Since 2014, the Hendrix College Warriors have had the Sewanee Tigers’ number, beating the Tigers by at least 19 points in the three previous matchups.
However, Warriors coach Buck Buchanan said the Sewanee team Hendrix plays Saturday in Tennessee will be a tougher task than previous matchups.
“They are having their Alumni Weekend,” he said. “There will be a lot of ghosts on the mountain. They are a storied program, who was originally an SEC team. They have played really well this season, and will likely be the best Sewanee team we have faced.”
The Tigers have won just three games over a three-year period, starting in 2014 with two wins, one in 2015 and winless in 2016.
Through four games, Sewanee has surpassed its previous two years in win totals with two wins.
Buchanan credits the turnaround to the Tigers’ new coaching staff, which is led by a friend of Buchanan, Travis Randle.
“Travis is a great coach and friend,” he said. “This will not be the Sewanee team we’re used to playing. They’re going to fight and claw and play with a chip on their shoulder. They’ve always had a good defense and played pretty well on pass defense against us.”
Buchanan said Sewanee will play with a lot of confidence because it is still in control of its destiny.
This year’s Tigers team has several upperclassmen on defense, and is better experienced on offense than they were a year ago.
While Buchanan said Sewanee will have a much better team, he says his Warriors should look better than they did a week ago in a messy, 36-24 win over Austin College.
“I think last week’s game gave us a chance to grow and get better,” he said. “We had a great week of practice. We will have to adjust to our mental approach as we travel because it’s a different kind of atmosphere for a conference road game.”
Hendrix will be without one of its top receivers in Ben Luedtke, who had season-ending hand surgery.
“Anytime a starter goes down, you use that to get the next man up,” he said. “We’re pretty deep in our skill positions, so the guy we are replacing him with have seen a lot of action. He had a touchdown against Centre and had a big touchdown against Austin. Ben is our fastest player, so it will be hard to replicate his speed.”
Luedtke will still be with the team, but won’t see game action.