Monday, September 7, 2009
Signs of Things To come ... Trust me read until the bottom of this post
Before we dive into the meat, here are some tidbits from Saturday's game
• Jake Mullin attempted 100 passes his senior season as the starting quarterback at Burleson High School. In his first college game, he attempted more than half that total with 54 attempts.
• Mullin appears to have the highest passing total this week in all the NCAA at any division with 479 yards. We are still working to confirm this number
• Sophomore Marcus Franklin caught six passes for 153 yards. The 153 yards is the 10th highest receiving yardage total for a McMurry player in an individual game since McMurry joined the NCAA in 1996.
• Mullin was the first McMurry player to throw for at least 300 yards since Jordan Neuman passed for 394 yards against Howard Payne Oct. 16, 2004.
•If you read the Abilene Reporter News Article written by Sam Waller, you saw that Hal Mumme said he wasn't into moral victories. You can't expect him to be. He's had nothing to do with poor record or reputation of the McMurry football program for the last few seasons. He's used to seeing success, he's used to seeing it quick. So from that stand point, McMurry fans should be pleased to hear this from Mumme. He expects to win, he expects to win now. For those of you at the game, you saw two touchdown passes called back for penalties, and you saw four turnovers by McMurry in the fourth quarter. We lost the game by five points. What does that tell you about where we are as a football team? For one, it tells you that if we had it cleaned up a little bit, it's quite possible we could have beat Trinity by two to three touchdowns. The other thing it tells you, is that we have quite a bit to clean up. But the most important thing it tells you is that even with the few mistakes, we nearly be a perennial Division III power. Great things to come ...
• As impressive as Jake Mullin was, he'll be the first to tell you that the three interceptions are not acceptable to him (Watch today's press conference). But, I'll rave about Mullin later in the feature I'm writing on him ... look for that late tonight or tomorrow.
• Defensively, we were kept in the ball game in the first half by their stellar performance. McMurry only allowed 10 points, 155 yards of offense and, just 3 of 9 third-down conversions were converted by Trinity.
• Several playmakers emerged, we already knew Drew Wallace could play, he responded with 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, a forced fumble and two recoveries. Jimmy Terrell, the receiver turned safety went out into the forest and brought home the wood; he had 10 tackles, 2.5 TFL and a forced fumble that led to a Wallace recovery. Nick Hernandez led the team with 11 tackles, Kerry Gamble had 10 and a forced fumble and our corners Gavan Bass and Gene Hudson (also had a pick) impressed the coaches and the crowd with five and six tackles respectively.
• The advantage of having a quick strike offense means a lot of chances to score. The disadvantage means lots of time on the field for the defense. McMurry's defense was on the field seven and a half minutes longer than Trnity's even though the teams were nearly even in total plays at 74-73 in favor of the Tigers.
• Bottom line is, McMurry will end the losing streak sooner rather than later if their effort matches this week's. Mistakes will happen with a team nearly exclusively led by underclassmen, but by the time mid-season rolls around, the Air Raid will be even more finely tuned and the 3-3-5 defense will continue to take shape.
Areas to work on:
I'm not a football expert, so when I write this section, I'll just stick to the stats: Negative nine rushing yards even though we are in a pass-heavy offense (55 pass plays, 19 run plays) is an issue that the McMurry coaches have said they will address. We have to be able to have that change of pace on the ground from time to time. However, Chantz Purvis' (six receptions 56 yards) performance out of the back field catching the ball on short receptions could be considered nearly the same effect that the ground game would have.
McMurry's defense was credited with two quarterback hurries and one sack. Overall, the defensive line was solid and the defense as a whole held Trinity well under the season average of total offense from a year ago. I'm sure they would have liked to get more pressure on the passer although Trinity did only throw the ball 24 times. Austin College is likely to throw the ball less this Saturday.
Crowd Grade: B+
Lots of hype led to a great crowd. We could stand to be a little more energetic on third downs when we're on defense. I literally yelled from the press box a couple of times during the game for the fans to get up and yell at crucial times and received no response. However, in one of the most important plays of the game, I coerced our P.A. Announcer David Bacon into rallying the crowd in the fourth quarter. He hesitantly obliged, but the crowd responded. Hopefully, in the future, our crowds won't need such a suggestion, but they'll already be doing it!
That said, the students in the end zone were GREAT, and overall the crowd was fantastic! I hope we can keep up the energy throughout the season. Not to overlook Austin College, but I think a very big test for McMurry's team will be week three against Mississippi College who pummeled Milsaps, a solid program from the SCAC, Saturday night.
Band Grade: A+
Putting the McMurry band on the east side was genious as the group played towards the home side and created racket behind the visiting bench. Dr. Chris Neal's decision to bring the band to the home side in the fourth quarter when things were getting close was another stroke of genius, and I know it helped get the crowd involved in the late going.
Other than a five-point loss, the first game of the season should be considered a SUCCESS. Can't wait til next week ... I wanted you to read the whole thing, if you did, your reward is: HIGHLIGHTS!
And check out the full photo gallery of Saturday's game by Brian Schmidt.
Stay tuned ...