Four Down Territory: Wolfe howls and the Tide keeps rolling

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Welcome to Four Down Territory. Each week we’ll spotlight four nuggets, notes and stats from the weekend that was in Mississippi high school football, college football and the NFL.

Vicksburg High’s Tyrese Wolfe had the game of his life, and one of the best all-around performances in the state this season, in the Gators’ 45-28 win over Columbus on Friday.

Wolfe caught seven passes for 74 yards at wide receiver; returned a kickoff for a touchdown; and had three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

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Wolfe’s three interceptions all came in the second half and were the deciding plays in Vicksburg’s first win of the season.

His two touchdown returns, a 35-yarder late in the third quarter and a 95-yarder with 1:30 left in the fourth, were the only points scored in the second half. His other interception at the goal line early in the fourth quarter snuffed out a Columbus scoring threat.

Wolfe also had a second kickoff return touchdown negated by a penalty.

“Whether it’s on offense or defense, he’s a phenomenal competitor. We put him in that position to do that,” VHS coach Tim Hughes said.

Alabama made short work of Ole Miss on Saturday night, scoring 28 points in the first quarter on its way to an easy 62-7 victory.

Ole Miss once had the upper hand in this series, winning back-to-back meetings in 2014 and 2015. Since taking a 24-3 lead late in the first half of the 2016 game in Oxford, however, Alabama has outscored the Rebels 173-29.

Saturday’s win also showcased a high-powered offense that is on par with the Crimson Tide’s always-stingy defense.

Alabama is the first team in Southeastern Conference history — the league was formed in 1933 — to open the season by scoring 50 points or more in each of its first three games. It is also the first time the Crimson Tide has scored 50-plus in any three-game span since 1945.

Fifteen of the 20 drives this season where Tua Tagovailoa has been the quarterback have resulted in points. In those drives, the Tide offense was 15-for-19 on third down conversions, accounting for 1,024 yards on 108 snaps for an average of 9.5 yards per play.

Eight-man football is known for high scores and eye-popping offensive stats, but even by those standards Tallulah Academy’s Joshua Collins is having a tremendous season.

The senior quarterback rushed for 266 yards and six touchdowns in an 84-32 win over Prentiss Christian on Friday. It was his fourth 200-yard game of the season, and third with six TDs or more. He has scored at least four times in every game.

For the season, Collins has 1,279 yards and 26 touchdowns in five games.

Tallulah, as a team, has scored 41 offensive touchdowns in 182 plays — an average of one every 4.4 plays. Not surprisingly, the Trojans are undefeated at 5-0 and in first place in the MAIS’ District E-2.

The New England Patriots don’t lose very often. They get blown out even less, which is what made Sunday’s 31-20 defeat against the Jacksonville Jaguars so surprising.

Since their first Super Bowl season of the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era in 2001, the Patriots have lost a total of 64 regular-season games. Only 26 of them have been by 10 or more points.
The Patriots have now had one double-digit loss in each of the past four seasons. They had two in 2014, and none from 2011-13.

For comparison’s sake the Cleveland Browns, the definition of modern NFL futility, have lost 27 games by double digits in the last three-plus seasons alone. They’ve lost 102 games by that amount since 2001.

The New Orleans Saints, a fairly average franchise record-wise this century, have 55 double-digit losses since 2001 and 22 since 2010.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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