Last season I referred to the Hillsdale defense at times as the "No Name Defense". I used the name with all due respect to reflect a unit that simply showed up and did its job. The "bend don't break" style was manned by a bunch of interchangeable parts that kept the high profile offense of Hillsdale College in the game while not getting much glamor.
Tonight, the Hillsdale College defense made a name for itself. Senior Nick Hixson sealed the game with an interception on the final play of the game but he led a unit that limited the 4th ranked team in the nation to just 9 completions. 9. Now those 9 completions did end up tallying 194 yard with 71 coming on one play. Nonetheless, the Hixson, Joe Vear, and Ben Karaba secondary played a big role in limiting what Grand Valley's Heath Parling could do with the ball.
Last year in the "No Name" nobody really stepped up and established himself as the top linebacker. Hillsdale rotated all kinds of guys into that position. Kyle Carson, Brett Pasche, Devin Moynihan, and Jake Weddle did a pretty good job in that role but there just were "wow" moments from the linebacking corps. Tonight that changed.
If you follow my Chargerblue Twitter stream or my in-game Facebook updates, you saw me state that Brett Pasche was having a great game tonight. That generalization was really an understatement. The Findlay, OH sophomore was a wrecking crew in the middle tonight.
Already leading 14-7, Hillsdale pinned Grand Valley back to its own 14. Two plays later Pasche would intercept Parling to set up a Joe Glendening 24 yard touchdown reception off of a screen.
Pasche would come up big in the run game as well. Laker coach Matt Mitchell loves to talk about how they work with "space and speed". That was pretty apparent tonight and just as it looked like a number of Grand Valley backs might find some extended running room, Pasche would close the gap and make a text book open field tackle.
Moynihan would lead the team with 8 tackles as he did his part on his side of the linebacking crew.
Up front Ridge Riebold was able to record a couple of quarterback hurries on Parling and when it mattered most at the end, Hillsdale got a pass rush from its defensive line that hasn't been seen since guys like Drew Berube and Mark Yassay were bringing the heat.
Yes, Hillsdale got some heroic efforts from its offense...like the 85 yard Mifsud to Mott touchdown and Colin McGreevy's game winning field goal but it was the Charger defense that was able to handle one of the most talented programs in the country and set up those scores.
Tonight was a water-shed night for the Hillsdale College Football Charger Defense.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
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