Redhawks offensive line struggles against Missouri
Southeast football’s struggles on the road continued against state opponent Missouri as the Redhawks took a 50-0 thumping from the Tigers on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The score was 37-0 at halftime.
“We have got to get better on offense, and I think it starts up front,” Southeast coach Tom Matukewicz said following the game. “There’s no quick fix, you just got to go get better.”
Southeast failed to break 100 yards on offense, capping out at 94. Saturday night’s defeat marked the first time Southeast was shutout since the Redhawks took a 59-0 loss to Purdue in 2011.
With Missouri being part of the uber-competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC) of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the matchup was a daunting one for Southeast, who belongs to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
With a FCS team squaring up against a FBS team, the risk of injury can be even higher than a normal matchup.
Senior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina and senior wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson both came out of the game in the second half after being examined by a team trainer at halftime. If needed, Matukewicz said both could have played again.
Struggling to create offense, the Redhawks were forced to punt 14 times, setting a school-record for junior punter Jake Reynolds. The previous record was also held by Reynolds from last season’s 28-14 win over Stony Brook in the FCS playoffs, where he punted 11 times.
Much of the second half saw play from the Redhawks’ second team as starters moved to the bench for the remainder of the game. Thought th eRedhawks were defeated, Matukewicz said the game was beneficial in that it gave some younger players time on the field.
“The biggest thing is, we got to play a lot of guys,” Matukewicz said. “I think a lot of our young guys did a nice job.”
Missouri took no time getting down the field to start the game, stringing together a series of big rushes that resulted in a 3-yard touchdown run by Larry Rountree just three minutes into the game.
When Southeast received the ball for the first time, Missouri’s defensive line proved too much for the Redhawks to handle. Missouri’s front seven swallowed a rushing attempt, sacked Santacaterina and pressured him into throwing a 27-yard pick-six less than a minute after the Tigers’ first score.
“Their front seven is as good as it gets, we couldn’t block them,” Matukewicz said.
Missouri’s strong defensive line play would prove to be a theme throughout the matchup.
Southeast allowed Missouri to check all the boxes in the first quarter as the Tigers’ offense, defense and special teams scored in the opening period to go up 27-0 through fifteen minutes of play.
Another Tiger touchdown and field goal, and Missouri went into halftime with a 37-0 lead over Southeast in its 500th game at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.
In the second half, Southeast allowed just 13 points with the backups at the helm.
Southeast will look to reset following the shutout as they face West Virginia State at home Saturday, Sept. 21.