UNA set to play at Shorter on Saturday at high noon

ROME, Ga. — After snapping a two-game losing skid with a 30-7 Homecoming win over Florida Tech last Saturday, the University of North Alabama hopes to continue to get its 2017 season back on track with a Gulf South Conference road game at Shorter on October 14.

UNA enters the game, set for a noon Central kickoff, with a 2-3 overall record and a 2-2 GSC mark. Shorter is 0-6 overall and 0-4 in the GSC.

The Lions have completely dominated the series to this point. UNA is 5-0 all-time against Shorter and has outscored the Hawks 201-14 in the five previous meetings. UNA’s five wins over Shorter have been by scores of 41-0, 41-0, 45-7, 28-7 and 45-0.

UNA can’t take anything for granted against the Hawks, according to head coach Chris Willis, and must be ready for a challenge Saturday.

“We have to continue to improve offensively in not turning the ball over and pass protection, and we have to cut down on penalties,” Willis said. “We have been hurting ourselves and that’s something we need to continue to correct. Shorter is definitely a team that we have to be focused on.”

Both UNA and Shorter have been struggling offensively this season. UNA is ranked 151st in total offense in Division II out of 168 schools. The Lions are ranked 126th in rushing offense and 137th in passing offense. Shorter is 164th in total offense, 166th in rushing offense and 128th in passing offense. Shorter’s 11.0 points per game ranks 166th and UNA is 117th at 21.4.

UNA’s 134 yards of total offense against Florida Tech was the lowest by a UNA team in 70 games, dating back to a 5-0 loss to Valdosta State on October 14, 2010 when the Lions picked up just 101 yards. But despite the low offensive output last week, UNA did not turn the ball over and posted a 30-7 win.

On the defensive side, UNA is ranked 10th in Division II in interceptions with 11 – including four last Saturday against Florida Tech.

On special teams, UNA junior kicker Chandler Carrera has made his last six straight field goal attempts after going 0-for-3 in the Lions’ season-opener and freshman punt returner Dwain Smith is averaging 24.2 yards per return on his five attempts this season, including a 52-yarder against Florida Tech.

Source: University Athletic Dept.

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