American Football Postmatch Report: Nottingham Trent Renegades 28-0 Nottingham Outlaws
5th February 2013
This season’s varsity opener saw the Trent Renegades steamroll the Nottingham Outlaws at the Harvey Haddon Stadium on a nippy Friday night. The Trent offense were rampant and the Outlaws lost concentration in the second half as they slipped to a fourth consecutive Varsity American Football loss, a fourth league loss this year and, ultimately, the end of their season.
The Renegades started fast and never really let up. After winning the toss and electing to receive the ball first, game MVP, quarterback Danny Miller started steadily moving the chains thanks, largely, to Trent’s double speared running attack in the form of Miller himself and powerful running back Leonardo Glasgow. Aided by a personal foul from the Outlaws, Miller eventually capped off the opening drive with a touchdown, running into the endzone untouched to conclude a possession that had taken up most of the 1st quarter and didn’t include a single pass play. The Outlaws responded with a gutsy drive including powerful runs from Dan Levett and very intelligent play from QB Luca Rossoni. However, after deciding to gamble on 4th down deep in Renegades territory, going for a first down as opposed to taking a field goal, the Outlaws turned the ball over as a Levett run came up just short of the 1st down marker.
The Outlaws defence successfully stifled the Renegades offense on the following possession which allowed the Outlaws offense to return to the field. A combination of Luca Rossoni and ill-discipline from the Trent defence meant that the Outlaws quickly found themselves on the 2 yard line. Sadly, in what proved to be the game’s turning point, RB Dan Levett fumbled the football and the Renegades were able to recover. Incidentally, this play was reminiscent of last year’s Varsity match-up when Henri Dinger’s pass was fumbled into the endzone and the result would eventually prove to be the same. The Renegades made the Outlaws pay for that turnover as they promptly marched down the field. That drive culminated in Miller throwing a perfect pass on the move and under pressure to tight end Rob ‘Gronk’ Cartwright in the endzone for the Renegades’ second touchdown of the game just inside the 2 minute warning. Although the subsequent 2-point attempt failed, a quick, ineffective drive from the Outlaws ensured that the Trent Renegades had a deserved 13-0 lead at the half.
Half time couldn’t come quickly enough for the Outlaws, but judging by their second half performance, the players must have been watching the cheerleaders instead of listening to their coaches. When Sachin spoke to one of the Outlaws coaches at halftime, it became clearly apparent that the Uni gameplan was coming undone.
The offense received the ball to start the second period and were given a lucky break after a quick 3-and-out, with confusion over a blocked punt leading to an Outlaws first down. They failed to capitalise however, as possession was consequently squandered and the ball given back to the Renegades who marched down the field again with no real resistance from an over-matched University of Nottingham defence. Danny Miller, who was beginning to get into the swing of things through the air as well as on foot, duly finished off the drive with a 4 yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown. After making amends for their previous failure on a 2-point conversion, the Renegades had a seemingly unassailable 21-0 lead entering the 4th quarter.
The Outlaws heads had dropped by this point and the game threatened to become a cricket score. Things then went from bad to worse for the Outlaws as the snappers began making mistakes and Rossoni started throwing even more erratically. They changed things up by bringing in back-up QB Peter Cotteril, but even with tricks like a fake punt the Outlaws just couldn’t get a first down and Cotteril eventually threw an interception to Renegades’ Liam Reynolds. The game ended with another brilliant 20 yard run from Danny Miller who picked up his 3rd rushing touchdown of the day to compound the misery of the Nottingham Outlaws. Miller must have thought he was on an episode of Supermarket Sweep not playing a game of American Football because nobody appeared interested in tackling him.
All in all it was a fairly dire performance from the Outlaws who did look positive early in the game but didn’t have much substance about them. The lost fumble on Trent’s 2-yard line with the score at 7-0 proved pivotal and the Outlaws never truly recovered from this mistake. The Renegades did rely heavily on Danny Miller but strong receivers such as Rob Cartwright and a fantastic defence, who had an answer to almost everything the Outlaws threw at them, complemented the American nicely. This game signalled the end of the season as a competitive outfit for the Outlaws with only a couple of formalities of games left and they went out with a squeak more than a bang. Credit must be given to the Trent Renegades however, who not only go 1-0 up in the Varsity series but also have a legitimate shot at making the play-offs in the BUCS American Football league thanks to this win.
Uni’s offensive coordinator admitted that the Outlaws had lacked concentration when we caught up with him after the final whistle.
Trent QB Danny Miller was rightly pleased with his performance and expressed his pride in the performance the Renegades put up in front of their fans.
Meanwhile, Outlaws QB Luca Rossoni had to face up to yet another defeat for Uni in this fixture, and said that the focus was now on bedding in the rookie players to prepare them for next season’s campaign.
Up next for the Varsity series is Men’s and Women’s Basketball at Trent FM Arena on the 11th Febuary 2013 and the University of Nottingham will be looking to kick-start their Varsity campaign with a pair of victories. Sachin previewed the upcoming fixtures with AU Officer Jonny Bell.
American Football at Harvey Haddon Sports Centre
Final Score NTU Renegades 28-0 UoN Outlaws
Sachin Gosai, Luke Baker and Michael Gaffney