The Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils (0-4) had their way in Golden Lion Stadium last season against the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (2-3).
UAPB Head Coach Monte Coleman and company made positive transitions throughout the off season, so they're not the same football team that lost 41-7 to MVSU last year on their home field.
The Delta Devils haven't won a game this season, so Coleman anticipates to play a group of guys hungry for a win.
MVSU has only played one conference game so far, and their other three games were against two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponents and North Dakota State University of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
However, Coleman is marking this one down as one the Golden Lions must find a way to win
"They'll come in with blood in their eyes," Coleman said of MVSU. "It's going to be a game that we have to win"
Delta Devils Head Coach Rick Comegy is in his fourth year at the helm. Prior to his time at MVSU, Comegy was the Head Coach at Jackson State from 2006 to 2013. Comegy is well-respected around the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and his winning pedigree can be credited.
"I have a lot of respect for Coach Comegy," Coleman said. "Pretty much everywhere he's been he's won. He's won championships in other divisions and conferences, and I have a lot of respect for him. One of the questions I was asked in a press conference yesterday was can they sneak up on us. Of course the answer to that question was no they can't sneak up because we're not taking them lightly. We know how good they are."
Just like last year, the Delta Devils are running a two-quarterback system on offense. In their previous match up, the Golden Lions were torched by both of Valley's quarterbacks.
First it was Slade Jarman, who finished 17/23 passing for 214 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Then it was Austin Bray, who rotated in and completed 6/6 passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns. Both Jarman and Bray are no longer with the program, as they transferred in the off season.
Instead, the two guys rotating in their system are freshmen, and Coleman looks to exploit their inexperience.
"Coach Comegy is a very smart coach, and his coaching staff complement each other," Coleman said. "They do have two freshmen quarterbacks and a junior college guy that played some in the Charleston game. They primarily play the two freshmen. We're not the same team as we were last year, and I mean that as a compliment to our football team. Yeah they came in last year and beat us. They're not the same football team. The two freshmen at quarterback are not as productive as the guys that they had. It's going to be a good battle between us and Valley."
Although Jarman and Bray are gone, their new starter freshmen Christopher Fowler has shown that he's capable of spreading the ball around through the air.
For the season, Fowler has completed 73/106 passes for 754 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Against Grambling, Fowler was 31/43 passing for 341 yards and one interception. His counterpart is Dewayne Betts. Betts has only attempted 34 passes on the year, so he's not relied on as much as Fowler.
In their 38-6 loss to Grambling, the Delta Devils recorded 50 total rushing yards and 358 total receiving yards. MVSU hasn't been able to do much on the ground this season, but their passing stats have been up to par. Coleman and staff know the formula to beating this Valley team is to take the pass away, so that's how they're tailoring their game plan.
"As far as the numbers they put up offensively, primarily they're a passing football team," Coleman said. "If you look at their run yards per game their not as effective running the football so the thing that we have to do is make them one-dimensional. We have to take the pass away and force them to run the football. Coach Carillo and his staff are working on a game plan to do just that. We know they can throw the football well, the thing we have to do is take that away from them."
The Golden Lions will take on MVSU at Golden Lion Stadium at 6 p.m. Saturday as they look for their second conference win of the season.