Mid-South Conference teams will begin division play this weekend. For the Phoenix, the next six Bluegrass Division games, starting with today’s 12:30 p.m. CDT contest at Georgetown College, will determine the destiny of their season.
Cumberland lost to NCAA FCS Presbyterian 27-20 last week after being tied in the fourth quarter.
“We played well,” Cumberland coach Donnie Suber said of last week. “We just got tired there in the fourth. We missed three tackles on that last touchdown they scored. We got the ball back in plenty of time to tie it up again and we fumbled. Kind of shot ourselves in the foot. We got to overcome that and learn from it and move on.
“We’d like to be 5-0, but 4-1 is good, too. Our season really starts Saturday. I told our guys this has been preseason. We’re 4-1 in the preseason and we’re starting our regular season.”
Georgetown, a longtime MSC and NAIA power, is ranked 16th (Cumberland is 21st). The Tigers, who lost a game with Florida-based Southeastern due to Hurricane Irma, are 3-0.
“This will be a huge test for us,” Suber said. “They popped us there last year and we got to go back up there again.”
Georgetown runs a 50 defense. The Tigers are a spread offense, but don’t throw the ball as much as most.
“They blitz a lot this year,” Suber said. “Last year they didn’t blitz hardly at all.
“They’re going to run some belly (on offense), run some power plays and run a little rocket and they throw the ball around a little bit. But they’re big and physical up front. So that’s going to be our issue, just trying to get to the quarterback… If we play at our pace and not play at their pace, we’ll have a shot.”
On the injury front, backup center Remington Tyler has nerve damage in his back and is likely out for the season, Suber said. Starting center Chandler Peeples, who gave way to Tyler last week, will try to play after receiving a shot Thursday for a torn labrum.
“We just don’t have any depth,” Suber said. “We’re down to, like, six linemen.
“Otherwise, we’re fairly healthy.”
Quarterback Dezmon Huntley has a tweaked ankle, as do backup safety Terry Tiller and receiver Ladarius Rodgers, Suber said.