/notables/2011/07/team-usa-remains-perfect

Team USA remains perfect

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Nate Kmic led the team in receptions, again, in the USA's win.
File photo for IFAF

From an IFAF release

The United States and Mexico are neighboring countries that share a passion for many things.

Count football among them.

Playing its third game in five days at the IFAF Senior World Championship, the United States overcame its toughest test of the round-robin schedule, beating Mexico, 17-7, on Tuesday in Innsbruck, Austria, to advance to Saturday’s gold medal game and the chance to defend its title.

The U.S. men finished Group A play with a 3-0 record and will take on the winner of Japan and Canada in the title match. Those two countries play Wednesday in a Group B finale between 2-0 teams. Mexico moves on to the bronze-medal game Friday against the loser of Japan and Canada.

U.S. National Team head coach Mel Tjeerdsma knew coming in the test his team would face. He admitted feeling “nervous for about 48 minutes” as the U.S. was never able to put Mexico away.

But in the end, the scoreboard told the story Tjeerdsma wanted to see.

“Most of these players didn’t know each other two weeks ago,” Tjeerdsma said. “So the first meeting, we said we had one goal – and that is to win the gold medal. Now we are one step away.”

Defenses dominated early as neither team scored in the first quarter. U.S. cornerback Jeff Frankllin knocked away a would-be Mexican touchdown pass, and a Jorge Valdez interception for Mexico in the back of the end zone ended a U.S. drive.

Team USA finally broke through with 10:05 left in the first half as a fumble at the Mexico 27-yard line set up a Gregg Berkshire 46-yard field goal to give the Americans a 3-0 lead.

The Americans made it 10-0 just before halftime as Da’Shawn Thomas scored on a run from 2 yards out.

Thomas finished with just 16 yards on 10 carries as neither defense gave up yards easily. Mexico’s rushing duo of Jose Conn Reyes and Jonathan Barrerra combined for 16 carries and 46 yards, while the U.S. runners totaled 27 yards on 22 carries.

“Their defensive line was outstanding, doing different twists and really giving the offense a hard time of running the ball, and on pass plays they were getting to our quarterback,” Team USA linebacker Osayi Osunde said. “Mexico is athletic and physical. We could not really find a way to run a full drive, so our defense was able to pull the slack and allow as few points as possible.”

Mexico head coach Raul Rivera Sanchez said his team rose to the challenge of a tough, physical U.S. squad. He is not satisfied with playing close, though. His team played to win.

“I feel sad because we came here to win this tournament,” Sanchez said. “We faced a good team. We knew it was going to be a tough game.”

Team USA appeared poised to extend its lead in the third quarter but a fumble stalled one drive at the Mexico 10.

The Mexicans took advantage as a 65-yard pass from Bruno Daniel Marques to Jose Antonio Alfonso set their team up at the U.S. 19. Five plays later, Reyes took an option pitch from Barrera for a 3-yard touchdown run.

“We could never feel comfortable because Mexico can score – and score quickly on big plays,” Tjeerdsma said.

The U.S., though, immediately pushed its lead back out to 17-7 as Thomas capped an eight-play, 68-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run. Team USA QB Cody Hawkins hit Ricardo Leinhart for 13 yards, Richie Brockel for 14 yards and Alex Anderson for 25 yards on the possession.

Hawkins finished 21-of-35 for 267 yards. Running back Nate Kmic again led U.S. receivers with six catches for 53 yards. Tight end Mike Peterson added four receptions for 38 yards.

Mexico’s QBs Marques and Rodrigo Perez combined to go 14-of-24 passing for 179 yards. Both were hurried throughout as the U.S. had four sacks, including sacks from Maurice Banks and Charles Bay on Mexico’s final two downs.

Team Mexico (2-1) vs. Team USA (3-0)
Site: Innsbruck
Stadium: Tivoli
Attendance: 1500

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Team Mexico......... 0 0 7 0 - 7
Team USA............ 0 10 0 7 - 17

Scoring Summary:

2nd

10:05 USA - Greggy Berkshire 46 yd field goal
3 plays, -2 yards, TOP 0:48, MEX 0 - USA 3

00:53 USA - DaShawn Thomas 2 yd run (Greggy Berkshire kick)
7 plays, 62 yards, TOP 3:24, MEX 0 - USA 10 

3rd

00:00 MEX - Jose Conn Reyes 5 yd run (Jose Carlos Maltos kick)
6 plays, 89 yards, TOP 3:15, MEX 7 - USA 10

