OPENING KICKOFF Lake Erie's final road test of the 2013 season will indeed be a test, with the Storm slated to tangle with the No. 8 (D2football.com) Panthers of Ohio Dominican University. The Panthers are enjoying their best season since ODU went 12-1 in winning a conference (Mid-States Football Association) title in 2007. Ohio Dominican hasn't lost since Oct. 6, 2012, a stretch of 13 games.
The Storm heads to Columbus fresh off its third win of the season, an impressive, record-setting performance against Walsh last Saturday. In that contest – a 63-41 victory -- Lake Erie set a program record for points scored while registering 771 yards of total offense. For the Storm, racking up big yards on offense was nothing new: LEC has posted six 600-yard games this season and its 577.3 yards per game rank first in the nation.
That vaunted offense will be up against its negative this Saturday: Ohio Dominican has held foes to a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference-best 16.4 points per game. The stingy Panthers yield only 351.5 yards per contest.
Somewhere in that 225-yard difference – between LEC's offense and ODU's defense – is where Lake Erie will find the answer to this question: can the Storm pull an upset and defeat a ranked opponent for the first time in program history?
63*: BREAKING DOWN LEC'S NEW SCORING RECORD Lake Erie notched a new program scoring record on Nov. 2 when the Storm put 63 points on the Jack Britt Memorial Stadium scoreboard in a 63-41 victory over the Walsh Cavaliers. LEC scored a program-record nine touchdowns in the game (five rushing, four passing).
The Storm was actually held scoreless in the game's fourth quarter. The Green & White posted 21 points in the first quarter, 14 in the second and 28 in the third. The overall performance marked the third time in Lake Erie's history that the team scored 50-plus points in a single game (LEC scored 52 on 11/5/11 and 50 on 10/19/13).
The LEC offense had 19 drives in the game, starting from an average field position of the Storm-29. Those 19 drives were capped off by nine TDs, six punts, two turnovers, an end-of-half series and a series that ended on downs. Lake Erie reached the Walsh red zone five times and scored a TD in each of those trips.
The Green & White cranked out 771 total yards on offense, the second-most they have registered in any game (833 at Malone, 10/19/13). Lake Erie rambled for 349 yards on the ground and it peppered Walsh for 422 yards through the air.
The offensive explosion produced 34 first downs despite the Storm going just 6-of-14 on third-down conversions. LEC's longest drive was a 90-yard march accomplished in five plays in one minute-and-52 seconds.
HOME COOKING Lake Erie is 3-2 in five home games in 2013. The three victories in Painesville mark the most the Storm have produced in a single season since going 4-1 at home in 2009.
The Storm has tallied 189 points at home, averaging 37.8 points per contest. The offense has averaged 550.8 total yards per game in the friendly confines of Jack Britt Memorial Stadium. The Green & White have been a balanced bunch at home, averaging 293.4 yards per game on the ground and 257.4 yards through the air.
Ten of the team's 14 sacks this season have come in home tilts.
LEC AGAINST RANKED FOES The Storm's Saturday game against Ohio Dominican will mark the team's first this season against a ranked foe. Lake Erie is 0-8 all-time against teams ranked in the top-25.
LEC's most recent game against a ranked team was Sept. 29, 2012, at Ashland. The Ashland Eagles were ranked No. 13 at the time. AU won the game, 68-21.
The Lake Erie Storm registered its best performance against a top-25 opponent on Sept. 25, 2010, at No. 12 Hillsdale (Mich.). The Hillsdale Chargers prevailed by just five points in that game, winning by a final score of 42-37.
WINS ARE A PLUS Lake Erie is a minus-6 this season in turnover margin. The Storm has 15 takeaways against 21 giveaways.
In their three victories, the Green & White are a combined plus-8. (In its losses, LEC is a minus-14.)
UP NEXT The Storm will return to Painesville for a Nov. 16 game against Tiffin. Kickoff in the season finale is set for 1 p.m., and the game can be heard live on ESPN 970 WFUN and the Storm Sports Radio Network.
ONLINE To get Storm football information sent directly to your inbox, sign up for the Storm Alert. During the game, follow the Storm on Twitter at @lecsports and at any time like us on Facebookor watch highlights and videos on You Tube. For a complete recap afterwards, with statistics, photos and player and coach interviews, log on to www.LakeErieStorm.com.