It's been a rough go of things for the Marietta College football team thus far, but the Pioneers remain confident in search for their first victory of the 2012 campaign.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, the Pioneers (0-6, 0-5) will be on the road against the Wilmington Quakers (0-6, 0-5) in what will be Wilmington's homecoming game.
The Quakers are scoring just 7.2 points per game while allowing 51.2, both an OAC-worst.
Marietta will look to establish the running game this week to compliment its talented passing attack against Wilmington's 3-4 defensive scheme.
"We've got to find a way to run the ball," said MC head coach Jeff Filkovski. "We're going to try to run it a little more. At the same time, we know our playmakers are on the outside. We have to get them the ball as well."
Marietta owns the fourth best passing game in the OAC thanks to quarterback Tom Fulton's 216 yards per game and ten touchdowns passes. Fulton's top weapons are Kirby Harris (36 catches, 563 yards, 4 tds), Tannon Roberts (23 catches, 355 yards, 1 td) and Linard Williams (13 catches, 119 yards, 5 tds).
Defensively, Marietta has struggled with preventing the big plays. The Pioneers have had multiple breakdowns on defense, which has allowed opponents to gain large chunks of yardage. Filkovski said preventing those plays will be key.
"We've got younger guys in the lineup that are learning the scheme," Filkovski explained. "As a freshman, you are more focused on doing your job rather than protecting your buddy. Sometimes you have to vacate your area help the other guy. That's something we're working on. We trying to simplify things."
Much like the Pioneers, Wilmington has struggled running the ball. Tyrell Richardson is the team's leading rushing with 108 yards on 40 attempts. Alex Koyfis has carried 26 times for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Unlike the Pioneers, the Quakers have not had much luck throwing the ball, either. Quarterback Brandon Arehart has completed just 48.2 percent of his passes for 678 yards and three touchdowns. Arehart has thrown five interceptions. Malcolm Turner is the team's leading receiver with 161 yards on 10 catches. It certainly appears to be a winnable game for Marietta, who has played a tough schedule so far this season. Filkovski says a lot of what happens in the game will depend on the team's frame of mind going into it.
"As an 0-6 team, we're a little bit like a scolded-dog right now," Filkovski said. "We need to get off the bus with an attitude to win a game. If we get off the bus with a woe-is-me attitude, we probably won't play well. But I don't think that's how our team will come out. Our guys know the direction of this program."