Beef beat by 'Riders: Caps up next

04/09/03 NIFL Fan Article by Andrew Hoyle

There was a lot of head scratching and disbelief amongst the Omaha Beef faithful at the end of Saturday night's game against the Bismarck Roughriders. The scoreboard read Roughriders 39, Beef 38. It marked the first time the Beef had lost at home since the 2001 IPFL championship game against the Tennessee Thundercats. 4,164 Beef fans left the Slaughterhouse knowing some things went well, some things didn't, and some things were just confounding.

Despite having Roughrider LB Danielle Rollins-Kendall keying on him for the entire game, Beef RB Clinton Childs had a solid game both rushing and receiving (22 att, 74 yds, 3.4 avg, 3 rec, 14 yds). He wasn't able to get loose for a big gain, but KR Steve Lovell sure was. He had three kick-off returns for 94 yards, including a 54 yard return for a touchdown. He also had one missed field goal return for 25 yards, giving him 119 total return yards on the night. Kicking to Lovell isn't the smartest thing to do, but it's not like there's a choice; the other kick returner, Tyrone "The Time Bomb" Tyler had three kick returns for 52 yards, with a long of 21 yards, on the night. Either kick returner is a threat to go deep on any given play. On defense, LB Abrian Stovall had a spectacular game (3 solo, 7 asst, 6.5 total, 3 tfl for -13 yds, 1 sack for -10 yds), wreaking havoc all over the field. DB Dontae Jones also turned in a noteworthy performance with 2 INTS on the night.
The good didn't outweigh the bad or mediocre, though, as much-heralded K Chase Long made only three of six field goal attempts on the night (made: 32, 17, 34; missed: 52, 49, 36). He's now 6 of 12 on the season in field goal attempts, and 8 of 10 on point after tries. QB Troy Travis didn't have a breakout game, either (19 att, 9 comp, 0 int, 103 yds, 2 sacks, 3 car, 18 yds, 6.0 avg), throwing high and away on most of his incompletions, but he didn't have any interceptions to his credit, either. DL Dwayne Harris had a good game (6 solo, 4 asst, 8.0 total, 4 tfl for -15 yds, 1 sack for -10 yds); good for anybody but him. It was a definite surprise to Beef fans that he didn't get to Roughriders QB Chris Schwab more often, especially since he wasn't double-teamed or chip-blocked for much of the game.

Under the heading of just plain confounding was Omaha's reversal of fortune during the third quarter. Leading 30-26 with a first and goal at the Bismarck three yard line, Omaha was looking to blow the game wide open. Travis pitched the ball to Childs, who was immediately gang-tackled in the backfield. Instead of cutting his losses there, he opted to pitch the ball back to an open Travis. Problem was, Travis wasn't looking for it. Bismarck's Ronnie Kaymore was, though; he picked it up and rumbled 36 yards the other way for a Roughrider touchdown. File that one under "Don't try it at home."
Equally as confusing is the new regime's apparent need to have promotional giveaways during the game. I'm not talking about at halftime, in between quarters, or during radio timeouts; I'm talking about between plays during the game. While the Noddles are trying to create a more fun and family-oriented environment, disrupting the team's momentum and flow of the game is not the way to endear die-hard fans, players and coaches to their cause. Do us all a favor, guys, and keep Ed McMahon Jr. and her prize patrol off the field during the game. I would gladly trade a couple of free hot dogs for a well-timed touchdown.

Up next for the Beef is a game at the Lincoln Capitols. It will be another chance for the Beef offense to show its stuff; the Capitol defense is allowing 265 yards a game total offense, 100.5 rushing and 164.5 passing, while the Capitol offense is averaging only 219.5 yards a game, 64 yards on the ground and 155.5 through the air. All the stats go flying out the window when these two divisional rivals meet, however; there's definitely a lot of bad blood between these two teams. With former Capitols Chase Long and Tyrone Tyler having defected to the Beef, and Lincoln having already lost one game in the division, look for both these teams to give it their all. The Beef will be looking to play a complete game, having scored only 18 fourth quarter points so far this season, but Lincoln will be looking for a quick start right off the bat, trying to improve on only 14 first quarter points this season. The Capitols will have trouble running against the Beef defensive front (allowing only 1.6 yards per carry), so look for Capitols QB Justin Coleman (44 att, 21 comp, 3 int, 298 yds, 7 td, 149 yds/gm) to try and beat LaMar O'Neal and crew deep. Look for Omaha to put the pressure on Lincoln on third down, where Lincoln is only 3 of 16 (19%) on third down conversion this season. Special teams could once again play a big factor in this game; Omaha may not be happy with its kicking game right now, but it's certainly not as bad as Lincoln's; the Caps are 0 for 8 on field goal tries this season. Lincoln doesn’t have a sack yet this season; Omaha has five sacks for -40 yards.

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