Centre Football: Colonels set for physical contest with Millsaps
Centre College quarterback Heath Haden (12) has thrown for 839 yards and eight touchdowns and has rushed for 250 yards and two scores going into Saturday¿s game with Millsaps. (Clay Jackson / September 28, 2012)
“It will always be an aggressive football game, and really in all three phases it will come down to how well each team plays,”¿Frye said. “I”m excited to play them because they’re playing the same kind of schedule we’re playing. The three teams we’ve beaten, other than Washington &¿Lee (a loss), are teams we hope we can beat, and they look at it the same way.
“Those teams weren’t the same caliber as Millsaps. This is the kind of game we’re going to have to play well to win.”
Millsaps (3-0) comes in averaging 44 points and 477 yards per game. And the Majors have balance, getting 223 yards per game on the ground and 254 through the air.
“I’m impressed with their skill kids, they can make plays,”¿Frye said. “Their quarterback has got a nice arm, he does a good job of finding his receivers. But they also have good skill at the running back position.”
Millsaps quarterback Garrett Pinciotti is 50 for 80 for 704 yards, nine touchdowns and has not thrown an interception this season. His favorite targets have been Keegan Joplin, who has 19 catches for 229 yards and five touchdowns, and Trevor King, who has seven grabs for 162 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, Mike Barthelemy has rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns, and Taz Watson has 116 yards and two touchdowns.
The Majors present a good challenge for a Centre defense that is allowing 25 points and 394 yards per game and has forced 10 turnovers.
“I think the big thing we’ve got to do defensively is execute what we’re going to use against Millsaps,”¿Frye said. “The quarterback is a kid where you can’t give him time. If he has time, he’ll find the open receiver, so we’ve got to be able to put pressure on him from our four-man rush. And I think we’ve got to tackle well, they’re good in open space.”
As good as the Majors’ offense has been, the defense has been just as strong, giving up just 17 points and 309 yards per game.
Zach Bell, a 6-foot, 220-pound lineman, has 18 tackles, including 6 1/2 for loss, with four sacks and has forced two fumbles. Joiner Stewart, a 5-11, 239-pounder, has 3 1/2 sacks and five tackles for loss.
“Defensively, they’re real good up front, they’re just a good football team,”¿Frye said.
After a 35-23 win over Kalamazoo last week, Centre’s offense is putting up 36 points and 439 yards per game.
Sophomore quarterback Heath Haden has gone 61 for 102 for 839 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions, and he has rushed for 250 yards and two scores.
Frye said his young quarterback just needs to keep playing the way he’s been playing.
“I”m looking to Heath to control the football, let’s secure it and makes plays like I know he’s capable of playing,”¿the Centre coach said. “He’s got a great team and great wideouts and he needs to manage the offense the way it’s supposed to be managed.”
Rob Melillo has 19 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns, and Jason Osterman has 16 catches for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Monte Scotton has rushed for 298 yards and five touchdowns to lead a Centre ground game that averages 225 yards a game.
Saturday’s contest is the inaugural game for both teams in the Southern Athletic Association. And while it is a conference game, Frye said it’s always more than that.
“We’ve been playing each other so long, we don’t look at it as an SAA¿thing,”¿Frye said. “We kind of look at it as a situation where we’ve got to do what it takes make it happen¿(to win). I think we’re increasingly getting better, but at this point in the season, it’s not as huge as in the first two weeks.
“Now we’re just tightening up the things that need tightening up, things we can control and didn’t do a great job with. We can’t jump offsides, we’ve got to communicate our calls and we can’t have stupid penalties, things like that.”
Senior punter-kicker Jordan Gay was named the SAA¿special teams player of the week for his play in Centre’s 35-23 win over Kalamazoo last week. Gay, a Danville graduate, averaged 44.9 yards on eight punts, made all five of his extra points and scored his second career touchdown on a fake field-goal attempt in the third quarter.
Haden was named the SAA offensive player of the week for his play in Centre’s win. He was 16 for 31 for 189 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for 62 yards on 11 carries.