September 19, 2011

Washington and Lee Football - Alma Game Notes

GAME 4

W&L (2-1) vs. ALMA (1-2)
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Lexington, Va. • 1:00 pm

 

 

PDF Version of notes here.

 

GAME INFO
DATE: September 24, 2011
TIME: 1:00 pm
STADIUM: Wilson Field (4,000)
TV/INTERNET: www.firstteambroadcasting.com
RADIO: www.wlur.wlu.edu
SERIES RECORD: First Meeting
CURRENT SERIES STREAK: N/A
RECORD VS. ALMA AT W&L: 0-0
RECORD VS. ALMA AT ALMA: 0-0
LAST MEETING: N/A
FIRST MEETING: N/A
LAST W&L WIN: N/A
LAST CC WIN: N/A

THE SERIES:
Washington and Lee and Alma will be meeting on the football field for the first time. In fact, this is the first time the Generals will face off against any team from Michigan.

HEAD COACH FRANK MIRIELLO:
Frank Miriello (East Stroudsburg '67) is in his 17th season as the head coach at W&L and his 44th year of coaching.  He has led W&L to 11 non-losing campaigns, a pair of ODAC titles and the program's only two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.  Miriello is the winningest coach in program history with an 84-78-1 (.518) overall record.

ALMA HEAD COACH JIM COLE:
Alma is led by Jim Cole (Alma '74), who is in his 21st season as the head coach.  Cole is the program's all-time winningest coach, having posted a 113-84 record. He has led the Scots to three MIAA Championships and three trips to the NCAA Tournament, most recently in 2004.

SCOUTING ALMA:
Alma enters with a 1-2 overall record following a 37-17 win on the road at Rockford College on Saturday. Junior running back Ed Mason set an Alma College single-game record with 228 rushing yards on 29 carries in the victory and the Scots overcame an early 10-0 deficit to earn their first win of the season. Following a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 37-yard field goal by Rockford which gave the Regents a 10-0 lead at the 7:31 mark of the first quarter, Mason scored on a 2-yard plunge at the 2:15 mark of the first period and a 6-yard scamper just before the break to give the Scots a 14-10 halftime lead. An Alma safety and a pair of touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Jarrett Leister to senior wide receiver Barak Handerson pushed AC's lead to 30-10 early in the fourth as Alma coasted to the win. The Scots finished with 526 yards of total offense, including 341 on the ground. Leister finished 16-of-29 passing for 185 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, while also picking up 75 yards on the ground with another score. Henderson caught six balls for 105 yards and two scores. Alma's defense was led by senior linebacker Anthony Sabatella, who had 10 tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage. Senior defensive lineman Conrad Bovee had nine tackles and  0.5 sacks.

W&L'S ALL-TIME RECORD:
Washington and Lee has played 1,015 games in the entire history of the program, compiling a 472-505-39 (.484) overall record.  Only five other schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia have played more games than W&L, which played the first intercollegiate football game in the South, an 1873 matchup with neighboring VMI.

GOING POLLING:
Washington and Lee began the season ranked 19th in the Sporting News Preseason Division III poll.  

LAST TIME OUT:
(Centre 42, W&L 35 • 9/17/11 • Danville, Ky.)
Washington and Lee jumped out to a 14-0 lead just 6:26 into the game, but could not hold on as Centre scored 14 points over each of the last three quarters en route to a 42-35 victory over the Generals. The loss ended a string of nine-consecutive regular season wins by W&L (2-1). The Generals took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards on seven plays, capped by a 19-yard pass from senior quarterback Charlie Westfal to sophomore tight end Alex Evans for a 7-0 lead.  After a 3-and-out for Centre, W&L strung together a six-play drive that covered 44 yards and resulted in a 9-yard touchdown run by junior running back Sean Pattwell for a 14-0 lead at the 8:34 mark of the first quarter. Centre (2-0) got on the board just 50 seconds into the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Jonathan Pinque, but the Generals went back up 21-7 on a 6-yard touchdown run by junior running back Luke Heinsohn with 8:51 left in the half.  The Colonels responded with 1:44 left in the half as quarterback Tyler Osterman found his brother, wide receiver Jason Osterman, with a 40-yard scoring strike to make it 21-14.  The Generals attempted a 37-yard field goal with seconds remaining in the half, but senior Peter Alston's kick came up short. W&L again took a two-touchdown lead (28-14) on a 24-yard touchdown run by Heinsohn just 4:52 into the third period, but Centre again sliced it to a one score game with a 4-yard touchdown run by running back Monte Scotton at the 6:52 mark.  The Generals fumbled on their first play of the next series and Scotton scored from 1-yard out to knot the game at 28-28 with 3:50 left in the third quarter. W&L rebounded from the miscue with an 8-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in an 11-yard touchdown run by junior running back Brett Murray with 43 seconds left in the quarter for a 35-28 lead. The Colonels tied the score at 35-35 on a 67-yard touchdown run by Scotton with 11:18 to play and the Generals threatened to take the lead back on the ensuing possession when they drove to the Centre 45-yardline.  However, Westfal fumbled on the 44 and Centre returned it to the W&L 36-yardline. Scotton scored his fourth touchdown of the day from five yards out eight plays after the fumble to give the Colonels their first lead of the day, 42-35 with 5:43 remaining.  The Generals went 3-and-out on their ensuing possession and Centre ran out the clock for the win. W&L's offense gained 450 yards led by Westfal, who completed 7-of-16 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown.  He also rushed 17 times for 95 yards.  Murray carried 18 times for 137 yards and one touchdown and caught three passes for 45 yards.  Heinsohn added 59 yards and two scores on 12 carries.   Junior defensive back Jake Pelton led the defense with 10 tackles.

