UWA runs over Mississippi College

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012

West Alabama coach Will Hall harped all week about the Tigers getting back to “what we do best.” Evidently running the football is what the Tigers do best.

UWA rushed for 353 yards and four touchdowns on the way to a 41-3 win over Mississippi College Saturday at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers improved to 2-1 on the season. Mississippi College dropped to 1-2.

“That was more like it. We got back to doing what we do, establishing the run,” Hall said. “I was really pleased with both quarterbacks and how they handled the zone read run play tonight.

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“That had really been the downfall of our offense the last two weeks. Tonight we executed it and it opened up for us,” Hall said. “We really pounded them and it opened up our play action game.”

Both UWA quarterbacks played big parts in the five touchdowns scored by the Tigers. Gary Johnston ran for two, whileKyle Caldwell ran for one and threw for another. Matt Willis capped off a 101-yard rushing night, all in the first half, with a 1-yard scoring run in the second quarter. UWA has now come away with points in all 14 trips to the red zone this season.

“We have a good plan when we get into the red zone,” Hall said. “Coach Gregg does a good job with our run schemes in there and we have some special skill players, so it was good to stay perfect there.”

Not to be outdone, the UWA defense recorded five sacks and eight tackles for loss while limiting the Choctaws to just 118 total yards, just 41 on the ground.

“What can you say about our defense, holy smoke,” Hall said. “Were we playing with 15 tonight?”

University of Kentucky transfer Ridge Wilson had his UWA coming out party in the Tigers’ home opener, recording 11 total tackles, four behind the line of scrimmage (two sacks). Jamey Moffett, Deon Lacey and Dereck Jordan all recorded sacks for UWA.

Caldwell found Chad Toocheck on an 8-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring at the 11:28 mark in the first quarter. Johnston dove into the left corner of the end zone from four yards out to give UWA a 14-0 lead after the first period.

Ryne Smith connected on 25 and 18-yard field goals in the second quarter. Coupled with Willis’ 1-yard plunge, the Tigers led 27-0 at the half. Smith has now converted 55 consecutive extra point tries and 16 straight field goal tries over the last two seasons.

Mississippi College’s only points came on a 42-yard field goal by Chris Campbell with 4:44 left in the third quarter. Caldwell sprinted in from eight yards out late in the third and Johnston scored on a 3-yard run in the final period to cap UWA scoring.

Johnston finished with 74 yards on eight carries, followed by Caldwell with 70 on five trips. Hobbs ran for 52 yards on 10 tries and freshman Javae Swindle contributed 50 yards on just six carries.

Caldwell was 10-of-15 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions. Reggie Hall had three receptions for 17 yards.

Denzel Dabon led Mississippi College runners with 47 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback Jonathan Redd was 10-of-17 for 77 yards and was intercepted twice. Alex Archer had four receptions for 45 yards to lead Choctaw receivers.

West Alabama begins Gulf South Conference play next week at Valdosta State. Mississippi College travels to Hardin-Simmons.