The Big Blue Fail to Stay Perfect

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Dominique Bates, Sports Writer

After starting the season off 2-0, the Big Blue were looking to stay perfect as they faced off against the number 5 ranked team in the country, the North Central Cardinals, on Saturday.

As the Big Blue took the field at Frank M. Lindsay Field, they knew that this would be their toughest test of the season. They were about to battle against a top-ranked team while hunting for their first conference win.

The Cardinals had a perfect record heading into week 3, and the Big Blue were looking to hand them their first loss on Millikin’s home turf.

The Big Blue knew it wasn’t going to be easy, as they were set to battle in temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, thus issuing the CCIW Heat Protocol, meaning there was a mandatory five minute water break halfway through each quarter. During those breaks, because the temperature on the field was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, all of the players were required to take their helmets off as well. If they wanted to win the game, they were going to have to stop the Cardinals’ high powered offense early and make sure fatigue didn’t set in.

Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened.

The Cards’ offense proved to be too much for the Big Blue. They struck first and never looked back.

The Cardinals put up 34 unanswered points in the first half.

Nothing seemed to go right for the Big Blue. They struggled on offense, defense, and special teams.  Perhaps the defining moment of the game was a punt by Wyatt Fox. Fox pinned North Central deep in their own territory, but several missed tackles led to the Cardinals’ offense starting on the Big Blue’s four yard line,leading to an easy touchdown for the Cardinals. Coach Dan Gritti believes that this one play doomed the Big Blue.

“The game ended with the punt return to our 4 yard line in the second quarter,” Gritti said. “We had a great punt by Wyatt Fox and then proceeded to miss 7 tackles so we went from pinning them at their to 35 to defending 1st and goal from our 4.”

The Big Blue moved the ball well but just couldn’t punch it in the end zone. However, the Big Blue did add on a score late in the second quarter.

At the half, Millikin trailed 41-7 at the half.

When the Big Blue came back onto the field in the second half, they were a completely different team. They were finally able to score, as they went on to score two more touchdowns. They also held the Cardinals’ offense to only one touchdown and a field goal. But the deficit was too large to be overcome.

The Cardinals went on to win 51-21, and had 523 total yards of offense.

The Big Blue are now 2-1, and 0-1 in conference play.

Millikin will face off against the North Park Vikings this Saturday, September 30 in Chicago.