Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What about the Hillsdale College Defense you ask?

Thanks to whoever anonymously commented on the Jackson paper's recap of Saturday's game, "What about the defense, Losik?"

You ask and you shall receive.

Hillsdale wins 49-25 and obviously 25 isn't the most impressive number for a defense in terms of points allowed. But like anything, you have to drill down into those numbers in order to get the real story about this football game.

Let's look deeper into some key defensive moments that helped the offense overcome some early mistakes and pull away tying its biggest points production of the year.

Even though the Charger D's initial series of the day resulted in a Northern fieldgoal, Hillsdale kept Wildcat back Mark Boussuah out of the endzone three straight carries from point blank range.

Two of the most impressive defensive moments came on early back to back series and were nearly identical. After forcing Northern into a 3rd and 10, Drew Berube picked up his 6th sack of the year forcing 4th and 21. Kam Mueller did the same the next time NMU touched the ball, sacking QB Carter Kopach on a 3rd and 10.

Maybe not as specular but just as important, the Charger defense did its part to keep an offense with a hot hand on the field as much as possible just before the half. Having cut the 'Cat lead to 17-14 on the biggest pass play of the year, a 59 yarder from Troy Weatherhead to Andre Holmes all things were going the Chargers' way. On the ensuing possession, Hillsdale stuffed NMU on 3 plays and even picked up a Northern false start forcing the Wildcats to punt from their own 30. That series only used 38 seconds of clock time and gave Hillsdale the ball back at it's own 38. It would take Weatherhead and company 5 plays before taking back the lead for good at 21-17 on a 14 yard AJ Kegg reception and Mark Petro extra point.

The hot streak continued on both sides of the ball right into the 3rd quarter. Vinnie Panizzi took his first 2nd half carry 71 yards to the house. Palmer Schoening ended NMU's next touch with an interception and the Charger defense stopped Northern's 4th down conversion try a series later. Hillsdale led 35-17.

Northern closed within 10 to make the score 35-25 but the Chargers protected the lead allowing the offense to add the final 14 points. Speaking of the final points, the defense deserves a lot of credit for at least the last 7. After another 3rd down sack by Matt Szula, the Charger pressure got to the NMU punt team causing punter Garret Peck to chase the football to his own 3.

If you figure in that botched punt with all of the tackles for loss by the Chargers on the day, Hillsdale took away 62 yards of rushing for a total of 87 yards allowed. Hillsdale is 3rd best in the GLIAC against the run allowing 3.7 yards per carry.

In other categories, Hillsdale is ranked 3rd in the GLIAC with 10 interceptions and Alex Wojcik is #1 in the league with 4.

The 24 sacks this unit has recorded is good for 2nd place in the league. Drew Berube and Eric Weber are tied for third with 6 a piece. Tom Korte leads the league with 14.5 tackles for loss.

Hillsdale is #2 in red-zone defense, #2 in fewest opponent 3rd down conversions, and #3 in fewest opponent 1st down.

The Charger defense will next be tested at noon Eastern as Hillsdale travels to downtown Detroit to face Wayne State this Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Mary Veldheer and can be found at Chargerblue Space.

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