MADISON, N.J. Logic said run the ball. Then run it again. And if there's still yards to get on third down, run it once more.
Why not? FDU-Florham's defense has given up nearly 300 rushing yards per game this year, including 435 in a loss to Wilkes last week.
Saturday, Lycoming said logic be damned. The Warriors came out throwing the football, attempting 12 passes in the first quarter compared to just nine rushes.
The Lycoming coaching staff clearly knows what it's doing. The Warriors threw for 194 yards at 11.4 yards per completion Saturday, and quarterback Tyler Jenny threw a career-high four touchdown passes in a 42-7 win over the Devils.
The Warriors improved to 5-1 overall and 5-0 in the Middle Atlantic Conference. This is the first time Lycoming has been 5-0 in the MAC since 1999. And with Widener's 56-20 win over Stevenson yesterday, it set up a showdown in two weeks at Lycoming's David Person Field against the lone two teams to remain unbeaten in MAC play. The Pride are now 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the MAC. The winner will be in control of their own destiny for a MAC title and an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
That game will come after both Widener and Lycoming enjoy a bye next week.
"I think everyone knows there's been a big elephant in the room," Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. "This is no disrespect whatsoever because (King's head coach) Jeff Knarr is a great coach and (FDU-Florham head coach) Brian Surace's a great guy and a great coach. But we won at Del Val, we beat a good Leb Val team, and we beat a good Albright team, and these two teams, just based on their record, were not as good. But we've done what we needed to and it's hard not to look ahead."
The splits weren't egregious in Lycoming's offensive play-calling Saturday, but the disparity between run and pass was noticeable. The Warriors ran the ball 19 times and threw it 19 in the first half as they built a 28-0 lead.
For the third time in four weeks Lycoming threw a deep post to Campman on the opening play, and it nearly went for a touchdown for the third time in four weeks. If it wasn't for Mickey Weiks making a diving play to knock the ball out of the hands of Campman, it would have been another long touchdown pass just like the touchdown plays against both Lebanon Valley and King's.
But that play set the tone for the Warriors. Jenny threw a pass to fullback Nick Mongiello in the right flat on a naked bootleg which the sophomore carried to the goalline where he bowled over two defenders to get the touchdown, the first of his career.
Nearly 7 minutes later, Jenny was 4 for 6 on a 62-yard drive which included a 23-yard completion to Craig Needhammer on third-and-9. The final play of that drive was a bullet pass to Campman for a 10-yard touchdown. It was the first of three touchdowns Campman scored yesterday.
Jenny threw his third touchdown of the half to freshman Ryan Umpleby. It was the first career touchdown reception for Umpleby.
Jenny was 13 of 19 for 143 yards and the trio of touchdowns in the first half. He also added a 1-yard touchdown run. His fourth touchdown pass was a 34-yarder on a deep post to Campman in the third quarter.
"It's just something where we thought we could have some plays and there were some easy throws which we got," Clark said. "Some of the play-action passes we wanted to throw. A couple of the personnel sets where we threw the ball, like the touchdown to Nick, those are tendency breakers. You align in unbalanced and never throw the ball, then you need to let people know you can throw the ball there."
"We can do that against a lot of teams and (Saturday) we kind of showed it," said Campman, who had two receiving touchdowns and also returned a punt for a touchdown. "We didn't run the ball much and we had to throw and we did a good job as a group and we caught some passes and ran past the defense at times."
But it wasn't like the Warriors completely abandoned the run. In fact, it ran in 5-yard chunks for much of the afternoon. They finished with 35 carries for 170 yards (4.9 yards per carry). Parker Showers finished with a season-high 91 yards on 13 carries, and Craig Needhammer added 51 on 14 carries. Back-up Chris Nemits even added 27 yards on his four carries after the game was in hand.
It was also clear the Devils were gearing up to stop the Lycoming run game. Ten of Lycoming's carries went for 2 yards or less which includes Jenny's touchdown run. And with the Devils' safeties playing closer to the line of scrimmage than most defenses might, Lycoming decided to take some chances in the passing game.
"I think because we've been able to run the ball so well the last couple weeks we were able to throw," Jenny said. "A lot of our deep passes have been taken off of play-action. I think our running games has set that kind of thing up and it's worked out the last couple weeks."
"Parker's a little beat up, Craig's a little beat up. It's a combination of factors," Clark said. "I think we ran the ball reasonably well. But they also did some things where they were being real aggressive against the run and they committed a lot of people to trying to stop the run. If that's the case, why try to pound the ball in there if you can find better matchups?"
The offense did more than enough to back another stellar outing by a defense that seems to be improving by the week. The front four held the Devils to just 3 yards per carry yesterday, and take away a 32-yard run by tailback Craig Kimbrough that ended in a fumble and a 15-yarder by quarterback Mike Santos, and the Devils' no-huddle offense produced just 48 yards on 30 carries (1.6 yards per carry).
FDU played a horizontal offense, attacking the flats with bubble and rocket screens and swing passes to the running backs. Santos, who is listed at 5-foot-7, made on just one deep throw down the middle of the field.
He finished the day 17 of 36 for just 112 yards. He was intercepted by both Matt Talerico and Kody Flail.
"You could see how we gave up a few of those rockets and bubbles at the beginning of the game," Flail said. "We're used to running down the field 40 yards at a time and chasing the fade and chasing the post. This was different. We adjusted well to it, but we have to work on some stuff to get ready for Widener because they're going to throw a bunch of stuff at us."