Now that is a way to kick off the home season! There were a ton of storylines to fill up one season let alone a home opener. From first time starting quarterback Cole Franklin looking like he was lost to an injury but coming back in the game, our biggest enemy (the turnover) coming back to almost bite us again, the Wildcat defense brining in a huge salt truck to the ‘Catdome, and it all winds up with a team field rush after the ‘Cats seal the victory on a SOU turnover in Overtime.
So lets recap the game with the good, the bad, and the ugly of Linfield’s 14-7 victory over SOU.
Wildcat Defense: I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Linfield’s defense improved greatly from game 1 to game 2. SOU had a big physical line, some slick skill kids and a strong armed quarterback but it didn’t matter as the ‘Cats salty defense was pretty dang fast and physical themselves. The ‘Cats only gave up one tug and that was a fade “over the top” but beyond that they limited the Raiders to 13 first downs and only 240 total yards of offense. So many guys played so well but I have to say that Taylor Summers was just a disruptive force at defensive end. He was a thorn is SOU’s side the whole night but huge props to the total defensive effort. Outstanding.
Offensive Line: SOU’s front 7 was pretty tough but the ‘Cats offensive line opened up holes and gave the ‘Cats QB more than enough time to get rid of the ball. The ‘Cats kept pounding and pounding and in the end the ‘Cats offensive line wore down SOU and allowed the ‘Cats to get the job done.
Cole Franklin and Simon Lamson: Both of these young ‘Cats were starting their first game of their careers and they both showed they have bright futures ahead of themselves as Linfield Wildcats. Obviously they both have room to grow and improve and I look for them to do just that as the season moves along.
Blocking effort from the WR corp: MUCH improved from game number 1 and that blocking on the edge and downfield was a factor in why the ‘Cats were able to move the ball in that 2nd half.
Team Attitude: Coach Smith said that is probably the loudest he’s ever heard the sideline players from early in the game all the way into overtime. He’s right. The team was focused and emotionally ready for the game. Even when things didn’t go right the kids NEVER wavered and keep together. A great sign for the remainder of the season.
Fumbles: Again we have to take care of the ball especially at the goal line. Goal line fumbles have killed vs Whitworth in ’06,
Empty seats in the top corner of the ‘Catdome bleachers: The student section was packed, tons of fans in the general seating bleachers, fans around the field, but some empty seats in the top corner of the main grandstand? Come on long time ‘Cat fans….you’re much better than that! Get to the games or turn in your Cardinal Red and Purple.
SOU pre-game chant: Yeah, I hit on this last year but the “hell yeah” chant while half of their team is facing the Wildcat sideline trying to intimidate the ‘Cats smacks of busch league. I don’t know what SOU’s staff is doing down there but maybe they need to start by getting some different recruiting videos.