Sunday, September 29, 2013
Indy chokes out Hillsdale's homecoming comeback attempt
It could have been worse but with Indy looking to add another TD a few minutes before half, Daniel Pittman forced a fumble that Tyler Jenks returned to the Hillsdale 39. The Chargers would put together a drive of 20 yards, three yards shy of their longest drive of the day, but would turn the ball over on downs before half.
The fact that 20 yards was the 2nd longest drive of the day pretty much summed one of the most anemic offense days Hillsdale has had in years. It was that bad. The somber conversations in the press box were mainly about how uncharacteristic the halftime stats were in a couple of areas. Indy held an 8 minute advantage in time of possession and the Chargers had only converted 1 first down. Both of those numbers have consistently gone Hillsdale's way over the majority of the Keith Otterbein era.
While joining Andy Brown on WCSR as a halftime guest I stated that the only real positive was that there was a great opportunity for someone in blue to give this team a spark.
A couple of linebackers, namely Brett Pasche and Steven Embry did just that as the defense nearly carried the Chargers single-handedly back to a win.
Defensive coordinator Craig Blanchard started to roll the dice a little early in the third quarter by blitzing Pasche to disrupt Indy quarterback Chris Mills. Pasche made the first big play of the half as he tackled a Greyhound running back for a loss. The disruption continued as Mills would surrender with a slide a couple of plays later for a loss of 4. Embry made an even bigger play a couple of snaps later when he picked off Mills and returned the ball 33 yards inside the Indy 10.
Hillsdale picked up its second third down conversion and first points as Sam Landry found John Haley for 5 yards on 3rd and goal.
Great punting from Matt Eltringham and a swarming Chargers defense kept Indy pinned deep most of the half and pressuring Mills. With 9:00 left to play, Embry would put Hillsdale's last points on the board. On a very similar play as his 3rd quarter interception, the senior would pick off Mills again and this time take it all of the way into the endzone.
Hillsdale could muster nothing offensively to help the cause and on its last possession Indy was able to burn 3:54 to ice things.
In all fairness to the Greyhounds, the final score most likely should have been at least 23 or 24 to 14. Mills kept the ball on a 4th and goal play with seconds left and as he entered the endzone he took a couple of...let's call them "happy steps". The officiating crew took this as showboating and flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct. Even from a horribly biased Hillsdale point of view the kid deserved to celebrate a little as he iced the game and didn't take it as high stepping. With recent rule changes, that penalty nullifies the points. This hardly warranted a flag, let alone one that would take points off of the scoreboard. However, if there is an officiating crew in D2 that would invoke it, it would be the one led by Napoleon's descendant in the white hat that continually publicly dressed-down Hillsdale's clock operator throughout the game.
On the day Hillsdale was just 3 of 14 on 3rd down and Indy held an 11 minute advantage in time of possession. That ain't Charger Football.
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