Triple option too much for CMU; Enos happy with Radcliff’s play
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The patent triple option offense is one of the toughest to defend in football.
And CMU learned that firsthand on Saturday in its 38-37 loss against Navy.
A week after scoring 76 points on 596 yards of total offense against East Carolina, the Midshipmen put up 470 yards of total offense, most of which came on the ground, against the Chippewas.
“I’ve personally never played against something like that,” said senior linebacker Matt Berning, who finished Saturday’s game with eight tackles. “Getting used to in scout – you can’t simulate the speed and execution that those guys do. It’s frustrating.”
Quarterback Kriss Proctor replaced an injured Ricky Dobbs on Saturday, but that didn’t stop the offense from functioning as usual.
Proctor rushed for more than 200 yards, averaging more than 10 yards per carry. His four-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter gave Navy a 28-24 lead, one that they would eventually hold.
“We had a feeling going into the game that he (Dobbs) wasn’t going to play,” said CMU head coach Dan Enos. “Watching the other guy (Proctor) on tape, I asked our coaches about him and they said he was good too.”
All game, CMU’s defense had issues containing Proctor and juniors Aaron Santiago and Alexander Teich. Santiago rushed for 60 yards on four carries and a touchdown, while Teich had 55 yards on 12 carries for two
While CMU practiced everyday Monday through Thursday in preparation for the triple option, Enos said they could not match Navy’s speed.
“We tried, and everyone that plays them tries too,” he said. “It’s almost something that if you know you’re going to play them every year, you’d want to do something in spring practice and fall camp (to prepare).”
Radcliff plays well
After struggling in games against Ball State, Miami and Northern Illinois – a game in which he was benched for the fourth quarter – sophomore quarterback Ryan Radcliff appears to have turned a corner.
Enos said Radcliff’s performance, in which he went 36-of-58 for 394 yards and two touchdowns, was a step in earning his confidence back.
“His feet were better, he was making better decisions and threw the ball very well,” he said. “He competed, played well and this may have been his best game. Hopefully we’re building on that and getting better.”
Radcliff led the team’s pair of comeback drives late in the fourth quarter, in which the Chippewas scored two touchdowns in about three minutes and pulled within a point before failing on the two-point conversion.
“That was great,” Radcliff said of Enos’ decision to go for the win rather than take the game into overtime. “I was hoping we were going to do that. I was glad that he did that – it means a lot he had the faith in us to get the two.”
Redshirt freshman Zurlon Tipton had a career day offensively, rushing for 62 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Tipton’s long, a 19-yard rush late in the second quarter, got the Chippewas a first down, setting up a 41-yard field goal by freshman David Harman. He rushed for touchdowns in the second and fourth quarter.
“I was out there just trying to get work done,” Tipton said. “I wanted the seniors to walk out of here with something under their belt.”
Enos said the running backs have gone by committee, with the hot hand getting most of the carries. Tipton took 16 of the team’s 32 carries in the game.
“Our plan was this week to find out which guy can play in the last two games and figure out what his future is going to be here,” Enos said. “He broke some tackles, looked fast out there and explosive, and we made the decision to keep giving him the ball.”
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