For the fourth time in succession Trent have won the American Football at Harvey Hadden Stadium and with it establish a 1-0 lead in this year’s Varsity Series.
Pre-match chat had put the NTU Renegades as firm favourites despite the fact that the two sides had not met at all this season. Added to this, there are only two teams in their league that both sides have played to date with which results could be compared. Moreover, Trent had only won one more game than the Nottingham Outlaws this campaign.
Once the match finally got underway, Trent justified their billing as favourites with a touchdown early in the first quarter with a barraging run from quarterback Dan Miller. This was to be the first of many runs from Miller that the Outlaws never got near containing. Miller always went to the left and in virtually every set of four downs ran a play, yet the Outlaws were hapless in trying to prevent substantial gains on almost every occasion.
The critical period in the game was the second quarter. Miller’s opposite number, and Nottingham quarterback, Luca Rossini, led a lengthy drive, marshalling his troops to great effect. The drive had put the Outlaws what must have been little more than ten metres from the Renegades’ end zone. At this juncture came what, retrospectively, was the most important play of the game as Rossini, in the shotgun position, fumbled the ball for Trent to recover. This drive looked to really dent Rossini’s confidence, who until that moment had been quite the general.
The next Nottingham drive set the downward spiral in motion as Rossini first fumbled in the shotgun, then nearly had his pass picked off, and on the fourth the punter’s kick was half charged down. From here Trent went down the Nottingham end and, after having a touchdown disallowed for a false start, Miller launched a cracking twenty yard pass to wide receiver, Rob Cartwright, who caught it above his head in the Outlaws’ end zone to make the score 13-0.
As the Outlaws struggled to make any notable yardage, Miller continued to wreak havoc in the opposition defence. Two more touchdowns followed for Miller, both runs from close range. By the final quarter, to say that the match had ‘fizzled out’ would have been quite the under-statement as Trent seemed comfortable in holding Nottingham at bay. The final score was 28-0 which was probably a larger margin of victory than the season’s form would have suggested.