Southwestern's defense dominates SMC in road opener

Santa Monica College football fans have come to expect big things from the Corsairs' championship defense in recent years- and although it was the defense that made all the difference in Saturday’s matchup versus Southwestern, that defense did not belong to SMC. Before the Corsairs seemingly knew what hit them, the Southwestern College Jaguars had a 21-0 advantage just 10 seconds into the 2nd quarter.

The Jaguars caught the Corsairs' defense off guard early thanks to two passing touchdowns, as well as a one-play, 79-yard rushing touchdown courtesy of David Clark.

At that point, it would have been very easy for the Corsairs to mail it in, and count the minutes off the clock until it was time to make the long drive back to Santa Monica. But that’s not what championship teams are designed to do.

SMC responded in kind, as Roger Jones scored his first of two touchdowns on the ground, rushing for a 35-yard score, cutting Southwestern’s lead to 14.

A couple series later, it would be last week’s hero Jake Dashnaw, connecting with Terrence Baker for a 49-yard passing touchdown making it 21-14, and giving SMC the head of steam they were looking for.

But the Southwestern defense would prove to be too much for the three-time champions. Not only did the Jaguars sack Jake Dashnaw for a safety to end the half, but Southwestern opened up the third quarter with an interception taken for a touchdown.

Making things worse, was Southwestern’s unrelenting offense. In the blink of an eye, the Jaguars managed to put together a 75-yard touchdown drive with just over two minutes gone in the third quarter, giving them a 37-14 lead.

At that point, all hope seemed lost for the young swashbucklers. But leave it to SMC, not to give up, and play to the final minute.

Down more than three touchdowns, SMC closed the gap thanks to the Corsairs imposing run game.

Melvin Davis rushed for a 29-yard touchdown, and Roger Jones's coming out party continued, as he posted a career-high 79-yard touchdown run making it 37-27.

But despite SMC closing the deficit to just 10 points with over five minutes left in the third quarter, victory was secured by the Jaguars thanks to a 95-yard touchdown drive by the offense, and another interception for a touchdown by the defense for a final score of 52-27.

Despite a combined 207- yard, three-touchdown performance by Melvin Davis, and Roger Jones, the passing woes were just too hard to overcome.

It’s a long season, and winning road openers against tier-one opponents is a lot to ask for, especially from an offensive unit that is still coming together. But if the Corsairs are going to make a run at their fourth consecutive conference championship, they’re going to have to become more efficient, not only on the offensive side of the ball, but the defensive side too.