Roberts on brink of UC rushing mark
The University of Charleston's Jordan Roberts enters today's game at Concord on the cusp of Golden Eagle greatness.
Roberts needs just 169 yards to pass DaRante Hunter as UC's all-time leading rusher, but more than that Roberts views today's contest against the defending West Virginia Conference champions as another step toward one of his major goals this season - a WVC title for UC.
"The No. 1 goal is to win the conference and then play in the playoffs," Roberts said. "I just want to be the best player I can be."
Roberts, a Kennedy Award winner at Scott High, left last week's win against St. Joseph's College due to strep throat after running for 85 yards on 14 carriers, but said he was feeling better and would be on the field today.
UC coach Pat Kirkland said having a running back of Roberts' caliber, paired with a solid offensive line, has made the Golden Eagles running game a threat.
"[Roberts] is just a guy that makes it happen. He's worked hard and put himself in the position to make plays," Kirkland said. "One of the best things to happen for him this year is to have five guys in front of him that are playing great football. It's a tribute to Paul Johnson, our offensive line coach, and their work ethic, but Jordan is doing great and we hope he continues to do so."
Entering today, Roberts is ninth in the country in NCAA Division II with 205 all-purpose yards per game and sixth in the county with 161.5 rushing yards per game.
"I do whatever it takes to get yards and get touchdowns," Roberts said. "I want to keep drives alive and win games."
Kirkland said Roberts excels at exactly that - putting UC in position to win games.
"He runs hard and he runs behind his pads," Kirkland said. "He's not a guy that loses yardage, he goes downhill. The biggest thing with him is on first down he gives us second-and-manageable and third-and-manageable. We know he's going to get positive yardage."
Last season against Concord, Roberts ran the ball 18 times for 91 yards and a touchdown while also catching five passes for 56 yards and piling up 126 yards on kick returns in a 38-15 Mountain Lions win at University of Charleston Stadium.
UC closed 2011 with consecutive wins against West Liberty, Glenville State, West Virginia Wesleyan and West Virginia State before starting 2-0 this year. Roberts said no one unit was more responsible for that success than any other and that keeping their momentum going in to the WVC portion of the Golden Eagles schedule is of the utmost importance for UC to realize its goal of a conference championship.
"We're good everywhere," he said. "We just have to keep getting better each week and be ready to play. If we keep doing that we'll keep winning games."
Reach Tom Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org.