Saturday, September 27, 2008

Huskies win!

Cross-posted at, a really good (and growing) Northeastern sports site maintained by WRBB, NU's on-campus radio station.

With rain alternating between light and very heavy, the Huskies overcame an early deficit and beat the University of California Davis Aggies 27-10 at Parsons Field. While the score seems to point towards an effective and balanced offense, the real source of NU's 27 points was a defense which often bent but never really broke.

Oh yeah, it also helps when the Aggie quarterback decides to throw the ball into the hands of Northeastern defenders instead of taking a sack.

The game started somewhat ominously, as NU's opening kick sailed out of bounds, giving Davis excellent field position to begin their drive. The Husky defense looked absolutely terrible, allowing Davis to drive and score on a 15 yard touchdown run after only 2:56. Northeastern had a tough time moving the ball in the first quarter, but was able to keep the Aggies from scoring again, getting to the second quarter still down 7-0. However, the Aggies would kick a field goal to start the second and put the Huskies down by 10.

The rest of the second quarter, though, was all NU.

Their first drive led to 7 points. On the Aggies' next possession, quarterback Greg Denham was sacked and fumbled the ball. The Huskies scored to take a 14-10 lead. Davis had their subsequent drive cut short by a Jason Vega interception, a turnover which did not lead to any Husky points. A couple possessions later, Denham threw it right to Northeastern's Nate Thellen. A trick play led to 7 more Husky points. Next possession. Denham throws it up. Thellen comes down with it. Again. Northeastern scores. Again. The Huskies finished the quarter up 21-10.

At this point, the rain really started coming down, and both quarterbacks started throwing terrible, dumb passes. Neither Orio nor Denham will be getting any sort of accolades after today, and Denham in particular is going to have to explain how he accounted for 6 turnovers, 4 of them interceptions, 3 of those to Thellen.

This doesn't really meet my definition of "good game." It was sloppy, and NU had some extremely fortuitous fumble recoveries and interceptions that, frankly, can't be relied upon. Davis is not a good team, and while it's good to repay them for their 28-10 victory in Davis last year, I'd really prefer that the offense, Orio especially, generate points of their own. Also weird: Mat Johnson's blocked PAT in the fourth quarter. Something about that play got Rocky Hager worked up, which is probably a good thing.

The defense, though, had by far their best game of the season, though. Applying pressure on the quarterback was a clearly effective way to kill drives or force turnovers, and hopefully the coaches and players took close note. A blitz is always a dangerous play, but I'd argue the best play in football is the third down sack. Or maybe the interception. Either way, pressuring a QB is always a good choice.

Brian Mandeville had to be carried off the field in the fourth quarter. The athletic trainers were looking at his left knee and eventually wrapped it up with ice. Hopefully he's okay, as he's likely to be playing every Sunday next year.

Overall, it's tough to complain about a win, especially after the defensive disasters Northeastern's last few games have been. The Huskies open CAA play at Towson on the 4th.

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