Mike Clark is careful not to take Lycoming's successes against Albright in the last two seasons and speculate about what it could lead to today against the Lions. He's been around long enough to know there's no correlation.
It's hard, though, not to look at the past two years and have good thoughts on playing a dangerous Albright offense. The Warriors have won the last two meetings against Albright, but neither carried the weight of today's game in Reading. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Lycoming and Albright are two of the three teams which remain unbeaten in Middle Atlantic Conference play Widener is the other. The winner still has an opportunity to control its own destiny for a MAC championship.
"I hate to sound like a commercial, but past performance is not indicative of future results," said Clark, who's in his fifth year as Lycoming's head coach. "The last two years we've had really good plans. They're 3-0 and I think they're pretty solid offensively. We're going to do our best to try and limit them and keep them out of the end zone as much as we can."
A year ago Albright came into David Person Field averaging more than 50 points per game and had the nation's leading passer in terms of efficiency in Adam Galczynski. The Warriors were brilliant defensively that day, allowing just 11 of Albright's 38 passes to be completed in a 35-13 victory.
Two years ago Lycoming traveled to Shirk Field in Reading against an Albright team averaging 40 points and 400 yards of offense per game. Lycoming left Reading with a 50-0 win, its only shutout since the 2005 season-opener.
To say the Warriors defense has succeeded against Albright in the past two seasons would be an understatement. In those two games, the Lions have completed just 22 of 65 passes for 176 yards. Lycoming has intercepted five passes, including one returned 65 yards by linebacker Kabongo Bukasa for a touchdown a year ago.
Lycoming senior cornerback Matt Talerico said the Warriors have made the Lions one-dimensional in the last two seasons. They've taken away the run game completely, forcing quarterbacks Galczynski and T.J. Luddy to drop back against a stout pass rush, and throw into a veteran secondary.
"They're not very complicated. They're very simple at what they do. But what they do, they do very, very well," Talerico said. "They have some good wide receivers and two very good quarterbacks and they just stick with what they know."
And what they know is throwing the football. In last week's win over Wilkes, Luddy completed 21 of 31 passes for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 27-13 victory. All-American receiver Scott Pillar caught 14 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
It's the type of performance the Lions are capable of. And it's the type of performance that can come from either of the two quarterbacks they play. Talerico said it's important to figure out which quarterback is in the game at any given time just to be able to figure out the tendencies of the Albright offense.
"It's a little more pressure (on the defense), but it also gives you the tendencies of what they might do," Talerico said. "One's more of a pass threat. The other guys is more of a threat to run, but at the same time he can throw the ball just as well because he was the starter last year."
The Albright offense has been as proficient this year as it has the last two years coming into this game. But it's also played a bit tougher schedule to open the season than it has in recent years.
The Lions opened the season with a come-from-behind win over No. 14 Kean. They then needed a 47-yard field goal just to force overtime against an upstart Stevenson program in Week 2 before battling a tough Wilkes team last week.
Albright is averaging 28.3 points per game (fourth best in the MAC), 363 yards of offense (sixth best), 235 passing yards (fourth best) and 128 rushing yards (eighth best).
Pillar may garner the most attention from the defense. His nine receptions per game lead the MAC and is tied for fifth-best in the country. His 91 receiving yards per game is third in the MAC.
A year ago, the 6-foot-2, 192-pounder caught seven of Albright's 11 completed passes. He's coming off a 67-catch, 1,141-yard season.
"We've got to cover him, and there's a lot of ways to do that," Clark said. "Part of that is how quickly can our front get to the quarterback. He's not going to just be open, he has to get open. So if we can disrupt the timing of their passing game with our front guys, then that'll make it easier. If we just have to cover him the whole time, he'll probably catch the ball a lot. Ultimately, you can run around and get open, but if we can limit the amount of time we give him to do that, we can limit his effectiveness.
"You can't eliminate him. He's too good."