May 25, 2014 by Simon Pollock in Preview with 0 comments
Only one team will wear light blue tomorrow when two regional powerhouses meet in the quarterfinals. Wisconsin and UNC, two big squads that can reach deep into their benches for top level talent and high energy defense, will look to out-huck and out-play each other early tomorrow morning.
Both contenders rested their starters in their last round of pool play. Upsetting Texas and taking the one-seed, UNC was able to rest stars Christian Johnson and Jon Nethercutt in their last game in Pool C against Florida State. Wisconsin also sat their stars against Harvard Red Line, losing as well by a very small margin. The difference-maker? UNC rested easy this afternoon, and Wisconsin had to trot out their full team in a prequarters matchup against Carleton CUT.
The game wasn’t close — the Hodags smothered CUT’s backfield and generated easy turns and conversions to win the game 15-7, but they still had to play one more game. Historically, teams with a bye into quarters have almost always reached the semifinals.
Battle of Disciplines
Darkside and the Hodags have both left their mark on opponents playing extremely tight man-to-man defense. The teams have had advantages against other opponents in height and speed and both are able to look to lesser-known role players for big defensive assignments and stops. They also have unmistakable all-stars.
Colin Camp certainly drew the attention needed from the CUT defense in prequarters, even if it was actually a large Hodag cast that put together the scores and assists. Jon Nethercutt has also left his mark on the weekend, running the Darkside backfield and continuing to create matchup problems for UNC’s opponents.
Each of these teams will look to get their stars open quickly and score efficiently to avoid long man-defense points, and we may very well see more creative marking schemes to disrupt the pull plays that both sides have in place to score easily.
This game may very well come down to who runs harder, for longer.