The Flat Hat is live in the Zable stadium press box with updates, analysis, news and more from the College’s 2009 home opener against Central Connecticut State.
End of game: Garbage time runs out and the Tribe ekes out a comfortable 33-14 win. The squad did enough to win today and not a whole lot else. Bottom line is they took care of business and moved to 2-0 for the first time since 2001. Stay tuned for full post-game coverage.
3:00, fourth quarter: With the game winding down, we’re heading over to the post-game press conferences as the clock runs down on the field. Stay tuned for full post-game coverage.
5:00, fourth quarter: As the Tribe goes a quick 3 and out, we have learned that James Madison has fallen to Maryland, 38-35 in overtime. The Dukes’ loss will hopefully make things a little easier for the College in the treacherous CAA South.
7:00, fourth quarter: After dominating the game in the early going, the Tribe continues to let CCSU hang around. After the missed field goal, CCSU took over at their own 36. CCSU has now begun to switch strategy, now taking to the air and straying away from the running game. On 3rd and 10, Wanket completed an 11 yard pass to keep the drive alive. After a few failed pass attempts, CCSU found themselves with a 3rd and 12. Senior defensive lineman Adrian Tracy exploded through the offensive line and hit the quarterback, forcing a punt. The kick provided a brief laugh for the CCSU sideline, as it sailed thorugh the air and into the W&M cheerleading section.
9:00, fourth quarter: After the penalty, the Tribe went backwards, working themselves into a hole with a long 3rd and 19. On 3rd down, Archer scrambled around the pocket, and threw an incomplete ball to Grimes. The next play, Pate lined up for a 45 yard field goal, which sailed wide left.
11:00, fourth quarter: The Tribe advances the ball into CCSU territory once again. On 2nd and 9, Archer pulls it down and runs once again. At the end of the play, CCSU hits Archer while he was out of bounds. The penalty advances the College 15 yards to the CCSU 21.
13:00, fourth quarter: The College forces a fourth down and about 2 near the 40. CCSU punts and Webb returns it back to the 40. He danced around several defenders and got 20 yards for a good return.
End of third quarter: A few running plays bring up a 2nd and 10 at the 30 where the quarter ends. After three, it’s 33-14 Tribe, which the College well in control.
1:00, third quarter: Laycock keeps it on the ground this times and puts the ball in Grimes’ hands. He carries it several times and the College moves down to the 20, where the Tribe stalls. Pate lines up for the field goal, but it’s an ugly squib, short and left. Seemed like a bad snap.
CCSU takes over at their own 20.
For those of you following, JMU and MD are now tied at 35 with several minutes left in the game. It’s MD ball near midfield, but the Dukes just stopped them on third down to bring up a punt.
3:00, third quarter: The Tribe defense comes out of the break energized and forces a three and out. CCSU QB Aubrey Norris has a couple receivers drop passes and the Tribe will take over after a punt. B.W. Webb finds a seem and takes it out to the 45, but there’s a flag down on the field.
It’s a hands to the face call on the kicking team and pushes the Tribe 15 yards further downfield. They’ll take over at the CCSU 40.
4:00, third quarter: Moody is now being taken off the field after being down for over 15 minutes. He was moving his legs which is a good sign, but the injury certainly looked serious with about 10 trainers and coaches huddled over him for most of that period. He is being carted off, immobilized with both teams looking on in concern and gets a big cheer. He did raise his arm as he left and slapped hands with a few teammates. Let’s certainly hope that he’ll be alright and that the delay was due to caution on the part of the trainers.
4:00, third quarter: After being nearly perfect for the first 7 quarters of this season, R.J. Archer finally makes a bone-headed throw. On second down near midfield, he tries to force one to Varno and ends up putting it right into the hands of defensive back Marcus Dorsey. Big play for CCSU and keeps them in the game a little longer.
Meanwhile, a scary moment down on the field as freshman wideout Ryan Moody is down on the far sideline. He was in on the tackle following that pick and he has been nearly motionless for several minutes. They’ve brought out the stretcher and what appears to be a back brace and we can only hope he’ll be OK. This looks serious.
