Dec. 5, 2009

By Ryan Voyles
Special to

Sometimes the best defense is simply a good offense.

Visiting William and Mary kept Southern Illinois’ offense sidelined through the bulk of the second half on the way a 24-7 upset of the No. 3 seed Salukis in a Division I Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinal at McAndrew Stadium.

 “We controlled the ball, we ran the ball,” head coach Jimmye Laycock said. “Jonathan Grimes did a great job of running the football. Our offensive line was very solid. Everybody did what they needed to do to win this game.”

The Tribe (11-2) dominated on defense when they got the chance, limiting the Salukis to only 187 yards of total offense. But it was the offense that controlled the ball throughout the game, preventing the Southern Illinois from getting even a whiff of the field.

After holding the ball for only four minutes in the first quarter, William and Mary maintained possession for nearly 32 of the final 45 minutes of regulation.

SIU coach Dale Lennon said the Tribe did everything right to control the tempo of the game, especially in the second half.

“What we needed to do offensively was control the tempo the best we could, and we probably kept our defense on the field too long, especially in the second half,” he said.

“You just can’t have that. You just need to control the clock a little bit and give your defense a break.

“In the second half – they took advantage of everything and … were quick to slam the door on us.”

The Tribe  managed just two offensive yards in the first quarter, began seize the advantage on their second possession of the second quarter.

Quarterback R.J. Archer, who did not complete a pass in the first quarter, completed 8-of-12 passes for 119 yards, while Grimes, who finished with 133 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown in the period.

But it took some trickery for the Tribe to finally wrangle the tempo from the Salukis.
William and Mary faced a fourth-and-five on the Salukis 45-yard line. But instead of punting, David Miller took the snap and rushed it to the right side 12 yards for a first down and setting up the go-ahead score.

Miller said he noticed in film how the Saluki players left early on the right side.

“I’ve seen on tape a lot of time how they leave early,” Miller said. “I was just told before the play—if the space is there then take it. And everybody just left so I took it.”

In the third quarter, William and Mary took 8:26 off the clock with a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive capped off by Grimes’ seven-yard touchdown run.

SIU linebacker Brandin Jordan said he kept telling his teammates that all they needed was one single break to go their way.

“I was just telling my guys, ‘come on, have some heart out there,’ “ he said.  “All it takes is one forced fumble then one guy takes it back the opposite way for a touchdown, but none of our guys were able to get that break today.”

The Tribe ensured there would be no fourth quarter miracle as they controlled the clock for 13:40. Grimes remained the team’s workhorse, with 11 carries for 45 yards in the period.

Laycock said his entire offense is based upon ball control, and they executed it perfectly on Saturday.

“I just wanted to play our game,” Laycock said. “And our game is more of a ball-control, controlling the clock, possession type of game. That is who we are this year. So that part was big, but it was really just us playing our game.”