College football: Bluejays hope to bounce back against Dakota College
WORTHINGTON -- Football is a tough game. It's very hard for most teams to get themselves running on all cylinders on both sides of the ball at the same time.
WORTHINGTON -- Football is a tough game. It’s very hard for most teams to get themselves running on all cylinders on both sides of the ball at the same time.
The Minnesota West Community and Technical College Bluejays’ offense is moving the football more or less consistently these days. But the defense -- at one time a team strength -- seems to be in need of a fix.
The Bluejays (1-3) surrendered lots of yardage last Saturday to North Dakota State College of Science in a 48-36 home loss. They allowed 34 first downs to the Wildcats and 575 yards of total offense, including 513 yards passing. If the Jays can’t batten down the hatches today (Saturday, Sept. 30) in a road contest against Dakota College in Bottineau, N.D. (noon start), they’ll be in for another long and frustrating day.
Dakota College is 3-1 on the season, coming off a 34-17 win over Ridgewater. Running back Elijah Todd has 641 yards rushing and is averaging an MCAC-leading 160.3 yards per game, with a league-high eight touchdowns.
The Jacks are second in the MCAC in total yards per game (Minnesota West is fourth) and on defense allow only 305 yards per outing.
Last Saturday, NCSCS often caught the Bluejays flat-footed on an assortment of screen passes, slants, curls and dump-offs. Head coach Jeff Linder said afterward that his team wasn’t aggressive enough and didn’t tackle well.
“As a team, we didn’t come out ready to play,” Linder said again on Friday, blaming improper tackling angles and over-pursuit. “They came out punching and we didn’t counter-punch. We woke up, but you can’t take so long to get started.”
On the positive side, however, Minnesota West got another outstanding game from 6-2, 197-pound freshman wide receiver Reginald Colson III, who hauled in six passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns. It was the third consecutive game Colson received in triple figures -- he caught five for 225 and three scores in his previous contest, and caught 13 for 184 and two TDs in the game before that.
Quarterback Peyton Kendrick completed 25 of 48 pass attempts for 331 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions against NDSCS. Like Colson, Kendrick is settling into a groove.
Now it’s time for the defense to step up.