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Colonels come home undefeated to face Chicago

After playing two straight games away from home, the Centre football team returns to Danville no worse for the wear with a 3-0 overall record and a 1-0 mark in the Southern Athletic Association.

The Colonels play their SAA home opener at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Chicago during the school’s Gold Out Game, which is raising money for and awareness of pediatric cancer.

Last week, the Colonels received their first real test of the season in a 39-28 win at Washington University in St. Louis; they had won the previous two games by a combined score of 91-27 over Hanover and Anderson.

According to Centre coach Andy Frye, Chicago figures to test the Colonels in similar ways as Washington did.

“They’re very sound fundamentally, they’re going to line up right,” Frye said. “They play aggressively, they have good football players.”

The Maroons enter with a 1-1 record, beat Millsaps 35-16 last week. They’re led by second-year starting quarterback Burke Moser, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior. He’s thrown for 456 yards and three TDs this season, completing 61.4 percent of his passes.

Junior running back Chandler Carroll rushed for 214 yards in last week’s win, scoring once. He had 311 yards and three TDs in last year’s 49-30 win in Chicago.

“We’ve got to force them out of their running game,” Frye said. “That’s imperative for us to win this Saturday.”

Carroll won’t be the only running back entering the game after rushing for 200-plus yards in the previous game — Centre’s Nolan Coulter had 223 yards and two scores in the win at Wash U. He now has 328 yards and four TDs this season.

“I’m hoping we can clean up the details and we’ll be even better,” Frye said. “Our offensive line’s done an outstanding job of creating gaps or holes enough to make plays. They’ve ran hard as well, I’m not going to take anything away from them, but it’s been a nice team proposition.”

The play of Coulter and the offensive line has taken some of the pressure off new starting quarterback Devin Hayes, but it’s not like he’s needed it. The junior has completed over 68 percent of his attempts while throwing for 910 yards and eight touchdowns, but he was intercepted three times last week.

“If Devin can manage the offense, I think we have a great chance of having some success,” Frye said. “They switch back and forth to different fronts, so we have to make our adjustments on the field.

“That’s what (Devin) needs is experience. That’s what he’s getting now.”

Before and during the game, pediatric cancer patients and survivors will be recognized during the Gold Out Game, capping off the college’s Gold Out Week. It’s the second year for the event, and the families will be treated to lunch, a meet-and-greet with the players and coaches, and field passes during the game.

For Frye, the event gives his players a chance to gain perspective and life experiences.

“Most importantly what this does is it puts everything in perspective,” he said. “We have to remember it’s a game, and we’re very grateful to play the game. Then you see other people who don’t have the same opportunities or are in a different situation or predicament, it puts everything in perspective. It’s great that we’re able to recognize and hopefully affirm our need for help in this form of cancer and pediatric care.

“I’m thrilled we get to do this. I’m thrilled our football team gets to experience this because then they see that this isn’t all about them. There’s a bigger picture there.”

Follow Jeremy Schneider on Twitter @jschneideramn