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D-II Football Gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by smsu_scribe, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    Hi all. I'm a freshman in college. Wrote this a week ago for our bi-weekly campus rag and wanted some feedback. I go to a fairly small school, about 5,000 students, and the paper is sort of unimpressive. Sports editor is some clueless girl and I want more educated critique. Thanks.

    Worth the Wait
    It's taken 17 years for the SMSU football team to defeat Northern State University. Fortunately for the Mustangs, their thrilling 39-32 victory over the Wolves on Senior Day may well be remembered for just as long.
    With 2:17 remaining in the game and Northern State leading 32-31, SMSU linebacker John Kersbergen tackled Wolves' quarterback Eric Ellingson for a one-yard loss on a crucial third and one play. After a punt by the Wolves (1-9, 1-8), the Mustangs (5-5, 5-4) took over on their own 29-yard line with 2:09 left in the game. SMSU junior wide receiver Derek Townshend knew how important it was for his team to make a play.
    "We knew we needed a touchdown, nothing short of that," said Townshend.
    That play came just 31 seconds into the drive. Senior quarterback Josh Shudlick found Townshend darting across the middle of the field and connected with him in stride. Townshend then tore through the secondary and went into the end zone untouched on a 60-yard touchdown play. The Mustangs converted a two-point conversion to go up 39-32 with 1:38 remaining in the fourth quarter. From there, the SMSU defense kept the Wolves out of the end zone and won its first game against Northern State since 1991.
    Shudlick described the play, explaining that Townshend was to run a vertical route and found just enough open space for him to squeeze a pass into the Wolves' secondary.
    "Derek just found a window in the defense and made a great play," said Shudlick.
    A close finish appeared unlikely early on in the NSIC matchup. After two quarters, SMSU led 28-7 after piling up 281 yards of total offense, compared with Northern State's 66 yards.
    However, the Wolves ended the first half with a touchdown on a 29-yard scoring pass from Ellingson to receiver Trent DesLauriers, capping off a two-play, 39 yard drive. The Wolves then outscored the Mustangs 25-3 over the first 28 minutes of the second half. Northern State took its only lead of the game with 7:15 left in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass to finish a nine-play, 59-yard drive.
    Shudlick explained the team’s ability to keep its composure when the Mustangs saw their lead disappear.
    “We’ve been in these situations before,” said Shudlick. “We kept our composure in those situations, so we’ve had experience in close games. That experience has helped us mature.”
    SMSU Head Coach Eric Eidsness described the importance of his team ending its home schedule with a victory, for both the entire team and also the senior players, who competed in their last game at Mattke Field.
    "It was a big win," said Eidsness. "This senior class was my first recruiting class here. They came into a program that was almost done, with only 29 players on the roster."
    Shudlick finished the game with 415 yards passing and four touchdowns. Running back Zach Wysong rushed for 108 yards and one touchdown. Receiver Bret Ballantine led the Mustangs with six catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
  2. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Thanks for posting. As a young writer, you've made typical young writer mistakes. That's OK. Nothing there is so bad you need to quit now and find another major. These things are easily fixable and it seems you have a basic grasp on what's important.

    Before even diving into the actual copy, there is too much play by play. Sure, there are some moments in the game that's important. We still need to provide that to the audience for those who were unable to attend the game.

    Now, if your job was a straight gamer, OK. Especially, if someone else was doing a sidebar or column. Based on that, still too much play-by-play, but I can understand.

    Now, if this wasn't just a straight gamer, you needed to dig deeper into the angle that this is SMSU's first win over Northern State in 17 years.

    Good job on getting quotes from both coaches as well as a player from SMSU. Too many times this is not done.

    Like I said, the fundamentals are there, you just need to improve them and most of all keep writing and reading. This doesn't become mastered in one day.

    Finally, when you watch SportsCenter, do not, I REPEAT DO NOT, use anything they say on that show in your copy.

    Good luck and, again, thanks for posting.
  3. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    Thanks a lot for the critiques, dawgpound. I see what you're saying about the overuse of play-by-play. I want to cut down on those areas of my stories where I lose readers. Any suggestions as to what would be a better focus in those parts that become bogged down in stats, score and time?
  4. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Instead of stating "After two quarters, SMSU led 28-7 after piling up 281 yards of total offense, compared with Northern State's 66 yards."

    Back that up with why? how? with quotes from players and coaches.

    "The Wolves then outscored the Mustangs 25-3 over the first 28 minutes of the second half."

    Again, what was working, wasn't working? Provide more context.
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