Blazers scrape past ‘Runners


Max Aguirre

The Roadrunners (2-4, 1-2) took on the 4-1 Alabama at Birmingham Blazers (5-1, 2-1) in their sixth game of the season. During the first quarter, the ‘Runners struggled to put together any momentum. The ‘Runners relied on their defense to come up with a crucial stop near their goal line after the ‘Runners first possession gained only two yards. The Blazers were able to score a field goal on their first possession largely due to several missed tackles by ‘Runner defenders. After the field goal, the ‘Runners quarterback Lowell Narcisse fumbled the ball while trying to pick up a first down. At this point in the game, he had attempted more rushes than passes (six rushes to four passes). The Blazers were quick to adjust to his scrambles, and stopped the next ‘Runner possession. 12 seconds later, the Blazers found themselves in the end zone after a 67-yard touchdown pass. The ‘Runners quickly countered with a scoring drive of their own, leaning on the rushing efforts of both Narcisse and running back Sincere McCormick, who ended the drive with a touchdown, making the score 10-7. The ‘Runners were unable to score again in the second quarter, and gave up two field goals before the break, making it 16-7 at halftime. 

The ‘Runners opened up the half with a big defensive three-and-out, giving the ball back to the offense almost immediately. The offense was once again not able to do much. A potential touchdown pass from Narcisse to wide receiver Tariq Woolen was dropped, leading to another punt. Luckily for the ‘Runners, Blazer quarterback Tyler Johnston fumbled the ball on the next Blazer possession, setting the offense up at around midfield. After a slow march to the end zone, the ‘Runners were able to score on yet another quarterback scramble by Narcisse, making the score 16-14 with 8:57 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing Blazer possession, ‘Runner defense was on the verge of getting their opponent off the field again, but a costly roughing the kicker call gave the Blazers a fresh opportunity. Two deep passes later, they were in the end zone and reestablished their lead: 23-14. The ‘Runners made another big mistake early in the fourth quarter, committing an offsides penalty on a botched the Blazer field goal attempt. This gave the Blazers a second chance at a field goal, and kicker Nick Vogel made it 26-14. At this point, the game looked out of reach for the ‘Runners. The offense was as stagnant as ever, and the defense struggled to contain the Blazer offense. ‘Runner fans slowly began to trickle out of the Alamodome, and the ‘Runners fell 33-14 nine minutes later.