Kyle Scherwin - staff writer
Grand Valley opens their season Thursday night against a team that usually posts good numbers...but not necessarily against good teams. Saint Joe's is coming off an 8-3 record last season, including a loss to GVSU, 31-6. Grand Valley had built a 24-0 halftime lead before pulling their foot off the pedal, and still held the Pumas to 6 points in the second half.
This time around, offensive points might be harder to come by, but I'm one of the guys under the impression that Chuck Martin will prove early that his new QB can still light up the scoreboard like Cullen Finnerty did. I would expect a good amount of early points scored before getting a couple of the other QB's some playing time towards the end of the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, you can expect a GV defense that only allowed 6 points last season to SJU to be even better this year, returning the majority of the starters. 183 of 197 offensive yards last season for SJU were through the air, and with GV returning the entire secondary from that game (note: Buster Larkins was not a starter that game), you can expect that that number will be even smaller.
I would look for SJU to have early success on the ground against some new defensive linemen, a hard time throwing the ball, and GVSU to take this game based purely on talent and depth just as they win most games. Defense steps up to ease the offense's shaky first steps to pitch a shutout in a 38-0 Laker victory.
Allen Trieu - Managing Editor
It should be as electric an atmosphere as we've had at Lubbers Stadium for a regular season game in the past couple years. A Thursday night opener when the GV program is at it's all time high in terms of popularity means the student section will be rocking!
On the field, we'll get to see Brad Iciek make his debut at quarterback. He'll manage a game, from what we've seen and heard, that is one of his strengths. How will the running game fare? The bigger question is who will carry most of the load, but behind this offensive line, I'm not too worried about the running game.
St. Josephs is a decent team with a lot of experience especially at the skill positions. They have a four year starter at QB, Anthony Lindsey and tailback Greg Ford has been a productive back. But they face a Laker defense who is one of the nation's best. Lindsey will have to make some outstanding throws against this secondary. With some new faces on the defensive line, we'll be watching closely to see how that unit performs.
I'm expecting at least a few opening night jitters given the new faces and the atmosphere surrounding the game. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit of a slow start, but once the Lakers get rolling, it should be smooth sailing.
Prediction: Grand Valley State - 28, St. Joseph's - 7
Staff Predictions: GVSU vs St. Josephs
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