September 4, 2011

Southern Miss game analysis







Louisiana Tech dropped its opening game of the 2011 football season with another heartbreaker at the hands of Southern Mississippi. Instead of a 13-12 loss, this time a 17-13 loss.



In the debut of Nick Isham, the Tech offense never could find a rhythm in the downpours of Tropical Storm Lee. Isham finished the game 20 for 35 with 176 yards. Isham did not throw an interception or touchdown during the game.



The Tech defense played well with exception to the opening drive of the game when USM marched down the field 73 yards in 7 plays over 3:22. After that drive the defense settled down and improved drastically.



We will now grade each position group on their performance.



Quarterbacks



Isham overall played well for a first game. He held on to the ball a little long a few times and stared down receivers at times but for his first career start he played reasonably well especially considering USM fifth year senior senior Austin Davis was 21 for 37 with 199 yards with one interception and no touchdowns.



Grade - B



Running backs



Tech running backs did not have much room to run as USM was keying on the fact Tech would lean on the run to make Isham feel more comfortable. Additionally, the weather conditions made it even harder.



Grade - B



Receivers



Tech receivers were the Achilles heel for Tech. When a true freshman quarterback is playing you hope for the receivers to help him with few drops. That was not the case for this group. Specifically Taulib Ikharo dropped at least three passes. Ikharo also did not look to make the most of every opportunity as he avoided contact by running out of bounds on at least one occasion causing the play to result in negative yardage. The bright spot of this position group was Quinton Patton as he led all Tech receivers with 5 catches for 95 yards.



Grade - C-



Offensive line



The offensive line played reasonably well but need to play better and give Isham more time. Redshirt Sophomore Vince Cano was abused on a stunt by Southern Miss resulting in a sack.



Grade B-



Defensive line



With starter IK Enemkpali out with an injury, Christian Lacey and Andre Taylor filled in nicely for him. Taylor hurried Davis into an interception. Davis threw 6 interceptions total in 2010.



Grade - A



Linebackers



Jay Dudley was all over the field for Tech. Early in the game the middle of the field was open and it seemed the middle linebacker was not staying at home. Tech replaced Adrien Cole with Solomon Randle and this improved. Cole improved on this as the game went on.



Grade - B



Defensive backs



Tech was able to prevent USM from having explosive plays for touchdowns through the air. Dave Clark had an interception and Terry Carter had picture perfect coverage on a deep ball late in the game. Ryan Williams missed the opportunity to make two interceptions.



Grade - B



Special teams



Ryan Allen punted the ball extremely well and had a 70 yard punt called back for a mysterious penalty of "5 players in the backfield". Lyle Fitte returned a kick for 86 yards and a touchdown. Matt Nelson was 100% on field goals and extra points.



Grade - A+



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