Offense flutters, defense flusters

Photography+by+Austin+Drucker+%E2%80%9817%0AThe+football+team+ranks+first+in+defense+in+the+Patriot+League%2C+only+giving+up+275+total+yards+a+game.+

Photography by Austin Drucker ‘17 The football team ranks first in defense in the Patriot League, only giving up 275 total yards a game.

Matthew Barrett

The football team ranks first in defense in the Patriot League, only giving up 275 total yards a game.

Photo by Austin Drucker ‘17

Just when it appeared that Lafayette had finally found themselves as a football team, it wasn’t enough to stop the high octane William & Mary offense during the second half of Saturday’s game. The Leopards entered halftime with a 19-9 lead over the 13th ranked team in the country, but allowed 228 yards of total offense in the second half, along with three touchdowns and no turnovers.

“They came out the second half and adjusted and it wasn’t necessarily something that we prepared for [William & Mary’s read option],” senior linebacker Colton Kirkpatrick said. “We have to put together four quarters to beat a football team like that.”

The defense in the first half only allowed 123 yards of total offense and only one drive of 40 yards or more. The Leopards still may be adapting to a new defensive strategy, headed by coach Art Link. Another source of the faltering defense may be the amount of snaps that senior starters Mark Dodd, Colton Kirkpatrick, and Chris Brockman have been taking on at the linebacker positions. Brockman ranks first on the team in tackles, followed by Kirkpatrick, with Dodd at fourth.

At least during the first half of the game the team continued what they started vs. Robert Morris on the offensive side of the ball. In the first half the team generated 337 yards of total offense that included a 72-yard run from senior tailback Ross Scheuerman. Last week’s performance placed Scheuerman at eighth in the FCS in all purpose yards per game, ninth in yards per carry, and twelfth in rushing yards per game.

“It’s frustrating to lose [knowing that I played well],” senior Ross Scheuerman said. “I thought that we played really well in the first half and dominated a really good football team. However, I can’t say that it frustrates me too much because it’s a team sport; I do what I can to help the team.”

Despite losing starting senior guard Max Ngolla against William & Mary, Scheuerman was able to continue his success. Scheuerman also has had to get used to running behind a new right tackle in junior Nick Zataveski and sophomore left guard Connor Staudle this season.

Along with Scheuerman, it seems that quarterback sophomore Drew Reed is beginning so show the same dominance that he asserted last season. Against William & Mary, Reed went 22 of 29 for 217 yards a touchdown and no interceptions. One explanation for Reed’s sub-par second half might have been because of the aggressive William & Mary defensive strategy.

“I think they did a great job of disguising their blitzes,” Reed said. “They did a great job in the second half of doing what they didn’t do in the first half. In the second half they would bring their blitzes from depth and it confused me a little bit sometimes. They did a good job blitzing off of man coverage. They did some things that we didn’t see on film.”

This week, Lafayette will face a Wagner team that ranks eighth in the FCS in rushing defense allowing just 80 yards per game on the ground, compared to Scheuerman’s average of 132 yards per game. If Lafayette can continue to advance the ball on the ground and through the air, then they should be able to dominate the Seahawks, who rank 102nd in the FCS in total offense.