On this week’s Check the Tape with head coach Brad Spencer, three fumble recoveries by the defensive line, some good improvisation by both Luke Lehen and DeAngelo Hardy on a touchdown pass, and another appearance by Jordan Chisum for a strong run on 4th Down.
The Cardinals defense recovered a season high three fumbles in the win over Illinois Wesleyan, with Dan Gilroy, Dan Lester and Tyler Rich all jumping on loose balls including for a touchdown in Rich’s case.
“I think the guys were just doing a great job of what they’re coached to do,” Spencer said. “They’re opportunistic. It’s a lot of fun seeing the defensive line making the plays they made. It’s a skill, it doesn’t just happen, to take the ball away the way they did and it’s awesome to see.”
Improvising in the Wind
The Cardinals threw the ball just 11 times due to the weather conditions, which included wind gusts in excessive of 50 miles-per-hour. But two of those passes from sophomore quarterback Luke Lehnen found his favorite target, junior receiver DeAngelo Hardy. On the second of those, Hardy broke off his route to find space and Lehnen delivered a side-arm dart for the score.
“We certainly had to adjust the game plan a little bit coming into the game, which we expected,” Spencer said of dealing with the weather conditions. “We had a roll-out pass here and the defense did a nice job of covering DeAngelo’s leverage, but he broke it off and found space. In our passing game, a lot of what we want to do is find green grass and find a throwing lane for the quarterback. You can see there that those two have worked together a lot in the offseason to develop the timing that they have and it’s paying off right now.”
Jordan Chisum is Back Again
Despite having a significant lead late in the game, the Cardinals elected to go for it on 4th Down with five yards to go. Sophomore running back Jordan Chisum not only picked up a first down, but stiff-armed a Titan defender in the process on his way to the end zone for a touchdown.
“First of all, going for it on 4th Down at that point, with the wind we just didn’t feel comfortable with trying to kick a field goal,” said Spencer. “We didn’t want to give them the opportunity to block a punt, so from there it was just having confidence in our offensive line and confidence in our perimeter blocks. Jordan did a great job of finding the hole, and we have such a great stable of running backs that whether it’s the first, second, or third string we have confidence in who’s carrying the football.”