No Soup for You – How awesome was the goal line stand in the fourth quarter? Can you ever recall seeing a defense, at any level, turn away an offense that had five shots at the end zone from INSIDE the one yard line? It was simply one of the gutsiest efforts I have ever seen from a defense…pure will and determination. Not only did they turn the Tigers away from the end zone, but gave the offense the ball on the ten yard line on the change of possession. Simply awesome!!
Gimme That Ball – Coach Foust’s defense had a night in the takeaway category. Three interceptions (2 for Jaxson Smith and 1 for Alex Barker) and two fumble recoveries had a huge impact on the momentum of the game. One of the keys to all successful teams is having a positive turnover margin. We got things started on Friday night with a plus three in this category and need to continue creating turnovers throughout the season.
First Half Offensive Production – We moved the ball efficiently in the first half en route to a twenty one point lead at half. I was pleased with the way we worked up front and how we kept grinding away and were then able to pop a couple of plays for significant games. If we remain patient (and that is often difficult for me), those big plays that we are accustomed to seeing will continue to occur and break games open.
4 for 4 – What else can you say about Whitney Westerholm’s contribution on Friday night. With Barnes out with a leg injury, Westerholm stepped up and added four free points to the total on Friday night. Many teams struggle to find one athlete that can put it through the uprights, we are now two deep.
Holding onto the Ball – Although we only lost one fumble on Friday night, we put the ball on the ground five times. We were fortunate to have only have lost it once. We have to do a better job of protecting the football…odds are that the positive turnover margin I mentioned earlier will cease to exist if we can’t do a better job of protecting the ball.
3rd Quarter Let Down – We had an opportunity to put the game away in the third quarter with our first possession. Instead we came out of halftime flat and uninspired and allowed a team to hang around long enough to believe they still had an opportunity to compete with us.
Time to Throw – Although we strive to run the ball effectively every week, we have to have a play action passing game that compliments our run game. Our offensive line and our running backs must do a better job of protecting the quarterback and providing him time to see the field and make good throws.
Penalties – 9 penalties for 81 yards. That was the total when all was said and done on Friday. Some stopped us before we snapped the ball and many erased significant gains on both special teams and offensive plays. Some want to give the “first game” excuse, however, we shouldn’t accept that and allow ourselves built in excuses if we are going to get better. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot repeatedly and not be expected to limp.