• John Macon Gillespie

GotW | W2: Offensive Explosion

This year’s Little Egg Bowl matchup should be a fun one to watch offensively, especially if you love watching receivers make big plays. Both teams are also similar in their offensive style of play as well as their personnel.

Oxford Chargers

Let’s start with the visiting Chargers of Oxford. They returned so much talent on offense from 2016, but they had to replace four starters on the offensive line. Last week against Vicksburg, Oxford’s offensive line did a pretty good job of protecting John Reece McClure and opening up holes for Hiram Wadlington, but penalties and third down plays killed the Chargers at times in the game. It’s hard for any team to look fully operational offensively in week one, but with one game under their belt, they should be able to correct where they messed up against the Gators.

Oxford’s John Reece McClure has an absolute cannon for an arm. The junior quarterback didn't have the best stats last week, going 9-19 and 95 yards passing, but he has a lot of talent in that right arm of his. He has some excellent receivers at his disposal as well.

McClure has a speedy, 6’2 target to throw to in Jaquan Webb. Webb can absolutely fly and is difficult to cover when he gets passed the defensive back. Webb caught an impressive one-on-one touchdown last week against the Gators and made a couple big plays with bubble screens.

DeDe Pegues is another one to watch for the Chargers. Pegues is athletic and has great hands. J.J Pegues is another big body target at tight end, he has a lot of similarities to former Laurel tight end Octavius Cooley physically. Sam Bianco and Joe O’keefe are other ones to watch on the receiving end.

The Chargers are in great hands at running back in Hiram Wadlington. He is dangerous running the ball and when he is put at slot receiver. Wadlington had a great game last week, getting 150 yards and a touchdown rushing and receiving. On the drive that put the game out of reach last week, he carried his team down field, Vicksburg had no answer for him.

Oxford has a lot of big bodies along that offensive front. They are well coached, but we will see how they fair against a Starkville defense that has always been stout.

Starkville Yellowjackets

For the Yellowjackets, it didn't take long for them to show that they have explosiveness offensively. They hung 43 points against an athletic Noxubee County defense. They were a young group last year, just like the Chargers. They have big capability any time they touch the ball.

Starkville’s dual threat QB Malik Brown went 9-17, 142 yards, and two touchdowns last week. He is slippery and very hard to sack when pressure is applied. He has a big bodied, physical receiver in Cam Gardener that can make his job pretty easy. Gardener is a guy who can win any one-on-one battle, anytime. He caught a touchdown last week to go along with two catches and 54 yards. On the other end, Cameron Hines is another reliable target. The shifty receiver has three catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Look for Tonnoris Brookins and Orien Thompson to get attention in the Chargers’ film room this week at receiver.

At running back, Rodrigues Clark gives the Yellowjackets what they need on the ground. Clark carried the ball 16 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Tigers. He averaged about eight yards a carry… very impressive against a tough Noxubee County bunch.

Just like Oxford, Starkville is massive on the offensive line. They lost a very good offensive tackle in Joey Claybrook, but their other tackle, Kameron Jones should make a lot of things happen in this game, especially if Starkville runs the ball to his side.

#JaredRedding #Oxford #Starkville #GotW

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