The Golden Eagles finished last season with four consecutive victories and started 2012 with three more. Their only loss could be credited to Shepherd's defense, which returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown just before halftime to cut a 10-point deficit to three points, shifting the momentum and resulting in a 14-10 defeat to the Rams.
That's not to say the defense has been perfect. The Golden Eagles are last in red zone defense, giving up 18 scores in 21 opponent chances inside the 20. Comparatively, Shepherd has surrendered only seven scores in 18 opponent chances.
The Golden Eagles are sixth in the Super Region One rankings. The top six teams in each region earn a berth in the playoffs.
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NATE MONTANA and W.Va. Wesleyan (2-6, 1-4 WVC) visits Institute for a battle with West Virginia State (2-6, 1-4).
The son of Pro Football Hall of Fame member Joe Montana has completed 51.1 percent of his passes (141-of-276) for 1,580 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has completed at least 20 passes to five receivers, led by Lavaughn Hughes (41-566-4) and Chase Blackwell (41-447-5).
The Yellow Jackets have lost three consecutive games, failing to score more than 20 points since a 21-13 victory over Seton Hill on Sept. 29.
Senior quarterback Ricky Phillips has thrown for 1,565 yards and 10 touchdowns, while senior running back Aubura Taylor has run for 475 yards and four scores.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.