As I said yesterday, this was a great win for the program. It is a defacto home game to start with, the closest team that would make it a true neutral site game would be if we ever played Tarleton, but I know that both schools want to keep those matchups home and home, so there goes that. Anyway, overall this was a very good game for us, and yet again, as well as we played, we can play better still. So, lets get to it.
1. Joe Bergeron and Richard Cooper-These guys played very well yesterday. Both of them just gashed the Hoggie defense and as took a lot of pressure off Rollison to try to be the playmaker, and they both had a very calming influence on the offense and after the rushing got going, the whole unit started to click. Everyone just started to do their jobs and make routine plays, but the two headed rushing monster that we are seeing evolve might give us what we need to take a win next Saturday at Blackwater Draw.
2. Defense-Had there not been two turnovers deep in our in territory, this could have been a 55-7 win, or better yet, a shutout. The defense played so well yesterday, and there is noticeable improvement against the passing game. There was a gameplan of jamming the REC’s and putting heat on the QB and the backfield.
3. Mentatlity- Kicking off at 10 AM must have been very tough. I was a spectator and I needed coffee until 11 AM, so that should tell you something. Also, our first offensive possession resulted in a blocked punt that resulted in a TAMUK touchdown. I was starting to wonder if the hangover from SFA had not worn off quite yet, until we blocked their PAT attempt and scored on our next possession by just running and then you saw the same group from the ETBU game. Confident, aggressive, and smart.
4. Stepping up-Gage Windsor, who I had been told had really been an up and coming guy really played well and was all over the field helping and assisting in tackles. Ronald Fields, the guy that we know and love came back and he made some just outstanding plays on defense. Steven Baker stepped up at the safety position and played well. You are going to see in the next few months these guys play hard, and that is the kind of player that Carthel recruits, refines, and puts on the field. Props to the guys.
5. Crowd-Lets face it, this was a game that we were picked to win, and it was an early morning game. The crowd showed up and really encouraged the team. We had probably the biggest crowd there, all things considered, as we should have. A lot of noise, enthusiasm, and when the team came in front of the band, took the Chennault Cup and hoisted it, it was a thrill to just take our place back as an LSC elite conference team. Now, that is what it FELT LIKE, not the way it is quite yet, we will see in the weeks to come.
B Plus. Again, not as good as we are capable of, but still very good and working on some correctable stuff.
A Minus. Created turnovers and the only scores were with TAMUK starting in our territory and the second string getting a lot of playing time.
Thrasher and Saul Martinez are money guys. That said, I have to give a B plus again because it was just a matter of time before we got a punt blocked. We need to work on giving Chase Thrasher plenty of time to get good kicks off. Other than that, excellent tackling and kickoff coverage, good returns by Vernon Johnson, and good punting and placekicking.
I have to give HC Carthel and his group an A. They prepared for a big game in a big environment with a tough start time. They had also talked about learning from SFA, accepting it, and moving on to prepare. The mentality of a team is all on the coaches, and attitudes reflect leadership, so an A goes to the coaching staff.
Offense-Joe Bergeron. He was the X factor and played so well. Carrying, catching, blocking, he did it all. Having him run the ball helped the rest of the group shake off the rust from last week and give the unit what it needed back, its confidence and moxie.
Defense-Tu’u Lui and Charles Woods for Co-MVP’s. Woods was the guy doing the dirty work with leading the team in tackles again, and Lui had two huge picks and harassed the flats for TAMUK all day. Woods made his routine plays, and a lot of them, with Tu’u creates two turnovers, one a pick six. Quality Lui and Quantity from Woods.
Special Teams- Saul Martinez. He was perfect on his PAT attempts and hit a 25 yarder and then a 43 yarder that could have been good from 53 yards. Good to have him back.