7:00, third quarter: On third down from the 16, Adrian Tracy punches the ball lose from Wankett and Michael Alvarado recovers the fumble for the Tribe. It’s a big turnover and nearly kills CCSU’s hopes of pulling back into this contest. A long scoring drive here would nearly ice this game.
9:00, third quarter: The Tribe forces a third down, before Wankett completes a 46-yard pass down the left sideline to the College 26. Big play for the Blue Devils who had not managed anything in the second half thus far.
11:00, third quarter: On third down, Archer tries to scramble and collides with his own lineman, losing the football in the process. Courtland Marriner jumps on it alertly as the College recovers to bring up fourth down. Brian Pate drills a 42-yarder down the middle.
Tribe 33, CSU 14
Elsewhere, for any CAA fans out there, JMU just went up 35-28 at Maryland with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. A win for the Dukes would make the CAA 3-1 against the ACC this season.
13:00, third quarter: We’re underway and this time it’s CCSU who bobbles the opening kick, with the returner eventually falling on it at his own 5. Not a good start as the Blue Devils try to pull back into this game, down 16. Mallory goes up the middle and is stonewalled, but an impressive run. He got hit four times before he went down. The tailback continues to impress.
The Blue Devils try some misdirection and a run up the middle on third and 6. It goes nowhere and the College comes up with a big stop. B.W. Webb returns the punt inside the CCSU 30 and the Tribe has great field position as the offense comes out. Seven points here would go a long way towards icing this game.
Halftime: Some halftime stats:
First downs: Tribe 14, CCSU 8
Rush yards: Tribe 150, CCSU 64
Total yards: Tribe 281, CCSU 110
TOP: Tribe 14:34, CCSU 15:26
Third down: Tribe 3/5, CCSU 5/6
Turnovers: Tribe 0, CCSU 0
Halftime: A solid first half performance for the Tribe, but CCSU has proven they have an offense which is capable of moving the ball. The Blue Devils have been completely incapable of stopping the College offensively, however, as R.J. Archer is running them over. The senior QB has 191 yards and 3 touchdowns already.
Overall, the Tribe has come out energized and doesn’t seem to be playing lethargically after their big opening win. It would be unusual for that to happen to a Laycock coached team, but it is a danger nonetheless.
End of 2nd quarter: Wankett back in for CCSU. After a false start, DE Adrian Tracy bats down a pass in the backfield. It’s rare that the first time his name is called comes shortly before halftime, but the Blue Devils’ quick distribution has negated the Tribe pass rush.
CCSU is content to allow the clock to run out after a short run and the two teams head to the locker rooms.
Tribe 30, CCSU 14
0:36, 2nd quarter: On 1st down from the 21, Archer chucks one up in the corner of the end zone for MacAulay who makes an excellent catch for the score. Outjumped the CCSU defender and came down in bounds. He had a slow week last week, but that’s now two big plays for the senior so far and he’s looked impressive.
It’s also an important answer for the Tribe approaching halftime, not allowing the Blue Devils to get within a possession with the ball. If they can keep CCSU off the board in the final 36 seconds, it will be a big boost going into halftime.
Tribe 30, CCSU 14
1:00, 2nd quarter: As the Tribe gets the ball back, Archer picks up a big third down with his feet, rushing 15 yards into CCSU territory. Grimes then runs over the Blue Devils d-line, carrying 13-yards down to the 33. With that carry, he goes over 1,000 yards for his career in only 13 games, the fastest in Tribe history. It’s early in his career, but he’s a great back and he shows it on nearly every carry.
3:00, 2nd quarter: Once it gets going, this CCSU offense is very steady and it now has forced the Tribe defense to back off the line of scrimmage a bit. The Blue Devils have been using swing passes and pitches effectively to spread the field and the Tribe is unable to attack at any one point. The defensive line is getting good pressure, but the ball leaves the pocket so quickly that its gone by the time the lineman get there. In some ways, CCSU has now looked better than Virginia offensively.
Then again, the Wahoo’s had 14 points at this juncture as well and did not score again for the remainder of the game.
