Wise, Virginia - Saturday's game is the season opener for Faulkner while UVa-Wise enters the contest after one of the biggest wins in school history with a 24-21overtime victory over nationally ranked Bethel University in week one.
Faulkner enters its season opener following a 3-7 campaign in 2011. Despite the 3-7 mark, the Eagles are one of the more dangerous offensive teams in the NAIA A year ago, Faulkner led the conference and finished third in the NAIA in scoring at 43.5 points per contest. Faulkner's impressive offensive season was highlighted by a 95 point output in an overtime victory over Union College.
The Eagles offense is led by senior quarterback Josh Hollingsworth who threw for 3,937 yards and 43 touchdowns as a junior. The quarterback led the nation in passing yards per game last season while also leading the nation in total offense per game at over 423 yards per contest. When going to the air, Hollingsworth will most likely turn to his returning leading receiver Chris Kordakis who hauled in 54 receptions for 731 yards and ten touchdowns in 2011. When the Eagles turn to the ground, the most likely option may be Hollingsworth. The quarterback is the top returning ground gainer after he ran for 297 yards and three scores a season ago.
Despite several key returners on the offensive side of the ball; Faulkner may be a bit of a mystery for the Cavaliers this week. The Eagles have an entirely new coaching staff and are under the direction of Head Coach Brent Barker. Also the athletic director at Faulkner Univeristy, Barker previously served as Faulkner's baseball coach after a very successful high school career where he coached both baseball and football. The first year coach played baseball at Texas Christian University and earned his bachelor's degree in education from the school. During his high school tenure, Barker worked at national powerhouse South Lake Carroll where he was apart of a team that won 77 consecutive regular season games. South Lake Carroll also won a state championship while Barker worked with the school's football program.
This week's game will be the first of consecutive games against Mid-South East opponents for the Eagles. Faulkner will travel to Georgetown College in week two for a Thursday night match up against the #4 Tigers. In 2011, the Eagles went 1-1 in Mid-South crossover affairs. Faulkner's crossover victory game in October of last season with a 59-49 home win over now Mid-South West member Campbellsville University.
To read this week's game notes in their entirety please click here: Game Notes