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College football: Shaky third hurts Canyons

Outscored 28-11 in game’s second half

Posted: September 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

A big second half for Desert College of Palm Desert was too much for the Cougars to overcome, as COC lost its third straight game to open the season.

The Roadrunners’ Nephi Garcia torched the Cougars on the ground, rushing for 204 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns, as Desert raked up 300 yards on the ground as a team.

“They ran for 300 yards on us, so what do you do defensively,” said Canyons head coach Garett Tujague. “The basic premise of this game is simple: block, catch, tackle. If somebody runs for 300 yards on you, you’re probably not tackling.”

The Cougars offense, on the other hand, was finding room to manuever, as COC managed 29 first downs and 439 yards of total offense.

But turnovers killed them on Saturday night, as quarterback Ryan Kasdorf finished 23-of-43 for 309 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.

“There were six turnovers, four of which were in critical down situations, and that’s tough to overcome that, and to leave the defense on the field that much,” Tujague said.

The Cougars (0-3) entered the half down  just 20-19, but consecutive turnovers early in the third quarter led to 14 points for Desert to open up a 34-19 lead with 6:55 to go in the third.

The Cougars fell behind by 25 points in the fourth, but a 3-yard touchdown run by Rasheed Woodward-Johnson cut the score to 48-30 and COC recovered the ensuing onside kick with 6:26 remaining.

They moved the ball down to the Desert 17-yard line with a chance to make it a two-score game, but turned the ball over on downs.

“Very frustrating,” Tujague said of the game. “I’m sitting here on the sideline asking myself, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ Trying to figure it out.”

But an 0-3 start isn’t going to cause the Cougars, who still have seven games remaining, to panic.

“We have seven games left, six of which are mission critical (because they are in conference play). We win those games, which is the plan, we’ll be a top team in the playoffs.

For now, it’s simply about getting back to basics.

“Guys are in the right position to make plays. They’re just not making them. What do you do? You go back to the blocking, you go back to the tackling, back to low football like you did back at the park when your 9years old,” Tujague said.”

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