Stags Defense Stout, But No Match for Bulldogs

Turnovers.
That was the name of the game Saturday, Oct. 18, for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
football team (2-3, 1-2 SCIAC). Four costly turnovers contributed to the 31-7
loss the Stags suffered against the University of Redlands Bulldogs (3-2, 3-0
SCIAC).

However,
in the midst of defeat, not all was lost. The CMS defense had a remarkable
performance, allowing only 132 yards passing. In fact, the Stags defense scored
the team’s only touchdown when line backer Nick Nasse CM ’15 blocked a punt and teammate
Lucas Owan CM ’17 picked up the ball and scored.

Griffin
Lazarus CM ‘17 had a great game, stopping the Redlands offense with 11 tackles
on the day. Also notable was defensive lineman Andrew Sova CM ‘16, who had the Stags’ only sack
on the day.

Quarterback,
running back, and coach alike all recognized the high-quality play of the
defense.

“Our defense played very well last weekend, and
we, as an offense, need to come together and play better,” quarterback Trey Reynolds CM
’17 said.

It
was a common theme among players and coaches that the offense needed some
improvement. Specifically, the offense needed to take care of the ball.

“I believe that the reason we lost was because of
the multiple times we turned the ball over,” Reynolds said. “Yes, Redlands is a very good team,
but I believe that they did not beat us; we beat ourselves. That game was a winnable
one for us, but we let the opportunity slip.”

The
Stags will look to bounce back as they play at Occidental College (3-2, 2-1 SCIAC) Saturday, Oct. 25. Occidental similarly had a big loss this past Saturday against Chapman University (4-1, 3-0 SCIAC), the other undefeated team in SCIAC. For comparison’s sake,
Occidental lost to Chapman 59-21, while CMS only lost by 33-23 Oct. 4.

The Stags’ game against Occidental is a pivotal one as CMS will need a win to stay
competitive in conference play. With this in mind, the team is taking time to refocus and prepare themselves before the important match. 

“We
need to focus on ourselves and what we need to do to get better,” head coach Kyle Sweeney said. “Oxy is a good
opponent, but we have the tools to beat them.” 

One
of the things the Stags have begun to work on is their special teams. During
the game against Redlands, CMS fumbled on the opening kickoff, which led to a
touchdown. Later in the game, CMS allowed a 75-yard punt return. As a result,
there has been a new focus in practice.

According
to RB Nick Gott HM ’17, “Our punt team is
learning to tackle in the open field, and our practices have much more focus in
order to minimize mistakes in the game.”

Although
the offensive turnovers were detrimental to the Stags’ success, there were still positive aspects to the team’s play.
Reynolds managed to hit eight different receivers for completions led by Tyler
Stanek CM ’16 with six receptions. Stanek is having a noteworthy year, averaging
just over 80 yards per game.

When
the Stags take on the Occidental Tigers tomorrow, turnovers may yet again
decide the game. Just last year, CMS gave up three second-half turnovers, which
allowed Occidental to mount a comeback and capture the 38-30 win.

“I expect to see our guys play with a lot of passion this week,” Sweeney said. 

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