SCHENECTADY — After two weeks of blowout wins to start its season, the Union College football program should finally receive a test this weekend.
Springfield visits Frank Bailey Field for a 1 p.m. Saturday matchup with the Dutchmen, who have won their first two games by a combined score of 96-14.
“Springfield definitely provides a lot of challenges for us in all three phases of the game,” Union head coach Jeff Behrman said at Thursday’s practice. “Offensively, they are a triple-option team, which forces you to change your defense. Defensively, they are strong, athletic and very stout in the secondary, so we’ll have to adjust some things.”
Springfield (1-1) is coming off a 21-14 victory against Kean in which it rushed for 420 yards, while Union (2-0) is coming off a 54-7 road win at Anna Maria in which it gained 498 yards of total offense.
“It’s just another week for us. We are a routine-oriented program, so our practice plans haven’t changed,” Behrman said. “Whether you think they are our toughest opponent or not, we are going to prepare the same, no matter what.”
Saturday’s game will be the 22nd meeting between the programs that first played in 1917. Springfield holds an 11-9-1 advantage, including three wins in the last four meetings. Union, though, won last year’s matchup 45-10.
“They’re a terrific program. It’s a program, it’s not just a team,” Behrman said. “They are a program with history, tradition, and do things both offensively and defensively that really make you coach. This year is going to be a completely different game, and we just have to play assignment football and do our job”
It comes down to preparation,” Union linebacker Dante Scott said. “We had a great scouting report on them this week. They are a very fast, hard-hitting, and physical offensive line, and we are prepared defensively to hold them to as few yards as possible.”
After playing Springfield, Union won’t play again until it opens its Liberty League season with an Oct. 5 matchup with Hobart — and the Dutchmen want to be 3-0 heading into conference play.
“We’re definitely excited to face Springfield,” Union running back Joseph Ferreira said. “These past two weeks have been fun, but we are definitely looking forward to more of a challenge in a really athletic Springfield team. We are taking every practice very seriously; the intensity and effort has been 100% in preparation for this game. Everyone has been working really hard. Whoever the 11 are that are on the field at one time, we just give it our all and play for each other.”