Coach Godding's post-game Q & A
Quick 10-0 deficit, turnovers prove costly
Lions defense and special teams praised
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- In the aftermath of a heartbreaking 25-17 defeat at the hands of Austin College, Southwestern Assemblies of God University head coach Jesse Godding answered a few tough questions.
“We played with great effort but continue to be plagued with mental mistakes that are costing us football games,” he said following the game.
“You can live with physical mistakes that are made at full-speed, but mental mistakes will lessen your chances to win in a hurry,” he added without specifically mentioning the plays.
He did respond to his decision to go for it on fourth down from deep in SAGU territory in the closing minutes. The Lions were behind, 22-17, and had suffered a sack that left them with a fourth and long.
“I am sure the call to go on 4th down with more than two minutes to go, while we still had two timeouts was not popular,” he admitted. “With two timeouts Austin just needed a first down to run the clock out.”
“Figuring they would not attempt to score, that they would play for a field goal at that point” was his reasoning. “That would leave us with our timeouts, some time on the clock and an eight point deficit.”
His projections were correct and the Lions regained possession on their own 27 with 1:15 to play.
“If we had punted, based on how the game was going at that point, I was not certain we would see the ball again,” he confessed. Austin College ran for 236 yards and were averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
“In retrospect, it is one of the few times I have not played the percentages on a call like that. Depending on your thinking it either worked or didn't. Since we didn't win, it didn't.”
As it turned out, the Lions marched from the 27 to the Kangaroos seven-yard line with time for two more plays. Both went incomplete in the end zone. Had SAGU pulled it out, which they nearly did, his scheme would have been considered brilliant.
As for the main reasons the Purple Pride didn’t come away with a victory, the obvious targets were the four turnovers and the slow start.
“We did not start well again,” the Minnesota native lamented. “Spotting them 10 points prior to our getting going was disappointing.”
(Quarterback) Reid (Golson) has done a good job of protecting the football (in the first two games), so the throws on a couple of the interceptions were a surprise. The third one was a tipped ball that occurred in the end zone.”
The Lions took the second half kickoff and drove to the Roos nine yard line. On first and goal, Golson spotted tight end Caleb Shelly open over the middle.
His pass ricocheted off a linebacker’s (Brooks Ward) hand to a defensive back about ten yards to the right. DeAndre Holmes made a diving grab to deny the Lions any points.
“The defense played with great effort,” acknowledged Godding. “(Austin College) was a tough team for us to defend. They ran the ball well and are built for ball control.”
The Roos outweighed the undersized Lions defensive line by 25-pounds per man, and the quick lead afforded them to run their offense.
“Our offense put the defense in some difficult situations to defend,” stated the coach. “We talked (with our players) about playing field position all week and did not accomplish that well.”
A more positive aspect continues to be the play of the SAGU Special teams. The kicking and punting teams coverage was again outstanding. Plus, the Lions’ two-man kickoff return squad, is providing very good field position.
“The special teams went well again,” Godding praised. “We may have the best return tandem in the country (NAIA).”
Trevor McKinley and Jeremy McDaniel are excellent in the open field and are one-step away from breaking even bigger runbacks.
Texas Lutheran visits SAGU on Saturday
SAGU will be at home this Saturday, September 22, when Texas Lutheran University visits Lumpkins Stadium for a 6:00pm start. The Bulldogs are 1-1 so far this season. They had a bye over the weekend.
They lead the series against the Lions, 2-0, taking a pair of games in 1998 and 1999. SAGU began playing football in 1997.