APPLYING PRESSURE:
Through three games, the W&L defense has already registered seven sacks, or one for every 10.6 opponent dropbacks. Last season, the Generals registered only 14 sacks in 304 opponent dropbacks, or one sack for every 21.7 dropbacks. Junior outside linebacker Stephen Peck leads the W&L sack parade in the early going with three quarteback takedowns. No General had more than 2.5 sacks all of last season.

TAKING THE LEAD:
W&L lost to Centre despite going up by 14 points (21-7) early in the contest. While the addage is that no lead is safe, when the Generals have gone up a least two touchdowns, they have posted a 38-2 (.950) record since 2000. Prior to falling to Centre, the last time W&L lost after holding at least a 14-point lead was Nov. 8, 2008 when they fell, 17-14, to Emory & Henry after taking a 14-0 lead.

STRINGING IT TOGETHER:
The Generals' loss at Centre snapped their regular-season winning streak at nine games, the longest such streak since winning nine-straight across the 1962-63 seasons.  

EVERY POINT MATTERS:
Senior placekicker Peter Alston is currently tied for the team lead in scoring with 18 points.  Alston carried a school-record string for consecutive PAT's made into the 2011 season after making his final 44 attempts in 2010.  His streak currently sits at 56 in a row.  On the season, Alston has connected on 2-of-3 field goal attempts, with his first miss, a 37-yarder, coming in the loss to Centre.

STRENGTH vs. STRENGTH:
Both Washington and Lee and Alma have featured strong running games in the early going. The Generals are averaging 280.7 yards per game on the ground, led by junior Brett Murray (81.3 ypg). Alma is averaging 225.0 yards per game, led by junior Ed Mason, who is posting 147.0 ypg and a lofty 6.9 yards per carry.

Career Day For Murray:
Junior running back Brett Murray ran for a career-high 137 yards on just 18 carries (7.6 ypc) in the 7-point loss to Centre. For Murray, it was his fourth career 100-yard rushing effort, eclipsing his previous career high of 121 yards set against Emory & Henry last season. On the season, Murray leads W&L with 244 yards and two touchdowns on 47 carries. He also leads the team in all-purpose yards with 352 (117.3 ypg), having compiled 45 receiving yards and 63 kickoff return yards through three games.

ALL ABOUT OPPORTUNITY:
W&L featured an opportunistic defense last season, forcing 32 turnovers for an average of 2.9 turnovers per game.  The Generals are looking to continue their ways in 2011 after forcing five turnovers against Franklin & Marshall, one against Sewanee and a pair at Centre.  The 2010 team finished fifth in Division III in turnover margin (+17) and the 2011 team is keeping pace with a +3 margin through three games. The W&L defense could be primed for a big day against the Alma offensive attack as the Scots have already committed nine turnovers on the year, including six interceptions.

IS FIVE SACKS AND FIVE TURNOVERS A RARE EVENT?  YES AND NO:
The W&L defense forced five turnovers and recorded five sacks in a season-opening win over Franklin & Marshall.  One might think it is a rare event to have at least five turnovers and five sacks in a game.  And, you would be right.  It has only happened twice in the 103 games played since the turn of the century (2000).  However, consider that the Generals have now done it twice in the last five games, having logged five turnovers and five sacks in a 38-27 win over Hampden-Sydney last season that clinched the ODAC title.  The other game during that stretch was a 31-27 win over Catholic in 2003 when the Generals trailed 27-7 in the third quarter.

RECORD WATCH:
Senior quarterback Charlie Westfal continues to climb several of the school's record categories.  The only quarterback in ODAC history with better than 3,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards, Westfal ranks seventh all-time with 3,476 career passing yards and 10th all-time with 1,718 rushing yards.  He can move into ninth all-time in rushing yards with nine more yards.  Westfal also ranks second all-time with 5,194 yards of total offense and is third with 34 career touchdown passes.

AIR IT OUT:
While not really known for their passing offense, the Generals have shown a very effective aerial game at times this season. Senior quarterback Charlie Westfal has thrown for 250 yards and four touchdowns without an interception thus far. Three of his TD passes have gone to sophomore tight end Alex Evans, who has caught one in each of the season's first three games. Should Evans make a touchdown reception against Alma, he would become the first W&L player to record touchdown receptions in four straight games since Jack Martin '08 did so in five straight in the 2006 season.

GIVE AND TAKE:
The 441 yards of offense allowed to Centre marked the first time since the Generals' NCAA Playoff game last season (Thomas More - 523 yds.) that W&L had surrendered at least 400 yards of offense to its opponent. In fact, only twice in the last eight games has the W&L defense surrenedered as much as 400 yards, while the General offense has exceeded 400 yards in five of those games, including a 604-yard performance at Catholic last season.

IT'S ALL A NUMBERS GAME:
Since 1995, the Generals are 74-29 (.725) when scoring 20 or more points and 57-8-1 (.871) when allowing fewer than 20 points. Furthermore, W&L is 37-4 (.925) under Miriello when scoring 30 or more points and 24-1-1 (.942) when allowing fewer than 10 points.  The flip side is that the Generals are just 2-20-1 (.109) when scoring less than 10 points and 4-41 (.091) when allowing 30 or more points.