Who's Playing?: Oxford (1-2, #8 AP, #6 MP, #81 NTL (MP computer poll), #1 in 5A [MP]) @ Lafayette (3-0, #9 AP, #20 MP, #2 in 4A [CL])
What?: 44th Crosstown Classic / 45th Meeting / Last Non-Region Game
Where?: William L. Buford Stadium
When?: Friday, September 11th @ 7:00 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: 95.5 FM Radio, Bullseye955.com, @OxChargerSports Twitter account, thru the iScore Gamecast HERE (use ID 7DF28156B0 for entry if needed) and the iScore Central App on Apple devices HERE (download the app for free using that link, which will send you to the Apple App Store, after downloading and starting the app, search Oxford and/or Lafayette for the game)
The Lowdown: 1-2 is about the worst record that could've come out in this point in the season. Oxford is 3-4 caught passes (even less than that) and a 34-yard field goal away from being 3-0.
The fact of the matter is, the Chargers aren't 3-0.
Oxford has not played to their potential in any game this season, including the jamboree against Charleston. The offense would certainly say that. They haven't let the defense get a whole lot of rest when they need to. The young Charger defense has done everything they can to give the offense a chance to win the game.
DK Metcalf has been held in check. He has not had a reception in each of the past two second halves against Starkville or Madison Central. Other players has had to win the game and it hasn't been done. This is where Oxford misses Kyree White who was always such a weapon when Metcalf has been doubled-covered. If Oxford wants to win this game, the offense needs to establish the tone of the game.
Lafayette's seniors have been whipped by the Chargers since middle school. If recalling correctly, the 'Dores beat Oxford in seventh Grade and have been getting destroyed ever since. Eighth grade was a beatdown. Freshmen year, Oxford was up 35-0 at Lafayette by the end of the first quarter and really had to hold back to not run up the score. Two years ago, Oxford won 30-0 in what is the biggest shutout in the history of the series. Oxford won 41-7 last year in the biggest margin of victory (34) in the history of the series in addition to the most points the 'Dores have ever allowed to a Charger football team. Ever since Jeremy Liggins left, the Lafayette offense has not been able to score on Oxford save for one busted play last year.
Of course, the Lafayette defense needs to do their job in addition to better success on offense in order to regain control of the series that has seen Oxford reel off 92 of the last 99 points scored in this series that goes back to the Safety scored by Oxford as the last points of the 2011 game.
Lafayette has their best offense they have seen since 2011, scoring 36.3 PPG so far this season including 20 against a supposedly good Grenada defense last week. As usual of Lafayette teams, they will try to run the ball behind their one stud OL to his side and pass when need be somewhere around a 80/20 clip. When they do pass, it has been to one main wideout but will throw to a second guy. Will Ard hasn't but attempted 38 passes on the season for 347 yards (for comparison, Jack Abraham threw 69 passes for 485 yards just last week).
This one promises to be a closer game than the last two meetings between the two schools, especially this one on the road.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Establish the Run Game Early - Oxford ran 91 plays last week and only 1/7 of those went to a handoff to Drew Bianco. The offense needs to establish a run game and not have Abraham throw another Baseball game.
Stuff the Run Game - Tyrell Price is Lafayette's main player on offense. If he runs well, the offense will be able to use play-action off of it. If they get into a predictable passing situation, that is where the Chargers will have the advantage.
Execute Special Teams - While the three Field Goal tries so far haven't been chip shots, the last two have been makeable and both missed wide left. Obviously was the critical factor in the loss last week. There are areas that have been great (such as the onside kick department), but the scoring area needs work.
For Lafayette to Win, They Must: Shorten the Game - similiar to how Starkville did. Run the football, pass it if need be and keep the Lafayette offense on the field. It will work if the end result is points at least 60% of the drives in this game.
Trust in the Defense - if the Lafayette offense can do its part, it will be easier for the 'Dores' defense to come out and do their part, whatever it be successful or not, a rhythm won't be established if the Oxford offense is on the bench for 10-15 real-time minutes each drive.
Make Oxford One-Dimensional - Getting a lead helps this, but stopping Oxford's run game will be key. If Oxford can run the ball, it will be harder to stop the always dangerous wideout corps Oxford has at its disposal.
Other Notes: Lafayette leads the overall series 24-18-2, but Oxford has won the last three by a combined score of 90-7. Oxford needs to score 29 points to be the first ever class from either side to score at least 100 points in the series and needs to score 22 points to be the class with the most points ever within a 3-year span.