While the offense was peaking, the UC defense was riddled by Notre Dame. With Pedro Powell rushing for 200 yards and Ray Russ throwing for 345, Notre Dame piled up 529 total yards against the Eagles.
"Notre Dame had a lot of good skill kids," Kirkland said. "I was disappointed in our execution, especially late in the game. They were just straight mental busts, and it hurt us."
Still, the Golden Eagles came away with the win to keep them unbeaten in the MEC heading into the showdown in Shepherdstown.
"It's another conference game," Kirkland said. "To reach our goals we've got to win them all."
Also in the MEC Saturday:
Fairmont State (2-2, 1-2) at Concord (3-1, 2-0), 1 p.m.: Concord hasn't allowed a touchdown in its two MEC wins (36-3 over West Virginia State, 20-3 at West Liberty last Saturday), but the Mountain Lions will face a Fairmont team coming off a 56-3 romp over State, in which the Falcons amassed 414 total yards on offense. Fairmont senior running back Dawrence Roberts earned MEC offensive player of the week honors by rushing for 175 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. Two former Winfield standouts earned MEC honors in Concord's win over West Liberty: Senior safety Josh Clark was the player of the week on defense after forcing a fumble and returning an interception 32 yards for a touchdown, and sophomore place-kicker Andy Ellington earned special-teams co-player of the week (with UC's Nuredini) by kicking field goals of 48 yards (a school record) and 42 yards.
Urbana (2-2, 2-1) at West Virginia State (0-4, 0-3), 1:30 p.m.: Including last week's debacle against Fairmont, the Yellow Jackets have been outscored 132-19 and have scored just one touchdown in four games. This week's prospects also appear dim at State hosts an Urbana team averaging 430 yards on offense, spearheaded by the MEC's passing leader, D.J. Mendenhall, who has thrown for 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Blue Knights were held mostly in check last week at home by Glenville State, accumulating just 222 offensive yards, but Urbana emerged with a 12-9 win thanks to a defensive effort led by D'Gary Wallace (13 tackles, one sack and a game-ending interception). Urbana's only league loss was a 28-21 setback at Shepherd Sept. 21.
West Virginia Wesleyan (1-3, 1-2) at Glenville State (1-3, 1-2), 1:30 p.m.: Glenville has had two three-point road losses (16-13 at West Liberty, 12-9 at Urbana) sandwiched around a 31-14 home win over Fairmont; Wesleyan lost 45-10 to Shepherd at home last week, preceded by a 34-25 setback at Notre Dame. Wesleyan has been torched for 135 points in four games, ranking 10th in the 11-team MEC. Glenville's Rahmann Lee ranks second in the league with 479 rushing yards and gets 5.2 yards per carry, while Wesleyan boasts the MEC's third-leading passer in Jeremy Musselman (282.3 yards per game), but he had to sit out last week's loss to Shepherd after he was sidelined with a concussion in the Notre Dame game.
Virginia-Wise (0-4, 0-2) at Notre Dame College (2-2, 1-2), 2 p.m.: Virginia-Wise has had a rough introduction to its new league, losing MEC contests to Wesleyan (37-7) and UC (38-15) in addition to non-conference losses to Campbell (56-21) and Union College (24-17 last Saturday). In their homecoming game against Union, the Cavaliers lost on a touchdown pass with three seconds left in regulation. Notre Dame is also coming off a heartbreaking loss, 34-32 at UC, in which the Falcons accumulated 529 yards. Notre Dame has the MEC's most potent offense, averaging 488 offensive yards, and the Falcons' 122 points through four games trail only Shepherd. Powell, who rushed for 200 yards against UC, leads the MEC with 593 rushing yards.
West Liberty (2-2, 2-1) at Duquesne (1-2), 12:10 p.m.: Duquesne, a member of the FCS Northeast Conference, was off last week so the Dukes have an extra week to prepare for the Hilltoppers. Perhaps they need it, because West Liberty defeated Duquesne in the only prior meeting between the schools, a 21-19 decision in 2006. The Dukes, whose last game was a 59-17 loss at Youngstown State on Sept. 21, are led by redshirt freshman quarterback Dillon Buechel, who has thrown for 966 yards and five touchdowns in his first three games. West Liberty, which opened the MEC campaign with close wins over Glenville (16-3) and West Virginia State (9-0), is coming off a 20-3 home loss to Concord last week.
Reach Nick Scala at 304-348-7947 or nsc...@wvgazette.com.