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February 22, 2024

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Football loses to Northwestern

The Falcons football team fell to the Northwestern Wildcats 49-7 on Saturday night, as the team continues to struggle through a difficult string of nonconference opponents.

“We struggled to sustain a rhythm,” Falcons head coach Mike Jinks said. “I thought there were some situations to where we caught them in some substitutions that we could have got some cheap yards or some cheap first downs. We’ve got to be able to do those things and we’ve got to be able to see those.”

Northwestern kicked off the scoring with a touchdown run along with an extra point to begin the first quarter up 7-0. However, senior running back Josh Cleveland picked up what would to be the only Falcons touchdown with a 20 yard rush to tie the game up 7-7. Northwestern countered to regain the lead before the end of the half with a 58 yard passing touchdown to make it a 14-7 game.

From that point on, it was all Northwestern. They scored three more touchdowns in the second quarter, one passing and two more rushing, to go up 35-7. While both defenses shined in the third quarter, as neither team was able to get on the board, Northwestern came back to finish the game with two more rushing touchdowns, taking the 49-7 win.

The team feels the defense will have to play more disciplined, while at the same time, they need to make sure they have the right game plan for each opponent.

“We missed some tackles, and there’s not much that the defensive staff can do about those things,” Jinks said. “I’m willing to bet there’s some things that we could have done from a scheme point as well, so we’ve got to look at it and make sure we’re giving these guys a chance to be successful.”

The team also took a big positive away in the improvement of their running game, which had 96 yards on 30 attempts, gaining 3.2 yards a carry.

“We ran the ball better,” Jinks said. “That first drive (sophomore offensive lineman) Lorenzo (Taborn) got bull rushed a little bit, and then he kind of got settled down into the ball game, and then we were able to run the ball. I thought Josh Cleveland provided a spark. We need to continue to build on that and continue to commit to the run.”

However, the team knows the undisciplined play cannot continue and may have to make changes later in the season.

“We can’t have guys in there that aren’t being disciplined,” Jinks said. “We’ve got other players, we’ve got to put them on the football field.”

The team will next play Saturday night on the road against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.

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