Despite optimism stemming from winning their last two games, the Lords football team fell to Allegheny College last Saturday, 49-0. The Lords defense, which had carried them to their previous two victories, had trouble getting the Allegheny offense off the field, with the Gators converting seven of their 13 third-down attempts and two of their three fourth-down attempts.
One of the areas that the Lords defense had been successful in all year had been limiting ‘chunk plays.’ A ‘chunk play’ is traditionally defined as a passing play of over 20 yards or a rushing play of over 10 yards.
In their latest win against Oberlin College, the Lords gave up two such plays, though neither resulted in touchdowns.
Against Allegheny, the Lords gave up six, including 53-yard and 86-yard touchdown passes to Gator senior wide receiver Dwaine Barber. Barber had started the day with 178 yards and one touchdown on the season. Against the Lords, Barber put up a three-touchdown, 182-yard performance, which earned him NCAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
One of the few positive takeaways from the loss was how the defense handled Allegheny’s Alex Victor, one of the most explosive players in the NCAC. His 10 receptions for 61 yards marked his lowest yards per attempt for the entire season, and his 61 yards overall were the lowest any NCAC team, with the exception of Denison University, had given up to him all season.
There were few bright spots for the Lords offense against an Allegheny defense hungry for their first win. The depleted offensive line gave little time for the Lords’ quarterback Thomas Merkle ’20 to pass, and his statistics reflect that fact. Merkle, who has started every game since his first year, posted a career-low 68 passing yards for only the third time he’s failed to throw for triple-digit yardage in his illustrious career.
The Lords will try to bounce back this Saturday in their penultimate home game against the 3-3 College of Wooster at noon.