The Marietta College football team faces another tough task Saturday against 3-0 Heidelberg.
The Student Princes have outscored opponents 144-9 in its first three contests against Alma (Mich.), Ohio Northern and Wilmington.
Meanwhile, the Pioneers have suffered from a tough schedule, losing games to Case Western Reserve, Capital and Mount Union, but look to get in the win column this week.
"We're getting better up front offensively," said Marietta head coach Jeff Filkovski, "The stats don't always show it, but I think we're getting better there. We need more productivity out of our offense. We've changed defenses this year. We've got some older guys that are still learning, but I think we're improving there, too."
It figures to be a contest full of offense, as both teams have talented quarterbacks. For Heidelberg, Michael Mees is completing 68.6 percent of his passes for 628 yards and seven touchdowns to just two interceptions. Marietta's Tom Fulton has 437 yards and three touchdowns through the air, with juniors Kirby Harris and Tannon Roberts serving as quality receivers.
The big difference in the game may come down to the ground game. Heidelberg running back Cartel Brooks leads the OAC in yards per game (188.7) and touchdowns (7) while averaging 8.8 yards per carry.
"We go into every game trying to stop the run," Filkovski said. "Heidelberg has talented guys, and they're a very physical team. I told our team that they're probably the second best team in the league. Hopefully we can limit (Brooks) and put the ball in Mees' hands as much as possible."
The Pioneers, on the other hand, have yet to score a rushing touchdown, but have gotten a recent surge from Alex Fountain, who is averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Mike Hallett-coached Student Princes are ranked No. 1 in the OAC. As a team, they have intercepted nine passes already this season, to go along with 11 sacks and 25 tackles for losses.
Marietta has forced three turnovers this season, two on interceptions and one on a fumble. Louis DiPaolo and Kadeem Corbin lead the team with two sacks a piece, while David Olach has 1.5. Linebacker Jake Hammer has 45 tackles on the season, which equates to a 14.3 per game average, which is tops in the conference.
Filkovski knows what the team has to do to be successful, it just comes down to execution.
"We need to put a string of good plays together," Filkovski said. "That's what it takes to beat a good team on the road. We have to take care of the football. We can't let them run down our throats, and we have to get the defense off the field. Third downs are going to be very important for us. Offensively, we need our playmakers to show up. Whether it's Kirby Harris, Tannon Roberts or whoever, we need our playmakers to show up and make plays."