3:00, 2nd quarter: CCSU continues to run the ball effectively and is now spreading out the Tribe defense. The College’s linebacker and corners have been forced to back off the line a bit and the visitors are finding space underneath. A few plays later and the Blue Devils have first and goal at the 8.
Mallory dances his way through the middle on a carry and is in for the score, as half the College defense misses on him. Great run and that’s two efficient drives for the visitors. Mallory now has 45 yards on 12 tough carries and has impressed with his power and speed. He’s a good back.
Tribe 23, CCSU 14
6:00, 2nd quarter: After that score, the Tribe has outgained CCSU 218 to 40, running 23 plays to the Blue Devils’ 13.
Aubrey Norris comes in at quarterback for the visitors, and the Blue Devils go back to the ground game, picking up about 20 yards on 4 plays to break into Tribe territory. This option attack, while nothing spectacular, is quite solid and CCSU appears to be settling into a rhythm. The College is covering their gaps well, but CCSU runners are pretty steadily able to pick up positive yardage on each play.
Norris audibles on a 3rd and long and runs an option right, pitching to Mallory who gets about 15 for the first down near the Tribe 30. A solid drive for the Blue Devils continues.
11:00, 2nd quarter: College takes over at their 35 and immediately strikes for a big play. Archer hits D.J. MacAulay down the middle for a 48-yard gain, threading a beautiful pass between two defenders to where only MacAulay can grab it. On the next play, he swings a pass to Hobson out in the flat who takes it in from the 17. Touchdown Tribe and they quickly make up those seven points in 2 plays and 37 seconds. It’s the fullback Hobson’s second career touchdown.
Tribe 23, CCSU 7
12:00, 2nd quarter: CCSU drives down to the Tribe 10, aided by a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. After an offside brings the ball to the 5, Mallory bulls his way in for the score. The Blue Devils had a couple big plays on that series and it pays off with 7 points.
Tribe 16, CCSU 7
End of 1st quarter: Evan Francks rushes in to bring down Wankett and that’s the Tribe defense’s second consecutive sack. Wankett then completes for a 30-yard pass play downfield and the Blue Devils are into Tribe territory for the first time this evening.
After on quarter, the Tribe D certainly came to play this evening. CCSU went 3 and out on their first possession and managed a safety on their second. That pass play is really the first positive yardage for the visitors.
1:30, 1st quarter: Right as I say that, Courtland Marriner takes a handoff up the middle, eludes a couple tacklers and is gone to the outside, sprinting 37-yards for the score. It’s a career-long rush for the junior, who arguably is the third option for the Tribe. He looked great on that carry, a scary proposition for CAA opponents.
Tribe 16, CCSU 0
2:00, 1st quarter: The Tribe has rushed for 67 yards on 12 carries so far, but the vast majority of those have been on QB runs by Archer. The reason for that is the offensive line, which is getting absolutely no push in the run game. They’re not doing a great job of protecting Archer, either, who has had blitzers in his face all day. The senior has been excellent so far, elusive on the ground, while completing 3 of 5 passes for 45 yards.
Junior lineman Derek Toon goes down, but is able to walk off under his own power. His absence would be a blow to an already shaky line, and redshirt freshman Robby Gumbita hops in to take his place.
3:00, 1st quarter: On the first play of the CCSU drive, DE C.J. Herbert breaks into the backfield and knocks the ball loose from QB Hunter Wankett at the 3. The ball is knocked backwards into the end zone where CCSU recovers for a safety. Good start for the Tribe defense, and the offense takes over with good field position at their own 43.
4:00, 1st quarter: Freshman WR Ryan Moody was very active last week, catching 3 balls for 70 yards. Archer continues to look for him this week as well, hitting him over the middle for 30 yards. It’s called back due to a hold, but keep an eye on no. 9; he seems to be developing quite a rapport with his quarterback.
A couple runs and an incompletion bring up 4th and 9. David Miller punts down to the CCSU 12.
6:00, 1st quarter: The Blue Devils start at their own 16 after a 10-yard penalty on the return. Two running plays gain a total of 4 yards. CCSU then tries the option and the Tribe is all over it. Tailback Jonathan Mallory is bottled up for no gain after the pitch by about 4 defenders.
