SEWANEE, Tenn. - Sewanee football begins its second season under head coach Travis Rundle this weekend with the season opener with Kenyon (Ohio) Saturday for a noon ET / 11 a.m. CT kickoff from Gambier, Ohio.
FIRST & TEN
1. SEASON NUMBER 124: Sewanee football enters its 124th season of collegiate football.
2. LEADING OVER THE LORDS: The Tigers hold an 8-1 record over the Lords all-time, with the first meeting on Nov. 30, 1946. Sewanee defeated Kenyon, 32-7.
3. THE BUCKEYE STATE: Sewanee holds an 8-3 record against institutions from the State of Ohio.
4. #Sewanee2022: The Purple and Gold welcome 28 freshmen to the Domain for the 2018 season.
5. THE DEFENSE CHANGES EVERYTHING: Sewanee's 21 interceptions were the most in the Southern Athletic Association in 2017, and it was one better than National Runner-Up Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas).
6. PRIMARY PLAYERS IN THE SECONDARY: William Phillips and Wesley Porter each picked off the opposing quarterback five times in 2017, and both were named All-Conference Second Team and Honorable Mention, respectively.
7. 98 DEGREES: SAA Newcomer of the Year William Phillips opened his collegiate career with a memorable fumble recovery for a touchdown. He ran the ball back 98 yards, which is the best in the NCAA Championships era (1973-Present).
8. MENANCIN' MENEFEE: Lee Menefee returns as the team's leading tackler. The First Team All-Conference selection finished with 95 total tackles, second-best in the league.
9. TRUTH OR DARRAS?: Alex Darras returns under center for the Tigers in 2018, throwing for 56.6 percent, 1,412 yards and eight scores.
10. TAKING A LOOK BACK...: The Tigers finished the 2017 season with a 3-7 record, 2-6 in Southern Athletic Association Play. The program has won 485 career games.
NEWS AND NOTES
EYEING THE OPPOSING QB: In last season's matchup with the Lords, the Purple and Gold picked off Thomas Merkle five times in the game, led by William Phillips with two picks each. However, two weeks later, against Austin College, Sewanee also got to the quarterback five times, and Phillips led the charge for that contest as well with two picks. Last season, Sewanee finished with 21 interceptions, and despite losing John Cleveland in the secondary with his six, Phillips and Wesley Porter each recorded five last season.
VOLUNTEER WINNING: Through 123 years of college football on the Domain, Sewanee has a winning record against institutions from the State of Tennessee. Through 284 games, Sewanee has a 155-118-11 record, a .565 winning percentage.
I DARRAS YOU...: Quarterback Alex Darras came in with a lot to prove last season for Sewanee. The Furman transfer rallied to the starting quarterback midway through the season before an injury plagued the rest of his season.The Ooltewah, Tenn. native threw for 1,412 yards on 56.6 percent with eight touchdowns.
RUNNIN' DUO: Warren Holland, Sewanee's leading rusher, finished with 385 yards on the ground on 108 carries and five touchdowns in 2017. He scored three times on 92 yards and 24 carries against Austin last season and ran 79 yards on 18 carries in Sewanee's season finale with Centre. However, Sam Everette also ran the ball 41 times for 130 yards, including an 11-carry, 41-yard day against Kenyon with two touchdowns.
SCOUTING THE LORDS
The 2018 campaign for Sewanee football starts on Sept. 1 with the Lords of Kenyon College. This will be the 10th meeting all-time in program history.
The teams first met after World War II from 1946-48. After meeting three straight seasons from 1964-66, the teams reunited in 2015 and have played each other ever since.
The Lords finished the 2017 season with a 0-10 record last season, despite a top-20 national ranking in passing offense.
Kenyon was ranked 20th last season in passing offense in all of NCAA Division III, led by returning quarterback Thomas Merkle. The junior was shy of 3,000 passing yards in a season by 78 last season with 2,922 and completed 60 percent of his passes.
Against Sewanee last year, Merkle was 33-of-54 for 300 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.
His favorite receiver, Ian Robertson, returns for his senior season. He caught 80 passes for 1,053 yeards and 13 touchdowns.