SAU defense looks to pressure Southern Oregon passing attack


Share
Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2012, 6:31 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com
The St. Ambrose University family will do its utmost to be hospitable to the Southern Oregon University football team this weekend when the Raiders visit Davenport for a first-round NAIA playoff game.

However, once that Football Championship Series contest commences at Brady Street Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday, the mindset will change. The hospitality from the 9-1, eighth-ranked Fighting Bees will turn a bit hostile.

"If we're physical and beat them up, smack them in the nose right away, I think we can control the game," said Jake Hemmen, former Alleman product and starting defensive end. "I don't think, out there, they have really seen a defense like ours."

The nationally 10th-ranked Raiders (8-2) bring their record-breaking offense to the Quad-Cities and will give the Fighting Bees a look they haven't seen in a while. SOU, which has a streak of eight straight games with at least 45 points, leads the NAIA and has established program records in passing offense (4,634), total offense (6,570), sacks allowed (two) and scoring (544).

Sophomore quarterback Austin Dodge has set SOU records and leads the nation in passing yards (4,326), total offense (4,419), touchdown passes (36), completions (292) and attempts (447). Senior receiver Patrick Donahue leads the NAIA in all-purpose yards (1,944) and has set anSOU record with 86 receptions. His 1,305 receiving yards rank behind only senior Cole McKenzie in SOU annals, as McKenzie has 1,357 yards with a school-record 15 scoring grabs out of 75 total catches.

"What they do more than what we've seen a lot is they take their shots downfield quite a bit," said Jeff Girsch, SAU defensive coordinator. "They're going to take 13-14 a game just throwing that ball (deep). We've been emphasizing all week to stay over the top and make them drive the football on us instead of scoring on big plays and getting big yards at a time."

Making this game tougher for the Bees is that they haven't seen a team that throws the ball this much in a while. SAU's focus has been on running teams William Penn and St. Francis, Ill. Wins over those two in the last two games helped the Bees play their way into a share of the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League title.

"We've been refreshing our kids on what we've been running in the pass game against Grand View and St. Francis, Ind.," said Girsch.

Girsch said there would be no major changes in his squad's defensive approach geared specifically to stop the Raiders' video-game-like attack.

What the Bees think they do have in their advantage is their 4-3 defense.

"Teams they have been playing are rushing three and dropping eight guys into coverage, and they've really taken advantage of that," said Girsch.

The Bees, though, hope that an aggressive attack at the line of scrimmage plays into their favor.

"As a D-lineman, that's what we love doing — bringing four people as hard as we can and get after the quarterback," said Hemmen. "We really have to get after it on the defensive line and keep our pass lanes and make sure we get good pressure on them so our DBs have a little easier time handling their receivers."


















 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




(More History)