Northwestern turned two first-half turnovers into touchdowns and romped to a 59-0 shellacking of Irmo on Friday. The Trojans (2-1) squashed the Yellow Jackets despite quarterback Gage Moloney being knocked around in the second quarter, its defense spawning a pass rush that pummeled Irmo’s Mason Smith.
Irmo (0-2) fought Northwestern after a first-quarter field goal, but an injury to Ronnie Jamison derailed the Jackets’ offense. Smith’s holes in the zone-read disappeared and his receivers couldn’t get open, and when Irmo could barely approach Northwestern territory, the Trojans took over.
Northwestern’s Air Raid offense, keyed by the two second-quarter turnovers-to-touchdowns, soared past the deflated Jackets after halftime. The Trojans ended with 268 rushing yards and 202 passing.
Irmo had a chance to get back in the game when Moloney was rung up in the second quarter, but a heave downfield was turned into a tipped-ball 56-yard interception return to make it 17-0. Then with less than 10 seconds to go in the half, Irmo punted, the snap was muffed and Austin Cates tried to throw the ball away. Logan Rudolph snatched it and rumbled for another touchdown.
Gage Moloney: Northwestern’s junior quarterback was 13-of-22 for 131 yards with two touchdowns.
Jerry Howard: The Trojans’ bruising tailback rushed for 114 yards on 16 carries with a score.
Mason Smith: Irmo’s quarterback stayed in under pressure, completing 22 of 42 passes for 173 yards with an interception, and rushing 16 times for 37 yards.
Removing Ronnie: Irmo looked like it could hang with the Trojans until Jamison hurt an ankle. Jamison tried to come back but every tackle aggravated the injury, and when he was put in on a fourth-and-short while trailing 45-0 in the fourth, Jamison appeared to hurt his knee.
Air Raid finds some legs: The Trojans’ high-flying offense, which spawned Justin Worley and Mason Rudolph, is getting great ground production from Jerry Howard (114 yards) and Dequez Harris (56 yards).
Jackets can get some buzz: Irmo played well in the first quarter. If Smith can run the zone-read effectively, the Yellow Jackets can win a few.
THEY SAID IT
“We forced them to play one more snap. There were only seven seconds left but that was a big play for us.” – Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson on the punt return for a TD.
“Those are both 200-pound backs. They’re tough to bring down. It’s really something that we haven’t had, so we’re learning how to fit them into our system.” – Richardson on his tailbacks.
“The wheels came off in the second quarter and we couldn’t get them back on. We just had so many bad things happen to us back to back to back.” – Irmo coach Reggie Kennedy.
THREE KEY NUMBERS
1/0: Irmo possessions in the red zone/points scored. A 22-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
15: Jersey number of Moloney, who’s bidding to become the next highl-rated Trojans QB. The Tebow comparisons began early.
91/228: Irmo’s first-quarter yards compared to its total yardage.
HOW THEY SCORED
N -- Thomas Gettys 24 FG, 5:27
N -- Grant Kirk 18 pass from Gage Moloney (Gettys kick), 11:09
N – D.J. Williams 56 INT return (Gettys kick), 2:00
N – Logan Rudolph 28 INT return (Gettys kick), 07.3
N – Jerry Howard 3 run (Gettys kick), 9:31
N – Cory McCoy 5 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick), 7:33
N – Dequez Harris 1 run (Gettys kick), 2:29
N – Brandon Ashley 9 run (Gettys kick), 11:12
N – Will Hagood 5 run (Karrington Prioleau kick), 3:21
Rushing: NORTHWESTERN – Jerry Howard 16-144, Gage Moloney 3-18, Dequez Harris 8-56, Brandon Ashley 4-44, Malik Hinton 4-31, Will Hagood 3-5. IRMO – Ronnie Jamison 2-5, Shakeem Bradley 7-21, Mason Smith 16-37, Aaron Vella 2-1.
Passing: NORTHWESTERN – Moloney 13-22-0; Hagood 2-3-0. IRMO – Mason Smith 22-42-1, Austin Cates 0-1-1.
Receiving: NORTHWESTERN – Tyler Morgan 1-(-2), Grant Kirk 4-89, Jordan Starkes 3-72, Logan Rudolph 1-4, Julian Shockley 3-26, Howard 1-1, Cory McCoy 1-5, Alex Parker 1-7. IRMO – Bradley 4-9, Jamison 5-26, Brandon Love 1-13, Bruce Sumter 2-10, Raekwon Heath 6-88, Jeffery Tharp 2-16, Vella 2-11.