UoN American Football complete their perfect season

University of Nottingham American Football took the honours in an ill-tempered clash at Lady Bay, with Trent clearly displeased with the sudden turn of the tides this season. After only ever beating Trent once, this year the Green and Gold have taken all four contests in decisive fashion. This time it was a 33-12 final, with UoN scoring to walk things off to rub salt into the wounds when the contest was already won.

The “visiting” Green and Gold took the lead on their opening drive after picking off the Trent opener, with quarterback Tunde Pratt accounting for the totality of the yardage running and passing, capping it off with a 30 plus yard touchdown run after cutting back upfield on a scramble. This lead was one that UoN would never relinquish, with the Trent offense largely sputtering along for the rest of the contest, only really coming alive too late behind their running game before finally bringing the backup quarterback in to finish things off.

With a game that was probably too sloppy for both sides and fairly ill tempered, with plenty of penalty flags flying, the Green and Gold retained control, with the only touchdown Trent got before the dying moments coming early in the second quarter off an interception return that was dropped by the UoN receiver. The first quarter proceeded in much this fashion, with a solid run game led by Pratt, Derek Knott and the stable of running backs enabling UoN to control the pace and gain more yardage than the ineffectual passing game of Trent.

The poor day for the NTU quarterback continued to start the second, with a fumble under no pressure out of nowhere coughing the ball up. This was luckily negated for the Tigers by the pick 6, with a failed conversion meaning that 7-6 was the closest Trent got for the remainder of the evening. From here UoN dominated the ball for the rest of the quarter, with a single drive taking up the majority of the remaining time. Pratt got another touchdown rushing on a keeper play after another interception killed a promising Trent drive with the return getting the Green and Gold into the red zone late in the half. The trick play on the ensuing 2 point attempt failed, attempting to capitalise on a Trent penalty on the kick attempt. This left the scoreline at 13-6 going into halftime.

After an impressive cheerleading display UoN upped the pressure on the misfiring Trent passing attack, scoring only 3 plays into their drive after a huge Knott kickoff return and a long running play set up a swing pass for Knott to run in for the touchdown and extra point for the 23-6 lead. Even after giving Trent quality field position due to a fluffed onside kick attempt which didn’t go the required 10 yards the Tigers couldn’t quite get things rolling. With the best play on their ensuing drive only being a 2 yard run and nearly another interception for the Green and Gold things were looking a bit grim for last year’s winners. After this drive failed UoN simply pushed the ball up the field, running the ball the whole way from their own 27 to just shy of the NTU goal line as the third drew to a close.

From this point, after the short yardage “Meat” package got the ball over the line with a jump pass for the 27-6 lead and the end of the game as a serious contest. The fourth quarter was somewhat disjointed, with a number of flags being thrown and lots of borderline play from the trailing side. On the ensuing Trent drive after the touchdown Jack Casey was ejected for some violence occurring after the play was over on a big passing gain for Trent. A short time after this Trent managed to just about punch the ball in from the goal line, the last success they had considering their 2 point conversion attempt failed. At this point things were almost entirely negative for the Tigers, with a 3 and out UoN drive only serving to set up a muffed punt, which was finally recovered at Trent’s own 5 yard line, with things nearly being so much worse. Here the backup quarterback came in, an admission of defeat if there ever was one, and after multiple false starts managed to get the one successful play remaining for the Tigers, a catch and run from the goal line for nearly 30 yards. There was then an emblematic poor snap that the sub wasn’t even ready for to set up a deep punt into UoN territory.

The Green and Gold finished the game off with a trick hook and ladders play for the long touchdown, not even bothering with the extras to put the exclamation mark on a dominating performance on the evening with a 33-12 scoreline. As Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply was belted out by the UoN players after the formalities were over there was a sense that this was the culmination of a special season; going undefeated and winning promotion in BUCS play, knocking their local rivals out in the process, and then leading from almost the first whistle to the last in Varsity to finish things off in the first year under a new coaching staff.

Callum McPhail

Images courtesy of UoN Sport

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