Shock and disbelief is the only way I can describe the feeling I was experiencing. After having a prior commitment take me away from the Internet broadcast at halftime, I returned late in the game to find the score tied at 27. Leaving at halftime and knowing that Ferrum was controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage and leading 24-7, I had a good feeling that the game was well in hand. Never count your chickens before they hatch!
I did not need the stress this game caused, but I will take the win, and be glad about it! While many people picked the 2-0 Eagles to prevail, Ferrum stepped up their game, and put one in the "W" column. At halftime, I thought it would be a cake walk for the last two quarters, but my original prediction did have Ferrum winning by three points...possibly in overtime. Not bad!
In trying to look back at this game, I will first start with the keys to a Panther victory submitted in an earlier post.
1. STOP THE RUN- #20 Tate is averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Huge improvement in this area. The Eagles were limited to 142 yards on the ground, averaging 3.7 yards per carry. Tate averaged 2.6 yards per carry.
2. Minimal penalties. Let them make the mistakes. Better than week one, but there were too many. 9 penalties for 62 yards.
3. Control the Red Zone- Keep em out, but if they get in, minimize their effectiveness. Overall not too bad in this area, but not that great either. The Eagles entered the Red Zone 6 times, and scored on 5 of them. Ferrum entered the Eagles Red Zone 5 times, and scored all five times.
4. Force turnovers and convert Eagle turnovers to points-Huge!!! Great job in this area. This needs to become an objective for every game. Two interceptions resulting in 10 points, and
recovered 2 Bridgewater fumbles, both resulting in scores.
5. Give Mike Vann at least 15 carries. (While this seems possibly too specific a key, Vann was the leading rusher last year, and was the VASID Rookie of the year in 2007. He is a major weapon, and must get more carries. He only had three carries in game 1.) Ferrum's first three offensive plays were running plays using Vann. This set the tone as two of those runs resulted in first downs. Overall Mike carried the ball 11 times for 90 yards...Just what the doctor ordered. This opened up the offense, and took the focus off of the other running backs such as Steven Harris who had 9 rushes for 103 yards.
6. Get to the Quarterback! He is completing 53% of his passes.Play their receivers close enough to avoid the underneath short routes. Get one interception....or more. The Bridgewater Quarterback was 19-29 for 287 yards and 3 touchdowns. While this was an improvement on his average, the Panther defenders came up with 2 interceptions, and converted both of these opportunities into points. (One TD, and One FG) The negative is that the Defense did not sack the Bridgewater quarterback once.
7. Control Time of Possession...If they don't have the ball, they cannot score.
Time of possession was fairly even through three quarters, but Bridgewater dominated TOP in the last quarter. this gave them the edge for the game. (Overtime possession is not included) This is an area for improvement, but the productivity of the offense limited the time of possession...Overall this was a good job.
In the last section of the initial post about this game, I indicated that the field goal unit should be ready...Boy were they ever ready...Scott Puschell, Freshman kicker was 3 for 3 on his field goal attempts, and his last was the game winner. He was also 4 for 4 on extra points. Great Job Scott!!!
Lastly, credit Matt Dobson, as he threw for two touchdowns, and ran for another...all while playing with a broken left hand!
Great Job Panthers!