Week Three Recaps
by, 09-16-2012 at 09:28 AM (2116 Views)
As a lot of you know, I am now in my sixth season writing about the GLIAC for D2Football.com. For those who have been reading my stuff for a while, you may recall that in years past I have talked ad nauseum about how this league can't be figured out. Some teams are good for a week or two and then stink, and a few will be crummy for a month and then rattle off four or five straight out of nowhere. Some clubs play great at home but struggle on the road, while others can't win at home and then travel to win games that they probably shouldn't. We also have teams who are notorious for having expectations almost every year and then meet them only about half of the time, and usually at least one team per year that comes (seemingly) out of nowhere to post a winning record. With all of that said, there's little doubt that the overall caliber of play in this league continues to be on the rise which is terrific the league, the teams we follow, and most importantly for us as fans.
Again, I have said for years now that trying to predict what will happen in this league is hard enough. To dig deeper, I have also said that picking games from week-to-week is often just as easily done by tossing everyone's name in a hat and simply drawing them out. This past weekend looked and felt as much like this as maybe I have ever seen it, and sometimes the "bizzare-o" results would shift wildly within the confines of a single game. Anyone who doesn't find this wildly entertaining probably has more important things to do in their lives than I, and to that I tip my cap. For the rest of you who are goofy like I am, I hope you found this weekend as fun to watch unfold as I did.
Michigan Tech 30, Walsh 7
OK, so I yap above about how odd this league is and then I start off with a result that was, well, expected. Neither team was overwhelming, but Tech was certainly the more effective of the two clubs as their RB committee posted three ball-carriers with 50 yards or more, and Tyler Scarlett threw two TD passes. Walsh only mustered 96 passing yards and 56 more rushing...that kind of production simply isn't going to keep a team competitive in this (or any, frankly) league and the Cavaliers will have to figure out how to move the ball more effectively in the weeks to come.
Wayne State 35, Lake Erie 31
OK, NOW we're into one of the weird ones. Wayne out-gained LEC nearly two-to-one in this one, and yet trailed 24-7 at halftime, and 31-13 with about 13:00 to go in the game. The Warriors then mounted drives of 76 and 93 yards, and sandwiched those around a 10-yarder generated by a turnover deep in LEC's end to come back and snag the win. Seemingly, the Wayne offense was only "on-track" during the fourth quarter, but it was enough. Toney Davis had 110-yards and a pair of TD's on the ground to go with a receiving score. QB Mickey Mohner really wasn't effective until the fourth quarter, but he did throw a pair of scoring tosses in that stanza after leading the three Wayne TD drives. Anthony Bilal posted 135 yards and two TD's on the ground for LEC in the loss.
Ohio Dominican 47, Northern Michigan 7
After a tough outing last week at Hillsdale, the Panthers bounced back at home in trouncing Northern. The Wildcats basically couldn't do anything offensively, as their longest drive of the day netted only 44 yards and the Panthers out-gained them by more than a two-to-one margin. Toss in five NMU turnovers and you pretty well have your story. Ohio Dominican QB Mark Miller was vastly improved over last week, going 18-24 for 292 yards and four TD's. Ronald McCloud was Miller's favorite target, as he snagged 177 yards worth of passes and three TD's.
Grand Valley 28, Tiffin 0
After watching Grand Valley run nearly 90 offensive plays a week ago, Tiffin's approach to this game was simple: possess the ball as much as possible and keep the Laker offense off the field. To Tiffin's credit, they executed this plan rather well. The problem is that the Laker defense that struggled to get stops last week was able to do so consistently in this one, especially after the Dragons would cross midfield. Despite 164 rushing yards from Dominique White and a defense that did a fair job of keeping the GV O at bay, Tiffin was never really in this one. Now, in fairness, the Laker offense seeming to sputter a bit had to be due in part to the loss of staring QB Heath Parling, who left the game as the second quarter was beginning. While Isiah Grimes (10-15, 143 yards, 2 TD's, INT) was plenty solid in his stead, the loss of your main leader will always affect a team. The early returns have most believing that Parling is done for the year, so it will be worth watching to see how the Grand Valley offense responds and performs in the weeks to come. Don't look for major drop-offs, as Grimes has a big arm and still has WR Charles Johnson who had six grabs for 139 yards and a pair of TD's. He also has Mike Ratay, who scored both on the ground and via the air for the second straight week.
Hillsdale 27, Malone 10
Hillsdale QB Anthony Mifsud threw three TD's passes (two to Cam White), and the Charger defense registered four sacks on Malone QB Will Szpor in the Hillsdale win. Malone did a good job of keeping things close for a while, trailing by only four at the break. The Pioneers were summarily shut down after that point, however, netting only 40 yards of offense in the second half. Joe Glendening had more than 135 yards rushing for the third straight week, and capped the evening's scoring with a 22-yard jaunt early in the fourth quarter.
Northwood 49, Notre Dame 14
And now we're back to the results that were eye-opening. Northwood winning the game isn't the surprise. Rather, it is the dominating fashion in which they did so. After the incredible offensive display by Notre Dame at Grand Valley last week, the Falcons were rendered essentially ineffective by the Timberwolves. How'd they do it? Well, in all fairness to Northwood their defense isn't horrible, but their OFFENSE appeared to be the key to this one. The Woodies possessed the ball for more than 39 minutes of this game, and seemingly took the Falcons out of any sort of rhythm. Aaron Shavers had perhaps the best game of his NU career as the senior QB was 11-15 for 127 and two TD's passing. He also ripped up the Falcon defense for 120 yards and two more scores on the ground. While Shavers was fantastic, the NU rushing attack was also aided by Cameron Jackson and Jordan Jonker, as the backfield tandem combined for another 177 yards and three TD's.
Findlay 29, Saginaw Valley 27
Teams whose strategy it was to shorten the game are 1-1 so far in this column...Tiffin succeeded in their quest but lost, and Northwood's efforts completely discombobulated their opponent as they won easily. And now for the tie-breaker...Findlay held the ball for nearly 40 minutes with a physical ground game and effective short to mid-range passing attack. The result was a Saginaw Valley offense that was held to essentially four possessions per half and only 57 total offensive plays. Despite only punting once and turning it over only once, the Cardinals typically high-powered offense couldn't cash in on their limited opportunities and Findlay was able to snare a huge win at Saginaw. The Oiler offense was nearly flawless, led by QB Clay Belton who went 32-42 for 335 yards and two TD's. RB Monterae Williams was also terrific, notching 29 clock-eating carries for 131 yards and TD. The Cardinal offense wasn't ineffective (Tim Hogue was over 100 yards rushing with two TD's, and Jeff Janis had a buck-31 and a TD receiving), but again, their opportunities were limited by a Findlay offense that ran 88 plays and basically played keep away for most of the night.
Ashland 47, Ferris 32
I mentioned in my preview that the early trend this year showed a Ferris defense struggling against the pass. Coach Owens and his Ashland staff apparently saw the same and then some in their film study, as Eagle QB Taylor Housewright came out slinging it early and often. The senior posted a career-best 438 yards on 25-36 passing, and his four scoring tosses led Ashland to a wild win in their first road-game of the year. Dan Piko (142 yards) and Eric Thompkins (120 yards) hauled in six passes each from Housewright as the Eagles raced out to a 23-0 lead at recess. Give credit to the Bulldogs, however, as they furiously fought back to a pair of 8-point deficits in the fourth quarter. Their efforts weren't enough, however, as Ashland closed things out with a 16-play scoring drive in the same stanza, as well as a return of a last minute on-side kick for a TD.