HIALEAH, FL – Playing against a top-three ranked team is tough.
Playing against a top-three ranked team on their home field is even tougher.
That’s the test that awaits ASA College-Miami’s football team.
The Silver Storm will face its biggest road test of the 2018 season this Saturday when they make the 2,584-mile trip to Ephraim, Utah to take on No. 3 ranked Snow College (2-0) Saturday at Robert Stoddard Field.
Saturday’s game, which is set to kickoff at 9 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Mountain) and be streamed live online, is the back-half of a two-game, home and home series with Snow College.
The Badgers made the trek to South Florida during the 2017 season. In that game, ASA fell behind early and made a furious second-half rally – cutting its deficit to as few as eight points early in the fourth quarter – before ultimately falling 58-36.
Snow College finished the 2017 season 10-1 and ranked No. 4 in the NJCAA. The Badgers are once again one of the top JuCo teams in the country this year, starting off at No. 4 in the preseason rankings and climbing to No. 3 this past week after two wins by a combined score of 131-43.
What helps ASA Miami (1-1) heading into this game is that it received an unexpected extra handful of days to prepare for the Badgers.
ASA’s schedule changed at the 11th hour this past weekend. The Silver Storm’s original September 8th opponent – North Florida Prep – was unable to make the trip down to Miami and efforts to fill the spot were unsuccessful, meaning ASA avoided the wear and tear of a week-two battle and was able to switch its attention to Snow College days ahead of schedule.
The Badgers’ offense has proven to be a potent one. Over the past 13 games, Snow College has scored at least 35 points 12 times – topping 50 points eight times in that span. The single game in which they couldn’t reach the five-touchdown plateau was their 29-27 loss to Arizona Western College this past October.
ASA Miami’s defense, which has the talent in its front seven to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, will have to get in face of Snow College quarterback Braxton Kerr.
While Kerr has put up impressive numbers through two games, 469 passing yards and seven touchdowns, he’s also shown that he will give the ball away when under pressure – throwing four interceptions in two games.
Another way the Silver Storm can ground Snow’s high-flying offense is to control the pace of the game with their own running game.
In two games, ASA Miami is averaging 121 yards on the ground and freshman running back Evan Burgess has gashed opposing defenses for touchdown runs of 50 or more yards in both games.
Sustaining long drives with its ground attack will not only shorten the game and limit possessions for the Badgers offense, it will keep the Silver Storm defense fresh – which aids pass rushers.
Aside from toppling one of the top teams in the country, a win Saturday would be significant for ASA Miami in that it would be the team’s first win over an NJCAA opponent since 2015. While the team has feasted on prep schools since the program opened three years ago, the Silver Storm haven’t had the same success against other two-year junior colleges.
Saturday’s game could be the game that turns the tide for ASA Miami head football coach Chris Boden and the Silver Storm.