Rants and Raves: Marauders struggle offensively but defense shows up in 17-7 loss to CSP
It was a good defensive performance but not a dominant one by the University of Mary in Saturday’s 17-7 loss to Concordia, St. Paul at the MDU Resources Community Bowl. The Marauders held the Golden Bears to 337 yards of total offense, which was about 21 yards less than their season average. CSP’s 17 points were also the fewest UMary has given up since 14 points to St. Cloud State in the 2018 season-opener. However, it was the Marauders offense that couldn’t find success. Here are the rants and raves from UMary’s seventh game of the season.
Rant: Coming into this game, UMary had been averaging 268.1 yards per game. But something was different about this game. CSP held UMary to just 150 yards of total offense as the Marauders never had more than 30 yards on a drive. More than half of UMary’s drives ended in three-and-outs (every single one but two in the second half). I didn’t get to watch the game but I did listen to it and I’m not sure if Homecoming weekend had any implications on the Marauders offensive struggles but Jason Hoekstra didn’t look like himself. Maybe I should take that back. He looked like a freshman. He played a level above what he was capable of in his first four starts but took a step back against the Golden Bears. Hoekstra finished 6 of 19 for 86 yards and an interception. He was also sacked four times (this is important for later).
Rave: Sophomore defensive back Jarad Zittleman is a defensive playmaker and he’s making an impact not with is interceptions but with a nose for hitting people. Zittelman had 18 total tackles against CSP, which included 11 solo tackles. It was a breakout performance for the Mandan, N.D., native as he mustard up just a season-high six tackles before entering the Northern Sun Intercollegiate North vs. South dual. Peep this video from 2017 when Zittleman (#24) laid a good hit on a Minnesota State Mankato running back.
It’ll be interesting to see how Zittleman grows as it looks like he’s already begun to continue the Zittleman legacy at UMary. Jarad’s brother, Brady was an important piece to the Marauders defense in the last few years and graduated in 2017.
Rant: UMary can’t survive another season without its top two quarterbacks. So, the Marauders offensive line has to step it up a notch from here on out. Hoekstra seems to be finding less time every drop back as UMary signal callers have been sacked 13 times in their last four games. Seven of the Marauders 12 offensive linemen are underclassmen, so I understand that there’s a learning curve for some of them but move your feet and stay in somebody’s way until Hoekstra can release the football. Now some of this rant can fall on Hoekstra for holding onto the football for too long. Those big bodies up front can’t hold their blocks forever but they are capable of working together.
Rave: On the flip side, UMary’s defensive line looked solid against the Golden Bears. The Marauders finished tied with a season-high three sacks and held CSP’s Dom McKinzy to zero passing touchdowns for just the second time all season. Junior Danial Hudrlik led all linemen with eight tackles. The theme for UMary is youth. Everyone knew that coming into the season. However, these underclassmen are performing every Saturday but as they gain more confidence, the level of play should increase to a higher lever.