to practice today at Kingsport's Dobyns Bennett High, which also has a FieldTurf facility and whose Indians are off this week.
On the injury list, Cumberland is swapping one fullback for another. Senior Adrian [Tank] Baker is out with a groin pull while former Mt. Juliet standout Michael Nwokoji's ankle is healed after spraining it during the Bulldogs' final scrimmage of fall camp.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at email@example.com