The challenge for GWU is to not overlook

Sep. 25, 2013 @ 04:27 AM

Winning back-to-back games against nationally-ranked opponents is a big feat.

In fact, No. 25 Gardner-Webb is the first team in the Big South to have such an accomplishment after knocking off then-No. 11 Richmond, 12-10 two weeks ago and then-No. 8 Wofford, 3-0 last week.

Having that on your football resume could have some drawbacks however.

One of which is looking past your next opponent.

For Gardner-Webb (3-1) that could be easy as they host Point (Ga.) University, an NAIA team that is attempting to turn its program around.

"I think it is human nature and it can be a bad thing for a football team," said GWU head coach Carroll McCray. "We met about our deficiencies and if we look at our last month, we were big underdogs the last three weeks and if we look past this, it can be a bad thing for our team."

Looking past Point (2-1) is something that hasn't escaped the players either.

Rewind to Oct. 13, 2012 when the Runnin' Bulldogs faced NAIA power MidAmerica Nazarene. Trailing late, Lucas Beatty had to find tight end Seth Cranfill for a game-winning touchdown with 6.4 seconds left in the game to give Gardner-Webb their first win of the season.

And, it almost went the other way.

"We don't look past any team," said defensive end Shaquille Riddick. "We learned our lesson about coming in and expecting a win."

Now, fast-forward to this weekend when Gardner-Webb faces similar circumstances in facing a team they are expected to beat, at home and now, nationally ranked.

"The young men that played against MidAmerica last year know there was a big play at the end of the game that made a difference," McCray said. "Our focus is on Gardner-Webb and how we can be better.

"The young men that played against MidAmerica last year know there was a big play at the end of the game that made a difference."

McCray said now the issue is not getting a big head about their latest national ranking and not losing focus on the week's opponent.

"We still have to improve and we have a lot of players that have a lot of improvement in order to make us a better football team," McCray said.

Gardner-Webb will kick off against Point at 6 p.m. Saturday at Spangler Stadium in Boiling Springs.