INSTITUTE, West Virginia -- The Yellow Jackets host Fairmont State Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dickerson Stadium in an important early season Mountain East Conference matchup for both teams.
WVSU traveled north to take a 59-34 decision after speeding outt o a 37-7 halftime lead in last season's opener to break a five game losing streak to the Falcons.
On paper this year's contest looks to be a close one.
Both West Virginia State Head Coach Jon Anderson and his Falcon counterpart Jason Woodman are entering their fourth season leading their respective programs.
Each squad feature an experienced quarterback capable of putting up big numbers. Yellow Jacket junior Matt Kinnickled the MEC in passing yards per game last season averaging 282.3 while Fairmont senior Cooper Hibbs was fourth at 243.6 per contest.
The leading receiver for each team also returns. Junior Quinton Gray caught 56 passes for 878 yards, and average of 15.7 yards per catch. Senior Fabian Guerra paced the visitors with 62 catches for 819 yards, 13.2 per catch.
On the ground the Falcons averaged 140.3 yards a game while WVSU ran for 109.7. In all the Jackets held a slight 392 to 383.9 yards per game advantage.
Both teams rely heavily on strong defensive units and taking care of the ball on offense. Fairmont State led the MEC in turnover margin while WVSU was third but led the league with 16 interceptions.
The Yellow Jacket defense is led by senior Mitch Rowell and junior Dennis Gardeck at linebacker. Rowell finished 2015 with 94 tackles while Gardeck made 93 and was second in teh conference with 11 sacks.
Junior linebacker Marcus Porter led the Falcons with 72 tackles and picked off four passes.
This will be the 49th meetingbetween the programs with Fairmont State leading the series 33-14-1.
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