Waialae expects it'll face its toughest task of the conference schedule this week with UC and running back Jordan Roberts. Roberts had battled through an illness earlier this season, but is back at full strength.
The workhorse and the league's busiest running back had 26 carries for 144 yards last week, returned two kickoffs for 117 yards - which included a 100-yard return for a touchdown - and caught four passes for 35 yards.
"Let's not mince words," Waialae said. "They have, by far, the best running back in the conference ... bar none. This will be the best offense we've seen and they're playing with a lot of confidence."
The Golden Eagles are as healthy as they've been since the first week of the season. Quarterback Maurice Leak appears to be over an ankle injury that he suffered against St. Joseph on Sept. 6, and forced him to miss the next week's game against Concord and remain hobbled against the Rams.
Former George Washington High School receiver Shaquille Williams has developed into UC's top receiver.
The redshirt freshman has 24 receptions for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
UC averages 5.3 yards per carry, 229.7 rushing yards per game and has 14 rushing touchdowns. The Golden Eagles also are, by far, in last place in pass offense. Kirkland's team has 38 fewer pass completions and 57 fewer attempts than Glenville State, the conference's eighth-ranked passing team.
In theory, the Golden Eagles will have to run the ball to be successful, which plays right into the strength of the West Liberty defense.
"Their front four is as good as any we'll see," Kirkland said. "They have a great defensive line. They commit to stopping the run, that's what they do. Shepherd pushed down hill and West Liberty just punched them right back. They're a physical football team."
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WEST VIRGINIA STATE has an uphill climb to get back on track when the Yellow Jackets (2-5, 1-3 WVC) host Shepherd (5-2, 4-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Coach Monte Cater's Rams are coming off a 17-16 loss at West Liberty.
Shepherd leads the all-time series with the Yellow Jackets 32-3 and hasn't lost to State since a 12-7 decision on Nov. 15, 1980 - a streak of 31 consecutive games.
Senior quarterback Ricky Phillips leads State. He has thrown for 1,332 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Running back Aubura Taylor has run for 436 yards and four touchdowns.
The well-rounded Rams, who rely heavily on defense and special teams, succeed in the passing game. They average 11.2 yards per completion. Larry Lowe (29 catches, 328 yards, 2 TD), William McKenzie (23-255-1), Billy Brown (13-154-4), Robert Byrd (8-115-0), Dalton Boyd (8-97-0), Justin Ford (4-76-1), Anthony Weisenmiller (3-53) all average more than 10 yards per catch.
Ervin Kent (26-440-4), Josh Johnson (25-302-1), Shanin Bennefie (20-288-1), Keionn Garrett (6-142-1) are State's primary deep threats.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.