Preview: The Sagecock-Stag Football Homecoming Battle

Do you want a chance to redeem yourself? For once act like you actually know something about football? Aren’t you sick of pounding and pounding some athlete’s poor performance and acting like a goon? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a Claremont “sports fan” (who has probably spent more time playing piano) sitting on his couch all Sunday say, “Oh dude! That was horrible! I could have thrown a better pass!” I got news for you, chubby: you couldn’t. But God has given you another chance. The P-P-CMS game this Saturday has the campus on its heels, and the next time you and your friends pass by that cute girl who goes to all the football games, all you need to say is, “Ya the P-P-CMS game. It’s going to be close!”Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will battle on the gridiron this Saturday in the 6th Street rivalry. The teams are tied for fourth in SCIAC, each with a 2-3 league record, and 4-4 overall. They have competed against the exact same opponents, both losing to Chapman, Cal Lutheran, Redlands, and Occidental, and both defeating UPS, Lewis and Clark, La Verne, and Whittier. But while their wins and losses seem to follow suit, their strengths and weaknesses, strategies, and game plans couldn’t be more different. Pomona-PitzerP-P’s quarterback Jacob Caron PI ’11 is second in the SCIAC in passing yards per game (272.5, with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions), and star wide-out RJ Maki PO ’11 has 150 more receiving yards than the next best receiver in SCIAC.Maki is averaging an unheard-of 139.1 receiving yards a game, including 254 yards against Lewis & Clark.The high-powered Pomona-Pitzer passing game is third in SCIAC for total offense at 263.1 yards per game. CMS, on the other hand, ranks dead last, averaging just 97.3 yards per game. The much-improved Sagecock offensive line has given Caron lots of time in the pocket this year to scan downfield and pick apart the opposing secondary.Don’t be surprised to see Caron air it out, and Maki put up some big numbers.The Hens will try to keep the Stags on their heels by mixing in a running game that features Russel Oka PI ’11, who has wowed the crowd with his tough upfield running style. Defensively, Pomona-Pitzer will focus most of its attention on stopping the powerful run game of CMS. The key for the Sagecocks will be to jump out to an early lead and limit turnovers.Claremont-Mudd-ScrippsCMS ran the ball 50 times more than any other team in SCIAC. Expect the Stags to stick to their ground game, especially against a Pomona-Pitzer run defense that allows an average 131.7 yards a game, second worst in SCIAC.CMS running back D.J. Lillard CM ’10 is averaging 4.4 yards a carry and will no doubt be running hard in his last game as a Stag.The Stags also rely on a stifling defense to protect their running attack. The team is ranked third in SCIAC for total defense, and has allowed 83 fewer yards than the Sagecocks this year.The CMS defense has been particularly strong in the red zone, leading the SCIAC in fewest points allowed. CMS senior cornerback Landon Patoc CM ’10 leads the league in passes defended and will probably be covering Maki for most of the game. Look for the battle between these two heavyweights to play a major role in the game’s outcome.The key for the Stags will be to control the pace of the game and pick away at the Sagecock defense with short 3-5 yard runs. The Stags will need to keep the Hens out of the end zone and establish their running game to take the weight off of their passing game.The 6th Street rivalry will take place this Saturday at 1 p.m. on CMS’s Zinda field. Who will win? CMS’s stout defense and run game? Or Pomona-Pitzer’s lethal passing game?

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