Centre coasts to uneasy win over Millsaps

October 14, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

The score would say that Centre College won a slugfest on Saturday, but when it mattered most, the Colonels were throwing all the punches.

Centre controlled every area of the game for three quarters, crushing winless Millsaps 44-0 on its way to a 51-41 victory at Farris Stadium.

The final margin was close only because Millsaps scored 41 points in the fourth quarter, almost all of them against the Colonels' second- and third-team units.

But there was no mistaking the fact that Centre dominated this game for at least the first 40 of the game's 60 minutes.


"This was our best effort (of the season)," Centre coach Andy Frye said. "We just shut them down all the way."

The Colonels (5-1, 2-0 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference) had almost 300 yards of offense by halftime, and they finished with 514 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per play.

Brian Behrendt threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns in his best game of the season, Lorenzo Engleman caught seven passes for 147 yards and two of Behrendt's TD passes and Adam Blandford ran for a career-high 123 yards and two touchdowns.

"This is the best we've played offensively," Behrendt said.

On the other side of the ball, some of Centre's defenders were saying the same thing.

"This is one of our better efforts this year," said cornerback Kevin Tytus, who intercepted two passes and ran one of them back for a touchdown for the second straight game.

The Colonels' defense was stifling in the first half, when it held Millsaps (0-5, 0-1) to four first downs and less than 100 yards and forced three turnovers.

"We just drilled 'em," Frye said.

The Majors finished with 435 yards, but almost two-thirds of them came in the fourth quarter.

The events of the fourth quarter were a source of aggravation for Frye, who ordered his starting offensive and defensive units back onto the field for one final series each after Millsaps started scoring at will on the reserves.

"I decided - against the rest of my coaches - that about two-thirds of the way into the third quarter we were going to start playing our twos and threes," he said. "Millsaps kept their first team out there, and we just didn't play very well.

"I'm hoping our kids will disregard that and just get back to where we were."

They got there with big plays on both sides of the ball throughout the first half.

It started just 2:20 into the game with Tytus' first interception, which set the stage for a 46-yard scoring run by Blandford.

Centre scored on its next three possessions to go up 17-0 before the end of the first quarter, by which time the Colonels already had 152 yards.

Less than 90 seconds into the second period, Tytus made it 24-0 when he picked off a pass from Millsaps' Christian Johnson and returned it 43 yards to the end zone.

"I was just in the right place at the right time," said Tytus, who hadn't returned an interception for a touchdown since high school but now has two in two weeks.

Centre's defenders sacked Johnson eight times. Linebacker Jarrod Zywein had two of those sacks and a team-high seven tackles, including six solos.

The Colonels made plenty of big plays on offense, too. Behrendt was 18-for-23 for 244 yards and had a string of eight straight completions in the first half, and he finished 23-for-29.

"Everything worked just like we scripted it," Behrendt said. "The line gave me plenty of time, the receivers ran perfect routes and everybody was open and making plays.

"I think we're really starting to get a feel for our offense."

Engleman turned two shovel passes into touchdown plays of 39 and 86 yards in the first half, John McMonigle ran for Centre's final second-quarter score, and freshman Adam Clark made his first career touchdown catch in the third.

The Colonels also got a 37-yard field goal and three extra points from Chris Thompson, and Danville High School alumnus Bennett Clark kicked two extra points, the first of his collegiate career.|10/5/03***

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