The snap on the punt goes over the punters head, but he does an impressive job to recover and get it off. The Tribe will takes over on the CCSU 45.
8:00, 1st quarter: An efficient 13-play, 80-yard drive to open the game for the College. Archer accounts for 37 of those yards with his feet alone. Laycock caps it off with an aggressive call, but it pays off. We’ll now see how the Tribe defense is able to stop the CCSU option.
8:00, 1st quarter: A pair of rushes bring up 3rd and goal at the 1. Archer hands it to Grimes who is stopped for no gain. Laycock sends Archer back out and goes for it much to the delight of the crowd. Archer fakes to Grimes and runs a naked bootleg to the right. He outsprints several defenders to the pylon. Tribe 7, CCSU 0.
10:00, 1st quarter: On 2nd down, Archer is deluged by a blitz, but outruns the CCSU d-line to pick up a first down with his feet. He had Varno open downfield, but elected to keep it himself. Terrence Riggins carries for a couple. Early on, the Tribe is having little success running up the middle, but is finding acres of space to the outside. Offensively, they are drastically faster than the Blue Devils and it’s showing.
12:00, 1st quarter: On 3rd and 10, Archer takes off up the middle for a 12-yard gain to pick up the first down to the CCSU 20. The College is caught holding, but it is negated by a personal foul, late hit on the Blue Devils. After the penalties are sorted out, it’s first and 10 Tribe at the 27.
14:00, 1st quarter: B.W. Webb bumbles the opening kickoff, but Ryan Woolfolk alertly jumps on the ball and the College takes over at their own 12. Immediately, Archer hits tight end Rob Varno in the right flat for about a 20 yard pickup. Tailback Jonathan Grimes takes a handoff up the middle for about 10, before Archer then takes off on a 30-yard scramble. College looks dangerous on offense already and is inside CCSU territory at the 32.
Pregame: CCSU brings their whole team out for the coin toss. An attempt at intimidation perhaps? We’ll see how that works.
The Blue Devils are in white with blue helmets, while the Tribe will be in their customary home green and gold.
CCSU wins the toss and defers to the second half. The College will receive to open the game we’ll get started as soon as some scoreboard issues get figured out.
Pregame: Today the Tribe takes on Central Connecticut State, a Northeastern Conference opponent which has a grand total of one victory against the CAA. That was in 1973. The Blue Devils use an option-heavy attack which routinely has them racking up well over 200 yards a game on the ground. They have won 32 games over the last four seasons, however, and opened with a strong 28-21 road victory over Lehigh.
The College will need to be focused and not overlook CCSU after a big opening-win against U. Va. If they can do that, expect their fast and physical defense to handle the option without too much difficulty.
Offensively, the Tribe should have much more success than last week, and expect Head Coach Jimmye Laycock to use a more aggressive game plan when quarterback R.J. Archer has the ball.
This week’s keys to the game:
No let downs
The Tribe will no doubt be susceptible to a letdown following their win over U.Va. and the College must make sure to forget the accolades and press that followed the upset. The team’s captains are saying the right things, but the effort must permeate throughout the entire team in order to move their record to 2-0.
Stop the option
Despite playing in the weak Northeastern conference, Cent. Conn. St. is a solid team with a strong rushing attack. Tailback James Mallory averaged 138.2 yards a game last year and posted 15 touchdowns, while quarterback Hunter Wanket is a threat as well. As they did last week, the College defense will have to stay disciplined and close their gaps.
Last week the Tribe utilized a conservative game plan to minimize mistakes. This week, senior quarterback R.J. Archer will likely have a much more varied offense at his disposal. It will be important for the College to generate offensive momentum in both the passing and ground games to open the season.
Pregame: We’re about 20 minutes to kick off and Zable is beginning to fill. From the walk in, it seems like a huge student turnout with lines stretch all the way back to the UC. Teams just went back into the locker room after pregame warmups.
We’ll be here all night keeping you posted on everything from Williamsburg. Chime in with comments and questions below. I’ll get to them as soon as possible.