It was a long ride back from Shreveport and watching the game on DVR, I have a few thoughts. Here's a breakdown by positon of the team Sunday:
Quarterback - Chandler Harnish looked exactly like he was - a redshirt freshman. He definitely has the arm to succeed as our starting quarterback, but his accuracy just isn't there yet. Harnish both underthrew and overthrew passes to WR Willie Clark early in the game, each of which could have been scoring opportunities. On the fourth down in the first quarter, he didn't get the ball out fast enough to TE Reed Cunningham as the ball was tipped to the ground.
The 2 interceptions that Harnish threw certainly didn't help, especially the one in the redzone. Chandler definitely could have used longer time from the O-Line to throw the ball. The DeMarcus Grady experiment at QB didn't work at all during the 2 tries we put him in there. Everyone knows that he's gonna run the ball and we didn't fool anybody.
Running Backs/Fullbacks - Chad Spann had a nice game running the ball rushing for 79 yds with a 27 yarder late. He sure can break some tackles. Harnish could be put in the category of a running back, picking up 61 yds including a nice 17 yd scamper for a 1st down in the first quarter. Me'co Brown didn't get enough carries in my opinion, but I'm sure the coaching staff was thinking we needed a bigger back to go against La Tech's vaunted run D. FB Kyle Skarb had a nice grab for the only TD scored by NIU in this game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends - This is the most disappointing part of this game. The talk about the lack of talent at this position has been around all season, and this game exploited this weakness. La Tech has one of the worst pass defenses in the nation and we failed to take full advantage of this opportunity.
It hurt that Nate Palmer was injured for this game, but nobody else seemed like they really wanted to step up. Willie Clark was supposed to be the "Palmer Replacement" guy on the outside, but Harnish just couldn't get him the ball. Simon had some nice possession catches but that's about it. Seniors Greg Turner & Britt Davis both disappointed me with the final performances of their careers dropping balls throughout this game.
Offensive Line - The line has been average for most of the season, so I didn't expect anything more for this game. There weren't too many holes opening up for the running backs and Harnish got hit a few times. For what they were going against, I'd say they did a pretty good job. The offensive line has to get better if we want to be a much better team for next season. The competition needs to open up between the older players and the freshman that Kill is bringing in to build a more dominant line.
Defense -You have to hand it to the defense as they helped us stay in the game the entire time. We held La Tech to only 236 yds and recovered a fumble. SS Mike Sobol had a chance at an interception as a ball floated over to his area, but didn't execute on that. Good, solid play overall by everyone on the defense. They have been there to pick up our team all season as our offense has just been a mess.
Special Teams - This is the main point of the game where we didn't execute. Starting off with the early kickoff return by La Tech's Livas. Coach Kill and everybody else said before the game that we would never kick to him. That didn't end up happening who knows why. We couldn't take advantage of any punts, fumbling two by both Greg Turner and Me'co Brown.