It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it was a win. Here are three quick observations from the game yesterday.
The defense had another great game
Some things are obvious, but it has to be said. This defense picked up the slack for the offense once again this game. Gerod Holliman continues to impress as he got his 6th interception of the season and had a great return that almost went for a touchdown. He also had a huge hit on a Wake Forest player that sent him out of the game and got the crowd very energized. He is clearly one of the fan favorites on this team.
For the game, the defense only gave up 3 points, and that was after a fumble by Reggie Bonnafon around midfield. They also only gave up 100 yards of offense from Wake Forest. Lorenzo Mauldin was in the backfield all game and came away with 3 sacks. Sheldon Rankins actually had an interception on what seemed like the 30th time that the Demon Deacons tried to run that shovel pass play up the middle.
Facing a freshman QB for the 3rd time in 5 games, the defense did exactly what they should have done, shut him down.
Our 4th string RB is pretty good
If you follow the team closely, this isn’t breaking news to you. But Brandon Radcliff is a very good running back. Some just may not have known it before because he is in a stable of very good running backs. Technically on the depth chart, he is usually the 4th running back. That is crazy, right? Well not really, when you think about who is in front of him: Dominique Brown, Michael Dyer, and L.J. Scott. Yesterday Petrino rolled with the hot hand, and that was Radcliff, who had a career day with 129 yards rushing on 17 carries and 2 touchdowns. He also had two catches for 30 yards, although one of those catches was for 33 yards.
Dominique Brown only had 3 carries for 1 yard, and 2 of those carries resulted in fumbles, although one was credited to Bonnafon. I thought Michael Dyer had a decent game. He had 41 yards on 14 carries. So that is only an average of 2.9 yards per carry, but it seemed like it was better than that. L.J. Scott did not record a carry in the game.
I just think Petrino had the attitude of “Look, if my senior is going to fumble and kill the drive, and the sophomore is going to rush like this, I am going to stick with the sophomore today and get him experience.” Just my guess on why Brown never saw the field again. To my knowledge, he wasn’t injured. In the stable of running backs, Radcliff had it going yesterday, and Petrino rode that to victory.
Reggie had a decent game
Considering it was his first career start, and that he missed a week of practice recently because of the death of his father, Reggie Bonnafon didn’t play a bad game. He may have made the wrong read a few times on the read option on whether to hand it off or keep it himself, but that’s going to happen. He threw some passes into tight coverage when there were better options sometimes. But as a freshman, he probably was locked in on where the ball was going before it was even snapped. So learning to go through his progressions is a step to be made. Although you can’t go through all of your progressions when you don’t have time to, so there’s that.
He finished 16/32 for 206 yards. He also rushed 14 times for 46 yards, picking up a few first downs and moving the chains. And although he did force some passes as I just said, there were also some drops by the receivers. He did have a fumble at the goal line, which led to the only touchdown for Wake Forest. That has happened way too many times this season, regardless of who the quarterback is, so ball security has to get better.
But I thought overall he had a decent game. He made some good throws, some not so great throws, and made big plays with his feet. After the hard times he has gone through lately, I will not hate on him at all for this game. Why would I anyway? I am a Cards fan so I wouldn’t hate on our own guy.