Momentum shifted in a very big way Saturday as Ferrum, who held a 28-7 lead in the third quarter, fell in overtime 31-28. It is not a lot I can say to dull the pain of this one, and while I don't want to assign blame to any one person or event, lets just say that in this game there were plenty of errors that hurt the cause.
I was at my second job, and tried to keep up with this via my cell phone. I last saw the score being 21-7 in the third quarter, and remember thinking thats a nice lead, but they have to finish. As I was about to leave work, I tried my phone once again, and when I got no broadcast, I felt it was over. I then checked the USA South website, and saw the final score. My first thought was that it probably happened through the Cougars strong passing game........yes they did pass a lot in the second half, but after watching the game when I got home, I have to say it was more like a karma shift.
At just over 6 mins. left in the third quarter, Ferrum led 28-7 off of a Harvey Taylor touchdown run. After the kickoff, Averett took 9 plays to find the endzone. (5 passes). After the Bailey extra point, Ferrum still led 28-14.
On Ferrum's next possession, Helton fumbled, and Averett recovered. The Panther defense rose up and stopped Averett, taking the ball back on downs. On the first play of the next drive, R.J. Lee fumbled, and Averett again recovered.
With :11 seconds left in the third quarter, Averett found the endzone again, and cut the lead to 28-21.
On their first possession of the fourth quarter, Ferrum had to punt, and Averett took over and began a 17 play drive that took over 5 minuets off the clock. They were held by the Ferrum defense, and had to settle for a field goal. The attempt was blocked however, and Ferrum still had a 7 point lead with 7:20 remaining.
This possession was pivotal, as Ferrum was deep in their own territory. They were not able to mount any kind of a drive and were held to a 3 and out. Ferrum punted, Averett's Travis Jones returned the ball 38 yards to the Ferrum 21. Jones would score an an 11 yard rushing touchdown on the drive, and with the extra point, Ferrum and Averett were tied 28-28 with 5:10 left.
Ferrum was again held to a three and out, and withe the defense on its heels, Averett looked to finish Ferrum off. Things were not that easy however as Ferrum's Sam Soloman forced a fumble, and Ferrum fell on it at the Averett 14, with 3:33 to go.
I at this point, already knowing the final score, and that it finished in overtime, realized Ferrum would come away empty.....but 1st and 10 at the Averett 14 with over three minutes left????? The strength of the Averett defense continued, stopping Ferrum on three plays. This time however, Ferrum was well within range of Hunter Ferguson, who was perfect with field goals to this point (7 for 7). This time however, Ferguson's kick hit the left upright, and fell no good. The result was an overtime.
It was at this point that the series of unbelievable events, got completely whacky. Ferrum won the toss for the overtime period, and elected to take the ball first. This flies in the face of logic, and leaves me bewildered as to how something like this can happen. Three plays on offense resulted in another interception. Averett took over and after four plays, they sent their kicker, Chase Bailey into the game for a 35 yard game winning attempt. He had not made a field goal the entire year, but we all know what happened this time.....he nailed it, and the game was over.
There are three ways to look at this game. It had it's good, it's bad, and it's ugly.
The good for Ferrum was mostly in the first half. Ferrum stymied Averett through the first half, and in a portion of the third quarter as the Panthers led 28-7. During this time, I saw some strong plays by the defense, and it looked like the D was really getting on track. It was a solid performance for the first 8:51 of the third quarter, but at this point, the wheels, one by one, started coming off.
Before I further detail the loss of wheels, I have to go back to a play in the first half. Ferrum had Averett in a 3rd and 25 position. In was not impossible to think that the Cougars could make up that much, but it seemed like things were in Ferrum's favor. On the third down play, Al Matthews stopped the ball carrier for a three yard loss. Averett was looking at a fourth and 28. Then however, Matthews did or said something, and I could not tell you what he did, but his antics earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and gave Averett a first dowm. This was a huge mistake, and while it did not lead to points for the Cougars, it may have resulted in points for Ferrum had Averett been forced to punt.
After what would be Ferrum;s final score of the day, Averett completed a nine play drive in less than three minuets. In this drive, there were 4 complete passes, and the total drive covered 69 yards.
Ferrum's next two possessions would total three plays, and yield two fumbles, both lost, the second, resulting in a touchdown for Averett, and exhausting the Ferrum defense.
The time of possession was only won by Ferrum in the first quarter.
Ferrum only had 5 first downs in the second half.
The Ferrum offense. It was shut down by Averett in the second half, and looked one deminsional. It appeared to be frustrated, and mostly ineffective. No real adjustments, or so it appeared.
Five turnovers, resulting in 17 Averett points.
Averett had 83 yards on punt returns......two punt returns.
Lastly, the simplest part of the game, the part with no pressure of clock, and no athletic ability required, the overtime coin toss was muffed. I cannot blame the player on this one. This one to me, has to fall at the feet of the coach, and it could have made a difference. This may not be something that is discussed at every practice, but any player, who is expected to make a specific call after winning the coin toss must not only know what call he should make, he should understand why that call is important. Without this information, anything could happen.
Ferrum must now put this one to bed, and focus on beating North Carolina Wesleyan. It will be difficult, but it is a real possibility. Like this game, the NCW game could come down to who has the ball last. Everyone has to be ready. It would be nice to end the season with a win.
A Bloggers Note:
From time to time I receive comments from readers, but today, I received a comment that was personal in nature, and totally unwarranted. I write a blog called the Ferrum College Football Report.
This makes me a "homer" and apparently biased. I am called a homer, and I will agree to that. I am a fan, and if that comes with a small amount of bias, then that is ok. The problem with the people who decide to assail me with names and personal attacks and choose not to identify themselves, is that they represent themselves as Ferrum fans, but only comment when they lose. They are not Ferrum fans, but rather are only interested in berating the coaches, the style of offense run, and apparently me and what they think is an unwarranted positive spin I put on Ferrum football.
Use some sort of an ID, so I at least know who I am talking to.....I receive multiple anonymous comments, and an ID would help me. Call yourself anything you want, just make it the same on each comment. If you can do that and keep the attacks less personal, and the language clean, I can publish more comments.
If you cant do that, I really think you should consider reading a different blog......oh! or maybe writing your own blog. https://www.blogger.com/