The stage may be set for a big win this afternoon.
King's has played Delaware Valley close the last few times before being just a few steps away from making a big play and knocking off the four-time defending MAC champion Aggies.
This afternoon at 1 at McCarthy Stadium, the Monarchs (1-4, 1-3 MAC) may be ready to get over the hump. They are coming off a bye so they've had extra time to prepare for the perennial powerhouse. And, All-MAC linebacker Ryan Cordingly is returning to the unit after missing the last four games with an injury.
"We're excited to have him back," King's coach Jeff Knarr said. "As coaches we did a lot of film study to get ready for DelVal. We've got a chance to look and see where we're getting better. So the bye week was a good week for us."
Delaware Valley (3-2, 3-1) has shown that it is not unbeatable this season having dropped a pair of games to open the season to Rowan and Lycoming by a combined score of 51-27. Since those first two weeks, the Aggies have turned around and pummeled their opponents 139-34 in the last three games and big plays have played a big role. King's meanwhile has been susceptible to giving up plays that account for big chunks of yards.
"They seem to be a different team when they're dictating the tempo of the game," Knarr said. "If everyone does their job and contains those guys and more importantly contain the quarterback, who can run and throw, it's going to make them work for their yards."
Mainly, the Aggies have been playing their best ball of the season by spreading the ball around on offense with nine different players scoring a touchdown on the season led by Kyle Schuberth's six rushing TDs and one receiving score. Schuberth is also fifth in the MAC in yards on the ground with 416. When Schuberth isn't involved in the gameplan at the time, wide receiver Chris Ruiz is likely the target with 29 receptions for 354 yards and five touchdowns.
One of the tailbacks that Schuberth trails in yards is the Monarchs' Kyle McGrath, who has gone for 511 yards so far, good for second in the conference. That's something Knarr will have to stick with if his team is going to pull the upset, especially since the Aggies have the top pass defense in the MAC.
When: 1 p.m. today at McCarthy Stadium, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Last Meeting: The Aggies won last year at home 42-12.
Last week: Both teams had a bye last week.
About the Aggies: They are first in the MAC in total defense and pass defense, while being second in the conference in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense.
About the Monarchs: They have been playing very well on defense and are second in the MAC in rushing defense (116.2 yards allowed per game) and third in the league in total defense (317.8).
Delaware Valley will win if the offense can break the Monarchs' stingy defense by sticking to the gameplan that has worked well so far this season.
King's will win if it can slow the Aggies' offense and control the ball on offense. When the Monarchs have been at their best this season they have been able to run the ball very effectively.
Aggies Team Leaders
Passing: Aaron Wilmer 93-of-150, 1,240 yards, 12 TDs, 4ints.
Rushing: Kyle Schuberth 416 yards, 6 TDs
Receiving: Vincent Lewis 16 receptions, 395 yards, 4 TDs; Chris Ruiz 29 receptions, 354 yards, 5 TDs
Defense: John Robinson 36 tackles; Dwayne Shaw 2.5 sacks; John Robinson 2 ints.
Monarchs Team Leaders
Passing: Tyler Hartranft 59-of-121, 703 yards, 2 TDs, 6 ints.
Rushing: Kyle McGrath 511 yards, 5 TDs.
Receiving: Dan Kempa 12 receptions, 238 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Kris Matthews 37 tackles; Jake Ksiazkiewicz 3 sacks; four players with one interception