Moving On: Hawks look forward to homecoming meeting with Truman State
By Shane Hulsey
The message at Quincy University football practice this week was clear: move forward.
The Hawks lost 33-7 to Wayne State in their home opener. The Warriors outgained Quincy 537-115 and outrushed the Hawks 327-41. Wayne State possessed the ball for over 42 minutes and ran 81 plays to the Hawks’ 57.
This week is a new week, though, and that means a new opponent. Truman State brings their 3-0 record to QU Stadium for the Hawks’ homecoming game.
Senior quarterback Andrew Rund said with a solid week of practice, the Hawks will be ready to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season.
“You don’t win a game with one practice,” he said. “We just have to put this week together and prepare for Truman State. We’re moving on, and we’re going to learn from our mistakes. Hopefully that’ll lead us to the promise land on Saturday.”
Even after gaining just 115 yards and scoring seven points against Wayne State, the Hawks are still averaging 378.7 yards and 26.3 points per game.
A large contributor to the offense’s success has been running back Jalen Griffin. The redshirt freshman has rushed for 259 yards and four touchdowns through three games. As a team, the Hawks have rushed for 471 yards, good for 157 yards per game. Truman State, however, has been stingy against the run, allowing 88 yards per game on the ground.
Griffin said the best way to combat Truman State’s tough defense is to wear them down, which will happen if the Hawks get their up-tempo offense rolling.
“We have to run our plays to perfection and run our up-tempo offense like we’ve been doing,” he said. “We have to attack them right away, get that first down, and just keep moving from there.”
The Hawks will look to avoid dropping to 3-8 all-time against Truman State. The Hawks’ last win over the Bulldogs came on Halloween 2015, a 23-19 win at QU Stadium. Truman State has won five of the previous six meetings on the gridiron between these two schools.
Truman State comes into this week undefeated despite getting outgained by an average of 12 yards per game.
The Bulldogs’ defense has been their biggest strength through the first three games. They have held opponents to 8.67 points per game (this includes holding Division I opponents Drake and Valparaiso to seven points each). The Bulldogs have recorded six sacks, including five against Drake in their opening game. They have intercepted four passes and forced four fumbles, recovering two and returning one for a touchdown.
Rund said the Hawks cannot give the Bulldogs anything easy if they plan to pull off the upset.
“They don’t miss too many opportunities, so we have to limit them in those opportunities and take care of the ball,” Rund said. “We have get our tempo going on offense and help our defense out by not giving Truman good field position.”
QU will look to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season Saturday at QU Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.