A stern test awaits the University of West Florida football team Saturday when it takes on 2016 national runner-up North Alabama. Kickoff is 4 p.m. at Blue Wahoos Stadium in Pensacola.
In their second year of existence, the Argonauts come into the game with a chance to set a program record for wins in a season and for wins in conference play in a season. They are 5-3 overall and 3-3 in the Gulf South Conference.
UWF lost 51-3 to UNA last season but is hoping for a better showing this time around. It enters the game averaging 242.6 yards per game through the air and 101.4 rushing yards per outing. The Argos have rushed for 100 or more yards in five of their last six games and have been led offensively by Mike Beaudry, who has thrown for 1,780 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Despite sitting at 4-4 overall, the Lions are still in a position to win the conference championship. They are 4-2 in conference play, one game behind GSC leader West Alabama.
The Lions feature one of the best defenses in the nation, forcing 24 turnovers, including 17 off interceptions to fuel one of the best pass defenses in NCAA Division II. They have allowed just four passing touchdowns all season.
The Argos have managed to score 40 or more only twice and have scored 13 of their 22 offensive touchdowns through the air, which means a lot of pressure will be on the running game to step up. Chris Schwarz is the leading rusher, churning out 385 yards and four scores.
Defensively, UWF has forced 14 turnovers and is led by Reggie Barnes, who has tallied 63 tackles.
Antoine Griffin is the top receiving threat for UWF, catching 35 passes for 484 yards and two scores.
Caleb Robinson has caught 27 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown and Ka’Ron Ashley has come through with 20 catches for 260 yards and four touchdowns.
Marvin Conley has racked up 62 tackles and has picked off two passes. Joshua Smiley has tallied 60 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
The Argos have turned the ball over only nine times and have tallied 16 sacks while allowing 20 sacks.
Rico Bruton has played a key role in the UNA offense, throwing for more than 800 yards and rushing for nearly 400. He has thrown four touchdown passes and rushed for four scores.
Christon Taylor leads the UNA defense with 62 tackles and has picked off three passes.
UNA has won three of its last four games and two of its losses this season have been by seven points or less.
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