4th

09:00 USA - DaShawn Thomas 2 yd run (Greggy Berkshire kick)
8 plays, 68 yards, TOP 2:52, MEX 7 - USA 17
Oct. 12: All times Eastern
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Westfield State 41, at Fitchburg State 27
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Wilkes 31, at FDU-Florham 16
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at Hobart 52, Rochester 7
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Nichols 23, at Becker 15
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Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
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at Hope 70, Finlandia 6
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King's 51, at Alvernia 7
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at Centre 33, Trinity (Texas) 28
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at Cortland 41, Buffalo State 7
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Husson 56, at Alfred State 14
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Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
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Western Connecticut 23, at Massachusetts Maritime 13
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Stevenson 20, at Widener 6
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Wesleyan 44, at Bates 13
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at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
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at Carnegie Mellon 17, Bethany 14
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at Salisbury 17, Montclair State 15
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Maryville (Tenn.) 34, at Methodist 9
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Wabash 7, at Ohio Wesleyan 0
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Misericordia 25, at Lebanon Valley 21
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Denison 20, at DePauw 12
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Randolph-Macon 45, at Shenandoah 14
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Kalamazoo 20, at Albion 19
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Brockport 52, at Alfred 0
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Wooster 27, at Oberlin 21
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at Washington and Lee 40, Emory and Henry 29
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at Frostburg State 56, William Paterson 0
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at Hiram 28, Kenyon 24
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Wesley 54, at Kean 6
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Trine 50, at Olivet 49
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Southern Virginia 23, at Apprentice 21
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Ithaca 24, at Union 0
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at Marietta 63, Wilmington 21
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at Coast Guard 15, Maine Maritime 0
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Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Tufts 24
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Franklin 42, at Mount St. Joseph 34
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Manchester 21, at Bluffton 17
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John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
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at Hanover 48, Defiance 7
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at Baldwin Wallace 44, Muskingum 7
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at Grove City 28, Waynesburg 3
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Merchant Marine 17, at Springfield 14
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Middlebury 21, at Williams 10
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at Huntingdon 52, Brevard 17
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Hampden-Sydney 42, at Bridgewater 21
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at SUNY-Maritime 35, Dean 7
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Endicott 66, at University of New England 38
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at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
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Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
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at Texas Lutheran 28, East Texas Baptist 21
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Augustana 41, at North Park 7
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Louisiana College 35, at McMurry 23
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at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
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Wartburg 31, at Coe 19
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Eureka 44, at Concordia-Chicago 14
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Carleton 36, at Augsburg 34
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Rockford 37, at Lakeland 20
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Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Hamline 14
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at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
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Concordia (Wis.) 23, at Aurora 20
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at Benedictine 40, Wisconsin Lutheran 31
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at Loras 44, Nebraska Wesleyan 20
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St. Norbert 21, at Chicago 20
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Bethel 35, at St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 41, Buena Vista 26
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Millikin 32, at Carthage 29
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Knox 28, at Grinnell 7
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at Central 17, Simpson 16
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at Ripon 49, Beloit 14
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at UW-River Falls 21, UW-Stout 19
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Monmouth 45, at Illinois College 13
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at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
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UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
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Austin 34, at Millsaps 23
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at Lake Forest 42, Cornell 0
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at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
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at Bridgewater State 44, Mass-Dartmouth 28
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at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
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Pacific 23, at Puget Sound 22
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George Fox 28, at Willamette 6
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at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
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at Southwestern 21, Belhaven 10
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Rowan 17, at TCNJ 14
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Adrian 28, at Alma 23
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Averett 24, at N.C. Wesleyan 14
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Heidelberg 21, at Otterbein 7
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Anderson 63, at Earlham 0
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at North Central (Ill.) 59, Carroll 0
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at UW-La Crosse 63, UW-Stevens Point 27
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Birmingham-Southern 13, at Sewanee 10
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at St. Scholastica 47, Greenville 13
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 20, Minnesota-Morris 17
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La Verne 42, at Whittier 23
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at Chapman 62, Occidental 0
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20, at Redlands 10
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at Cal Lutheran 28, Pomona-Pitzer 24
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Oct. 14: All times Eastern
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LaGrange 43, at Greensboro 16
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 55, at Howard Payne 0
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Oct. 13: All times Eastern
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at Delaware Valley 23, Lycoming 16
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Final
Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
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Final
Brockport 52, at Alfred 0
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Final
at Frostburg State 56, William Paterson 0
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Final
Wesley 54, at Kean 6
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Final
Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
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Final
Trine 50, at Olivet 49
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
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Final
Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
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Final
John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
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Final
Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
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Final
at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
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Final
at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
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Final
at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
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Final
UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
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Final
at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
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Final
at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
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Final
at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 59, Carroll 0
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