It is time to head back to the SAC.
Why? Because Bishop Dwenger’s win over Homestead last week has it sitting in a three way tie at 3-1 in the conference standings. And the Saints own the tiebreaker over 3-1 Homestead, so it is really just a tie with them and Snider behind Carroll at this point.
Bishop Dwenger at Carroll is the Outside the Huddle Game of the Week.
WHAT IS ON THE LINE
The front-running spot in the SAC is on the line. Right now, Carroll leads the conference as the lone unbeaten left at 4-0, while Bishop Dwenger sits with a 3-1 mark right behind.
A win for Bishop Dwenger would mean that it would hold the tiebreaker over anyone who could be at the top of the conference with the exception of Snider, who it has yet to play. That would be a great place to be after Week 5 and set up a really fun Week 8 showdown with the Panthers.
A win for Carroll would move it to 5-0 and give Dwenger a second loss in the conference, which would basically eliminate the Saints as a title contender. It would also mean that Week 7 against Homestead would be the likely last hurdle for Carroll on the way to an undefeated SAC season.
This game won’t declare a SAC winner, but it will give more clarity into what needs to happen down the stretch for either team to claim an outright or share of the SAC title and ring that Victory Bell by the time the postseason comes around.
Bishop Dwenger leads the all-time series 10-4 and since 2015 when the Chargers made their way into the SAC, the Saints have won four of seven matchups.
Things have always been fun between these two teams. Three games have been within 10 points, but they always seem much closer than that. In the last seven years, Bishop Dwenger is winning with an average score of 26.7 to 22.6 points per game.
Before Carroll came to the SAC, the two programs had some sectional meetings.
Last season, it was a dominant win for Carroll, 42-23. Jeff Becker went for 321 yards through the air with 173 of those to Jameson Coverstone. Bishop Dwenger’s offense proved mostly stagnant with KJ Tippmann’s 69 yards rushing and Evan Springer and Bohde Dickerson combining for 146 yards passing.
All of those people are now gone from both teams. The only substantial offensive players from a year ago that return are Dwenger’s Teddy Steele and Stellan Ruston, who combined for 4 receptions for 78 yards. Carroll defensive standouts Jorge Valdes (six tackles) and Ashton Pesetski are back as well.
In 2020, Dwenger won a rare Saturday night classic behind a 325-yard passing night from Brenden Lytle. Could this year’s meeting be closer to what happened in 2020 than 2021?
PLAYERS TO WATCH
CJ DAVIS, BISHOP DWENGER
If Jimmy Sullivan really is what he’s looked like he is through the first four weeks of the season, then CJ Davis is going to be on red alert. One of the best defensive backfield players in the SAC against one of the best quarterbacks in the SAC. Who wouldn’t be all in on that? Davis picked up five tackles in a win over Homestead last week. He is second on the team in tackles, but more critically has three interceptions and seven pass deflections this season.
In addition to that, Davis leads the Saints with 77.3 receiving yards per game with three touchdowns. So Davis will continue to be critical on offense too.
JIMMY SULLIVAN, CARROLL
There is a line of thought that Jimmy Sullivan may be the best player, let alone quarterback, in the area for the first half of the regular season. He could prove any remaining doubters wrong if he can keep Carroll undefeated. Sullivan didn’t have to do much last week against Northrop, throwing for 78 yards but did it with two touchdowns on six completions.
Sullivan has thrown for 697 yards in his sophomore season, completing 62.4 percent of his passes with an 11-to-3 touchdown to interception ratio. He has also run for four touchdowns. Is it a bigger challenge for the Saints D to stop him or for Sullivan to overcome his youth to rally by a team that held Homestead to 10 points last Friday?
KEYS TO THE GAME
BISHOP DWENGER: Keep them guessing
While Sam Campbell has been throwing the ball well, it is the diversity on the ground that has and will continue to fuel the Saints. Last week in a win over Homestead, we saw Owen Zimmerman join the rushing party. Six different Saints carried the ball in that close game. Teddy Steele, Sam Campbell and Tobias Tippmann have all been great options on the ground but without a heavy-handed runner like in past seasons emerging yet, the Saints have been willing to go to many different options.
If they can keep the run game, and passing game, diverse then they will keep pushing back the Carroll defense.
CARROLL: Unleash Braden Steely
He may be eighth on the team in tackles and he may have just one interception so far, but if you have watched a Carroll game, you’ve seen Braden Steely absolutely maul people. Steely is one of the hardest hitters in the area and he has proven it time and time again. It makes him very scary for opposing teams, whether they will admit it or not.
If Steely is truly unleashed, then he will be looking to lay big hits on any Saints player that has a football in their hands. He could be a game changer because he is able to turn the tide of a game with the physicality that he brings.
BISHOP DWENGER: A chip on Sam Cambell’s shoulder
With all the talk about Sullivan heading into Friday night’s game, is there a chip on Sam Campbell‘s shoulder? Maybe.. While the Saints QB doesn’t have years under his belt throwing the ball on a varsity level either, Campbell has surprised some with his play. So why aren’t more people talking about Sam Campbell?
A key for Campbell is to make sure he handles the pressure the right way and makes plays. If Campbell can make plays, Bishop Dwenger will thrive. Here is a reality: Campbell’s 671 yards is just under what Carroll’s quarterback has thrown, his completion percentage (67.4) is higher, as is his QB rating at 128.4. Campbell is very good if he continues to play within himself.
CARROLL: Score big
The Chargers have been making a name for themselves in recent years by being heavy scorers. While only giving up 18.3 points per game this season, the one time someone scored more than 18 on Bishop Dwenger, the Saints lost; Carroll is averaging 34 points per game.
Dwenger has won three of the last four in this matchup and in those losses, Carroll has not scored more than 21. In fact, when the teams have met since 2015, when Carroll does score more than 21 points, it wins.
Check back for Blitz’s picks to find out!
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