By BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
CULVER-STOCKTON AT LINDENWOOD-BELLEVILLE
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lindenwood Stadium, Belleville, Ill.
Radio: KCSW 97.1 FM
2012 Records: C-SC -- 3-8 (2-7 Heart of America Athletic Conference). LU-Belleville -- 4-6.
Coaches: C-SC -- Jeff Duvendeck (4-18 at C-SC, third season; overall, same). LU-Belleville -- Jeff Fisher (4-6 at LU-Belleville, second season; overall, same).
All-time series: C-SC leads 1-0.
Last meeting: Oct. 20, 2012 -- C-SC 21, LU-Belleville 14. The Wildcats rallied to victory with two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes, 38 seconds of the contest. C-SC tied the game on Jake Hoffman's 7-yard touchdown pass, forced a three-and-out and then won the game by marching 48 yards in 49 seconds, capped by Desmond Phillips' 28-yard scoring run. Phillips rushed for 127 yards on 21 carries.
Poor starts: C-SC's struggles last season often started from the opening kickoff. C-SC did not score on its opening drive of the first or second half in any game in 2012. Its opponents scored six opening-drive TDs and three TDs on drives to open the second half.
That's a trend the Wildcats would like to reverse.
"I want Belleville this week. I want to dominate. I don't want it to be a close one," sophomore defensive lineman Andy Staten said. "I'd like to see a blowout to be honest with you. I'd personally feel more comfortable coming into the second half leading 32-0."
Shedding dead weight: Several Wildcat players and Duvendeck talked about having better team unity this season.
Duvendeck said a lot of that stems from one day early in spring practice, when six players quit. Looking back, he considers it an addition by subtraction.
"Last year I felt a divide amongst our team," Duvendeck said. "That day at practice, it was like everyone had just gotten out of the ice bath and had fresh legs and were ready to go. They had energy. It was like we were handing out 5-Hour Energy in the locker room."
Scouting LU-Belleville: Last season was the first for LU-Belleville's program. They Lynx beat two HAAC opponents, opening the season with a 43-37 win over Avila before topping Central Methodist 23-20 on Sept. 29.
Being a new program meant last year's team was made up of mostly freshmen and transfers. A bulk of that talent returns this year. Sophomore running back Kameron Harris (822 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns) and junior quarterback Kerry Gibson (48-of-108 passing, 833 passing yards, seven TDs, seven INTs) return to lead the offense. Senior defensive lineman Philepae Phillips (45 tackles, five sacks) leads the way on the other side of the ball.