Mustangs Stampede from Behind to First Victory
The Milwaukee Mustangs (1-3) chalked up their first win against a rested Philadelphia Soul (1-2) who had an extra week of rest due to their bye last week. Milwaukee won with a touchdown to Duane Eley Jr. as time expired followed by the successful point after attempt by Garrett Lindholm to make the final score 51-49.
The Mustangs stuck with R.J. Archer at quarterback. Archer, a rookie from Texas A&M, came in at the start of the second half last week and put up some pretty impressive numbers to earn him the start this week. “[Archer] stayed in there had a little slow start and all of a sudden second half just started flying, doing exactly what we talked about,” Coach Bob Landsee said.
Once again, Mustangs special teams started off poorly by not handling the opening kickoff. Philadelphia’s Brandon Perkins recovered the kick off the net and ran it in for a touchdown and before the game started the Mustangs were down by seven. On the second drive Archer started off on target completing his first two passes then could not connect on three of his next four attempts, turning the ball over on downs.
Milwaukee has been a much better second half team this season and this was no exception. The Soul led at the half with the score 40-24. The Mustangs outscored the Soul 26-9 in the second half, allowing only a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter and a defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs took the lead for the first time in the game with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter. Following the kickoff Soul quarterback Justin Algood was sacked by Dayon Benson and forced a fumble which was recovered at the 2 yard line by Kelvin Rogers. The very next play Archer fumbled and the ball was recovered by Soul lineman Jerome Hayes who returned the fumble for a touchdown.
“The snap might have been a little rushed,” Archer said. “I thought it was OK, I put the ball in I thought it was good and started to boot away to carry out my fake, the next thing I knew I heard the crowd and turned around and saw the guy running down the field.”
Milwaukee managed the clock well as they drove down the field with time running out. With a fourth down and one second on the clock the Mustangs called a timeout followed by a Soul time out. Archer dropped back, scrambled a bit and eventually found Eley in the front of the end zone.
"That was drawn up for [Eley] a little bit. He had the hot hand,“ Archer stated.“ He just ran a drag route across the end zone and beat his man. He had been beating him all day. It felt like everything was in slow motion and I had all day. He made a great catch."
"Basically, I just ran a crossing route, “commented Eley on the catch. “I saw that R.J. was under a little bit of pressure so I made sure I came back to the front of the end zone. R.J. made a great throw."
The Mustangs have a bye week next week and head to Dallas to take on the Vigilante on April 15th at 7:00pm.
Offense – B+ The Mustangs had a very good game offensively. Archer had a bit of a slow start but by the second half had things dialed in. Ernest Smith had a big game with eleven catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Duane Eley Jr. came up with some very big plays including the winning touchdown.
Defense – A- The Mustangs defense really stepped it up. They made a few penalties but coach Cedric Walker has turned this defense around in the past week. Late in the fourth quarter they held the Soul for nine plays in the red-zone and the Soul ended up with only a missed field goal to show for it. When this young defense can avoid penalties they are force to be reckoned with.
Special Teams – C Again special teams seems to be Milwaukee Achilles heel. The opening kickoff miscue gave the Soul a seven point lead before the game even started. Garrett Lindholm had another missed extra point as well. Fortunately the Mustangs were able to overcome these mistakes, but it would make it much easier to win if they were not made in the first place.