Four Down Territory: Vikings pile up yards on ground, not air; LSU is an unfriendly neighbor

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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

Warren Central’s running game is a force, partially because of an imbalance.

In its last two games, Warren Central has completed only 6 of 26 passes for 29 yards while rushing 73 times for 486 yards. The Vikings had 359 rushing yards in Friday’s 45-28 loss to Northwest Rankin, and are averaging nearly 250 yards per game.

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Coach Josh Morgan said the imbalance has flowed from the success the Vikings have had running the ball and their lack of success throwing it. Rather than forcing things in the passing game, they’ve leaned more heavily on the run.

“It’s not our make up,” Morgan said of passing the ball. “We have to go with our strength, and our strength is running the football. We’re playing to the strength of our football team. If our strength was throwing it all over the field, we would do that. But it’s not.”

Morgan did acknowledge, however, that there are drawbacks to that approach. It works well in close games and when protecting a lead. When the Vikings fall behind like they did against Northwest Rankin, it’s much harder to make up points.

While trying to overcome a 24-point deficit Friday, Warren Central held the ball for 11 minutes in the fourth quarter. One drive ended on downs and another with a touchdown with only 18 seconds left.Northwest Rankin, meanwhile, had three scoring drives in the game that took one or two plays and six pass plays of 20 yards or more.

“That goes back to team approach. If that’s our make up, we can’t get behind and allow explosive plays,” Morgan said. “It’s one thing to be tooth and nail with a team and playing that brand of football, but if we get a team like we ran into tonight it makes it tough on us.”

LSU is Louisiana’s flagship university, as well as its flagship football team.
Saturday’s 38-21 victory over Louisiana Tech improved the Tigers’ all-time record against other Louisiana schools to 136-25-8. Twenty-two of the 25 losses have come at the hands of longtime rival Tulane.

Tulane also owns the last victory by a Louisiana school over LSU, 31-28 back in 1982. LSU has won 31 consecutive games against in-state competition since then.

Louisiana Tech’s only victory over LSU in 20 meetings was a 6-0 win in Ruston in 1904. The 21 points it scored Saturday night were the most it has ever scored in the series.

Saturday’s game was also LSU’s first against another Louisiana school since it beat Louisiana-Monroe 31-0 on Sept. 13, 2014. LSU is scheduled to play an in-state opponent each of the next three seasons.

Mighty South Panola is mighty average these days.

The program that once ruled Mississippi’s high school football world with an iron fist, with an 89-game winning streak and nine state championships in an 11-year span from 2003-14, was drubbed 45-13 by Horn Lake on Friday night to drop its record to 2-4 this season.

The Tigers are 18-14 since being upset by Madison Central in the first round of the 2015 Class 6A playoffs. They lost a total of 12 games between 2002 and 2015.

The loss to Horn Lake was also South Panola’s third this season by 19 points or more. During its decade of dominance it had five such games, and only two of them against other Mississippi teams.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is one of the best passers in NFL history, but on Sunday he made history with his legs.

In a 43-37 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons, Brees became the first NFL quarterback since 2011 to throw for at least three touchdowns and run for two in the same game, according to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers was the last to do it, when he had four passing and two rushing TDs in a 49-23 win over Denver on Oct. 2, 2011.

Brees scored on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter, and the game-winning 1-yard quarterback sneak in overtime. He finished with seven rushing yards on three attempts, which tied him with Kansas City’s Bill Kenney (1983) for the fewest rushing yards among the 15 players to accomplish the feat.

Brees’ 49 passing attempts were the most among the players to do it, and his 396 passing yards are the second-highest behind Rodgers’ 408.

Among the other notable quarterbacks to do the 3-and-2 are Tom Brady (2007), Michael Vick (2010), Steve Young (1994) and Otto Graham (1954). Pittsburgh’s Kordell Stewart is the only player to accomplish the feat twice — both in the 1997 season.

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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