Round 2 goes to the defense. Again.
Ok. Sure. Some will try and say it was even.
6.5 tackles for loss. 3.5 sacks. And that was only Dontay Moch by himself!
The defense wracked up 15 total tackles for loss and 9 sacks in the 101 plays that the Wolf Pack ran on Saturday.
The defensive front looked impressive as they were constantly causing problems for the Wolf Pack offensive front. Dontay Moch made big play after big play including a massive hit on quarterback Colin Kaepernick from the blind side in leading the defense with 8 total tackles. Nate Agiaiva was next in line with a pair of sacks as well.
When the front group wasn't causing havoc, the defensive backfield was causing problems for the Pack quarterbacks and wide outs. Antoine Thompson led the group with 3 pass break ups as he had Marko Mitchell blanketed much of the day. Freshman Marlon Johnson mixed it up a bit as well as he had an interception and fumble recovery on the day as well as a couple of pass break ups. Again, Thompson and Evans looked solid with younger guys like Isaiah Frey continuing to push for reps on the field this season.
The defense held the offense to 88 yards rushing (4 yards per rush) and 313 yards passing on 24 of 57 (a paltry 42%).
Speaking of offense, Vai Taua led the RB's with 9 carries while Courtney Randall led in yards with 27. The two are making their cases for carries during the season behind Lippincott and Fragger. Michael Ball was on crutches (stress fracture) and we missed seeing Lampford Mark as well.
On the quarterback battle, no ground appeared to be lost or gained. Graziano led the group in yards with 143 yards, the majority of that coming on a couple of pretty plays with Marko Mitchell going for a 54 yard score, Shane Anderson catching another 50 yard post, and a nice screen play to Vai. Unfortunately as seen with last weekend, Graz's completion percentage failed to impress as he was 6-15 for 40% and was lucky to not have a couple of balls intercepted. Colin Kaepernick had an average day as he was terrorized in the backfield much of the day. Quick whistles prevented any running razzle dazzle and Kaepernick's completion percentage, unlike last weekend, wasn't much better than Graziano's as he was 10-23 for 43% with just 88 yards. The bulk of that came on a 31 yard touch down pass to Brian Fludd on a nice pump fake that left Fludd all alone as the defender bit hard. The 3rd spot looks to be as much or more of a battle as the 1st spot as Tyler Lantrip had a decent day with 7-14 for 75 yards vs. Luke Collis at 1-5 for 7 yards.
The wide receivers were slightly better with hanging on to the ball this time (still a few drops but nothing as bad as last weekend). Mitchell led the way with 2 catches for 63 yards and score and besides the other above mentioned plays and players, red shirt freshman Tray Sessions looked alright with a pair of grabs for 26 yards.
The offensive line appeared to have a rough time with the defensive speed and stunting all day. It appears they are still figuring out which players will be where as John Bender was moved back to tackle for much of the day after playing the guard spot earlier in camp. Snaps to the quarterbacks were overall much better as just a few came out low but most were right on.
Next weekend is a closed to the public scrimmage that wraps up the fall camp portion and begins the preparation for kick off with Nevada's opening opponent, the Grambling Tigers.
We would like to see the offense put a few more scores on the board and get things going before that time. The nice thing this year though is that if the offense isn't 100% gelled, they don't have to figure it out in front of 85,000 in Lincoln Nebraska.
And let's hope the defense doesn't let up and only gets better over the years to come.
P.S. Just 12 days to go now. Almost in single digits!