Coach Godding Post-Game Q & A
Godding assesses the Lions progress
A/G college football teams are all 2-1
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Happy as a clam at high tide is Jesse Godding, the football head coach at Southwestern Assemblies of God University And for good reason!
After winning in convincing fashion on Saturday afternoon, Coach Godding’s Lions are 2-1 for the first time in the young program’s history. They defeated Austin College (NCAA Division III) on the road, 35-13, behind an offense that made big plays and a defense that allowed little.
SAGU is preparing for Haskell University this Saturday, September 24, a distant road trip to Lawrence, Kansas. The Indians are 0-4 and have yet to get on track.
The Lions have won the last three in the series, including 29-15 last fall. However, over the past seven meetings the Lions have suffered two road setbacks to Haskell and hold a 4-3 series edge.
A victory this week would make SAGU 3-1, setting up a huge clash the following week. The Lions will host undefeated and # 12 ranked Southern Nazarene at Lumpkins Stadium on October 1. So, it makes this Saturday’s game very important.
SAGU’s only loss this season was a 29-21 defeat at Bethany College (Ks), who are 3-0 and #16 in this week’s NAIA Coaches Poll.
Following his squad’s big win in Sherman, Texas on Saturday, Coach Godding addressed several topics:
“The two turnovers hurt us in the first half. The fumble by (WR David) Howard (6 catches, 46 yds) gave them great field position (the SAGU 25), which they turned into a touchdown. The second (a fumble on the AC 10) took points off the board. We managed to overcome those turnovers but we need to hang onto the ball better.”
“Both quarterbacks played well at times today. Jason Rice (26-18-0 238 yards passing, 2 TD's, 63 yards rushing)had some good drives as did Reid Golson (10-5-1 68 yds, 30 yds rushing, 1 TD). They did a good job of distributing the offense to all positions!”
“We have been waiting to get some offensive output for (the first) two weeks. We have talked as a unit about turning potential into production. Today we saw some of the production start to happen.”
“We didn’t start well today. We were sluggish starting out. In the second quarter we began to play at the speed and intensity necessary to stop Austin's offense. Shutting them out in the second half was a positive aspect in regards to how we began the game.”
“We did miss some chances for turnovers (dropped interceptions) and need to be able to convert when those opportunities present themselves.”
How the Defense Rates
The defense ranks #22 in the NAIA in points allowed (19.0), #20 in yards permitted per game (263.0), and trails only Bacone College (261.5) in the Central States Football League. The rushing defense is #24 nationally, and has surrendered only 105 yards per game, two touchdowns and just 2.7 per carry.
The defense has now scored 4 touchdowns in 3 games; Frank Agbemaple (pronounced AGE maple, silent b) 11-yard fumble return versus Bethany, Patrick Smith 65-yard interception return against Howard Payne, O’Shae Cofer 69-yard return of fumble, Therian Lewis fumble return of 4-yards. The latter two happened on Saturday.
Beating Austin College in Sherman
Coach Godding commented that “Austin College is a difficult place to play for us. We have struggled there all three years we have played at that venue. Today was no different. We were just mentally tough enough this year to overcome the obstacles on the day.”
The ‘Roos entered the game with a 4-1 lead in the series.
Room to Grow
The veteran coach has reason for guarded optimism. Even with the good start, the Lions have trailed in all three games. Ten turnovers in three games have impeded the offense, while the defense has yielded only five TD’s in three games.
“We need to continue to make strides to be more consistent in all phases of the game,” Godding concluded. “We have a difficult stretch of games coming up, beginning with a long trip (450 miles) to Lawrence to play Haskell. We need to be playing consistent football during that stretch.”
There are three Assembly of God colleges that play football; Trinity Bible College (Ellendale, N. Dak), Evangel University (Springfield, Mo) and Southwestern. Currently, all are posting a 2-1 won-lost record.