CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Something has to give when the Mountain East Conference's only two winless teams - West Virginia State (0-7, 0-6 MEC) and University of Virginia at Wise (0-7, 0-5) - meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Beaty-Richmond Field at Carl Richmond Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets (0-7, 0-6 MEC) are on a 13-game losing streak - their third since 2003. That year under Coach Carl Lee, a 10-3 defeat to Charleston Southern on Sept. 21, 2002 started a skid that didn't end until a 20-19 win over WVU Tech on Oct. 4, 2003.
In 2010 under Coach Earl Monroe, State opened with a 34-14 defeat to Central State (Ohio) and lost the next 12 before a 27-21 win over Seton Hill halted the streak on Oct. 1, 2011.
State's biggest issue is scoring points. The Yellow Jackets moved the ball between the 20-yard lines in last week's 31-9 loss to University of Charleston, but struggled in the red zone.
The Yellow Jackets' percentage of red zone opportunities isn't at the bottom of the league, but mostly because of its lack of chances. State has been inside the opponents' 20-yard line only 17 times with only four touchdowns. That's three more chances than Wise, but the Cavaliers have scored 10 times in 14 trips to the red zone.
"We have to stick to our game plan for that week, whatever it is," State first-year Coach Jon Anderson said. "Obviously the field shrinks for offenses and it gets more difficult. We're kicking field goals down there (with freshman Josh Reuber), which is great, but we have to be able to get touchdowns. The biggest thing we talk about is finishing drives."
Defensively, the numbers have been deceiving for the Yellow Jackets, who have trailed at halftime by a combined score of 42-23 against five of its seven opponents. In the second half, however, State has been outscored 90-29 against those same teams - Lock Haven, Concord, West Liberty, W.Va. Wesleyan and Charleston.
This week's focus will be on Wise's 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior wide receiver James Long. The Roanoke Rapids, N.C., native has caught 56 passes for 922 yards and six touchdowns. He needs just 134 yards to pass Jason Lovett on Wise's single-season reception yardage list.
Sophomore Terrence Younger, a 6-2, 195-pounder from Naruna, Va., has 31 catches for 414 yards and three scores.