It’s always a bitter feeling when you drop a game, but there is no worse feeling than dropping a game to your rival. That sting sticks for the rest of the season, but the week leading up to the next game has feelings swirling around that can change the course of a season.
“We had a great week of practice, the guys are upset and they’re mad,” Lutz said. “This week isn’t as much about Mercyhurst as it us, but we’re going to be focused and we’re going to bounce back.”
The Rock is going up against a Mercyhurst team that always gives them trouble. The latest example came last year in Erie. The Rock won with a late field goal, and the final two drives of the game saw Noah Grover enter as first team quarterback for the first time.
“Mercyhurst had a chance to win the game last year, we had to get a score and that’s when we changed and went with Noah on those last two drives,” Lutz said. “We’re the type of team that’s never going to quit or give up, and if we play up to our ability I believe we can beat anyone in our region.”
Like last year, The Rock will face the test a week after dropping a contest against Indiana (Pa.). This time, they’ll do it from the comfort of home. At Mihalik-Thompson Stadium, The Rock has never dropped a game against Mercyhurst. They sit a perfect 5-0 when facing them in Slippery Rock. Overall, they lead the series 9-4.
They’ll have their hands full this week, however. They’ll be going against a team who averages just around 30 points per game. While the record may not reflect it, the Lakers have given teams trouble this season- including IUP, although they ultimately dropped the game 33-16.
After two turnovers in the redzone last week, Lutz said it’ll be a point this week to clean up turnovers. While they’re at it, he said that he also wants the defense to force some of their own. But he has been pleased with the way the defense has held up this season.
The Rock’s defense is allowing just 235 yards per game, and the defensive line has been a big story behind that. To pull out a win this week, The Rock has to do a number of things according to Lutz.
“We have to start fast, be better in the redzone and be better at contested balls in the air,” Lutz said. “We have a few things that we’ve got to work on this week.”
The key to this week will be getting confidence back and cleaning up mistakes. Momentum wasn’t on The Rock’s side in last week’s matchup. The toughest part is figuring out how to get it back and keep on their side.