1.Control the ball
Over the last two games the Manual offense committed eight turnovers against Trinity and St. X. Also throughout the last two games, and at times throughout the entire season, the offense has had trouble moving the ball, which has resulted an abundance of short drives that put the defense back on the field. This eventually tires out the defense and gives the opposing team’s offense another chance to score. Against Male’s high-powered offense, the defense simply can’t afford to be on the field for majority of the game. To prevent this from happening, the Manual offense will have to do whatever it can to prolong drives and not turn the ball over. If Manual can control time of possession then the Crimsons will have a greatly increased chance of winning.
2. Non-offensive points
With Manual’s inconsistent offense going up against a top three defense in Male, the special teams and defense will have to step up and either score points or put the offense in a good position to score. Manual has the number one defense in the state according to the Courier-Journal; however, Manual’s defense has only forced 11 turnovers during the course of the season, which is 1.38 turnovers per game, and the special teams only have one return touchdown on the season. For Manual to win the game, the defense and/or the special teams will need to score or put the offense in good field position. All year, Manual’s defense has taken advantage of teams with poor field position, forcing six safeties over the course of the year. If there are opportunities where Male has the ball inside their own ten, the Crimson defense must look to capitalize on their poor field position by playing more aggressively to try either forcing a turnover or a safety. A turnover would give the offense a short field and highly increase their chances to score while a safety would give the Crimsons two points and the ball back.
3. Offensive Line
Throughout the year Manual’s offensive line has been extremely inconsistent. In the last two weeks; however, the offensive line has not performed well, leaving quarterback Tim Comstock (11,#3) to essentially run for his life, and for the run game to be nonexistent. For Manual to move the ball consistently against Male, the offensive line will need to open up running lanes for the running backs and give Comstock time to throw the ball.
X-Factor: Tim Comstock
Even if the offensive line is able to give quarterback Tim Comstock (11,#3) time on Friday, Comstock will need to be able to throw the ball efficiently. Over the course of the year Comstock’s play has been up and down. Comstock has only completed 52.9 percent of his passes this season (according to Maxpreps), which is below average. Comstock threw five interceptions in the past two weeks against Trinity and St. X. Comstock also has shown that he has the ability to play well, throwing 12-22 for 191 yards against PRP. Comstock will have to play to the best of his ability for Manual to come out with a victory in The Old Rivalry, Friday night at 7:30 pm at Male.