Offensive explosion


There are certain things a team needs to do to guarantee a victory.

In Reno, Nev. last Saturday, the Huskies did those things a little better than Nevada in their 46-42 win and were able to come home with a 2-0 conference record, moving full speed ahead to the Las Vegas Bowl.

Nevada needed to stop LeShon Johnson.

They did, but in the process they forgot about quarterback Scott Crabtree. Johnson was held to just 35 yards in the first half and finished the game with just 92 and zero yards receiving.

“We scored some touchdowns because they were overplaying LeShon,” said head coach Charlie Sadler. “We really weren’t using him as a decoy. It’s just that if people overplay him, eventually they pay the price.”

Crabtree took care of making them pay dearly. In his best game so far he finished 11-of-15, 340 yards and five touchdowns. This, after a poor performance against lowly Arkansas State, in which he was 8-of-21, 133 yards and 3 interceptions. His numbers were very comparable to Nevada quarterback Chris “Magic” Vargas, won of the top ranked passers in the NCAA.

Vargas completed 36-of-52 for 392 yards, three touchdowns but threw two interceptions; one at the end of each half that were picked off by MacArthur Griffin on “Hail Mary” attempts. Vargas threw the ball 37 more times than Crabtree, but only completed 69 percent to Crabtree’s 73 percent. What Vargas did with seven different receivers catching a pass, Crabtree did just as well using just three receivers.

The major factor in the excellent success of Crabtree and the offense was execution.

“Coming in we said the offense had to click … today we clicked,” said wide receiver Sean Allgood who caught two of the five touchdown passes.

Allgood finished the day with four catches for 90 yards to go with the two touchdowns.

The Wolf Pack defense was keyed so heavily on Johnson that when he got the handoff they would go for him and forget about the receivers. Johnson pitched back to Crabtree who launched two bombs to Patterson for touchdowns.

“When I caught it (the 65-yarder) I just ran for my life,” said Patterson. “I was going to get the ball no matter what,” he added when asked if he thought the pass was too short.

The offensive line deserves some credit for allowing Crabtree to get off his passes. Not one defender got through to sack Crabtree, while the Huskie defense managed to sack Vargas on three different occasions.

The one thing the Huskies offense needed to do to help a victory was to control the ball and keep Nevada’s defense off the field. They were unsuccessful, not because of bad ball control, but rather excellent ball control.

There weren’t any turnovers by the offense, they just executed so well that they scored quick. The average time per scoring drive was 1:43. The longest drive was a seven play, 67-yard drive that ended with a Brian Steger 31-yard field goal, his second of two on the day. Nevada held the ball for 36:50 to NIU’s 23:10.

Another reason for the quick scoring was excellent field position set up by two fumble recoveries and four great kickoff returns by Steve Rodgers. In the first half the Huskie average field position was there own 46 yard line (their own 37 for the game). Nevada’s average start for the game was their own 25-yard line.

Put simply the performance was an outstanding example of the offense’s confidence.

“We’ve got a total team attitude and we won’t be denied,” said tight end Raymond Roberts (3 catches, 63 yards and 1 TD). “We’re not going to let anything come between us and our goals.”

“We scored some touchdowns because they were overplaying LeShon. We really weren’t using him as a decoy. It’s just that if people overplay him, eventually they pay the price.”

Charlie Sadler

head coach