On the first drive of the game, DEC took a huge risk by going for a first-down on 4th-and-10 from their own 15-yard-line. When wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit had his defender beat, it looked as if the gamble would pay off, but the usually sure-handed Zisquit let the pass slip through his hands.
The defense was unable to stop Ner Yaakov from scoring on that drive. In all, Ner Yaakov scored three times in the first half to take a 20-0 lead.
When they regained possession with just minutes before halftime, DEC was determined to send a message that they weren't just going to bow down to the defending Holyland Bowl champs. Though they were able to drive downfield, it appeared that the offense wouldn't put up any points on the board before halftime as a 4th-down pass fell incomplete. Fortunately, the offense was redeemed when a defensive penalty gave them an extra play. This time, quarterback Betzalel Gersten found wide-receiver Max Gornish in the end-zone to make the halftime score 20-6.
Zisquit intercepted a tipped pass on Ner Yaakov's first drive of the half, but the play was negated by a roughing-the-passer penalty. They eventually scored a touchdown on that possession to take a 28-6 lead.
On the next drive, the offense looked to have had enough of the physical and emotional abuse they had taken from Ner Yaakov and their fans, respectively. The game seemed to be over when DEC lined up to punt on 4th-and-20. The same was the case even after a 5-yard penalty against Ner Yaakov. But when Ner Yaakov incurred another 5-yard penalty on the next play, the offense decided to go for a first down on 4th-and-10. Gersten first connected with Zisquit to gain a 1st-down and then again for a touchdown, making it a 28-12 game.
The defense made a tall stand and quickly gave the ball back to the offense. Gersten led a drive that culminated in another touchdown pass to Zisquit. A successful extra-point attempt made the score 28-20.
With just a few minutes remaining in the game, the defense had to make a huge stop if the offense was going to get another shot at the end zone. Ner Yaakov advanced towards the end zone, but the defense survived a few incomplete passes that could have ended the game.
The offense took over with a minute remaining in the game. They demonstrated beautiful clock management by gaining quick clock-stopping first downs and were aided as well by some defensive penalties. After driving close to the goal line, there was only time for one more play. Ner Yaakov was able to deflect the touchdown pass away from the intended receiver, but the ball was miraculously tipped directly into Gornish's hands. The comeback was not yet complete. DEC still needed to make a 2-point conversion. Gersten scrambled away from pressure, then threw a pass to his receiver. Ner Yaakov knocked the ball to the ground, escaping with a 2-point victory, their second straight win by 3 points or less.
So another game and another "coulda, woulda, shoulda." One thing that seems to be missing from this team, that is an evident attribute of the teams that are beating DEC, is a killer instinct. This is most likely because it's a team of nice yeshiva guys(which is a good thing).
DEC hasn't had a lead since they led 6-0 over Norman's in Week 1. They've been right there the last two games, but they just can't seem to get that extra little "umph" their opponents are getting.
This was the second game in a row where the team played very well, but for just one half of the game. They probably won't get a win until both units put in a solid effort for an entire 50 minutes.
The team will head into the bye week with a record of 0-4. They can really use a week off to regroup because if they're going to make the bowl game qualifying round with four losses, they're gonna need to make up the gap in their point-differential, the first tie-braking statistic, which currently stands at -82.
The video crew ran into some technical difficulties during the game, so the video quality, and the amount of video taken, are sub-par this week. At any rate, we do have a highlight clip.