Wheeling Football opens the 2022 season with a non-conference tilt against Seton Hill
Wheeling, W. Va. – After a grueling three-week training camp, it’s time for the Wheeling University football team to kick off the 2022 season. They start the year on Thursday when they host Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) rival Seton Hill at 7 p.m. at Bishop Schmitt Field. After a milestone season in 2021, the Cardinals are looking to set more records in their fourth year as a full-time member of the Mountain East Conference (MEC).
In 2021, the team finished 5-6 overall and 5-5 in MEC play, breaking the school’s program winning record while also setting a 500 record in conference play for the second straight year. Along the way, the team achieved several other milestones, including the program’s first-ever shutout against West Virginia Wesleyan on October 1 and its first home win over West Liberty at Homecoming (October 22). With many of the stars from last season in 2022, the Cardinals are looking to take the next step in becoming a contender for the MEC Championship year after year.
The ball runs back on the offensive side SyAlli IV Returns leads the ground game after winning the MEC regular-season rushing title a year ago. He rushed for 1,014 yards and averaged just over 92 yards per game to become the program’s first 1,000-yard rusher. The admission corps is led by returnees Lowell Patron and Jake Keenan, who each surpassed the 150-yard receiving mark last season. Patron led the group with 584 yards and three touchdowns while Keenan had 194 yards and a touchdown. A quarterback fight concocted the whole camp with graduate students Trent Jackson and Chad Palmer Fight with Redshirt Junior Javon Davis to commit the offence. The fight will be fought Thursday when the Cardinals take the field.
The Wheeling defense had their best season in program history last season, holding opponents to 21.73 points per game, and they look to continue that success this season. The defensive line anchor will be Redshirt Senior Brandon Munoz, who finished ninth in the MEC last season with 7.0 sacks. He, hunt nolanand Myck Brown Everyone returns to create a pass rush forward to pressure the quarterback. In secondary school Jason Simon and Jayvon Johnson Both return to the linebacking corps, with Simon finishing second on the team with 62.0 tackles. Rich White III returns to lead the defensive back group after sharing the MEC lead with 16 pass separations last season. He was the first All-American in program history, won the Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-American award in 2021 and is hoping for another strong season in 2022.
On Thursday, the Cardinals can beat a guy in a different jersey for the first time after fighting their way through a couple of inter-team scrimmages during camp. It will give them a chance to see what they can do against a strong PSAC opponent before opening the MEC game next Saturday. The Cardinals have lost their first game of the season in each of the past three seasons and are looking to start 2022 on a strong note Thursday night.
The Cardinals and Griffins meet Thursday night for the second time in program history at Bishop Schmitt Field. The Cardinals are 1-0 at Seton Hill after losing last season’s opener 16-14 in a game that involved their last few possessions. This will be Seton Hill’s first-ever trip to Wheeling, West Virginia, and the Cardinals look to welcome them with an on-field fight.
In last year’s encounter, the defense led with six turnovers in the game, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. Sy Alli averaged 98 yards on the ground with 21 carries as a quarterback Trent Jackson went 15-28 for 128 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Former Cardinal Jaquaun Davidson led the receiving effort with five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Kick-off for Thursday night’s game is scheduled for 7pm at Bishop Schmitt Field. Secure your tickets now with a click HERE. You can also watch the game live HEREListen to Fox Sports Wheeling (103.9 FM/1400 AM) or follow live stats HERE.