After Homecoming, head coach Rich Ellerson said there were a lot of lessons to be learned from the loss. There certainly were. Saturday’s game proved, however, that he didn’t learn any of them. It’s true that this lead was only six points; it’s true Montana was given a hand-wrapped and personally addressed gift from the head referee on fourth and 13 to continue the game-winning drive; it’s true that Montana is certainly stiffer competition than South Dakota State … but forget all that!
The point is Rich Ellerson still relied way too heavily on his defense by stagnating an offense which had several sizable advantages over Montana defenders. Instead of taking some risks and attacking Montana’s vulnerabilities, the coach stuck to the most uninventive play-calling imaginable (and don’t write in talking about the throwback to the quarterback, that’s irrelevant). Couple that with his decision to keep a tenuous two point lead rather than give back a field goal for a second chance to score a touchdown late in the game after a Montana personal foul and Rich Ellerson’s offensive game planning was again so conservative as to make Jerry Falwell look like Michael Moore. I continue to support the team to the bitter end, and hopefully these two 1-AA losses by a combined two points will not be all too damning to the Mustangs’ playoff outlook, but the coach needs to wake up. In the playoffs, you go home even if lose by only a point!
Pat Goulding II
Aerospace engineering senior