Cornerback Rob Rodriguez blocked punt twice and three different running backs scored a touchdown apiece, leading the United States to a 33-7 victory over Germany on Thursday at Kawasaki Stadium in the third IFAF World Championship.
With the win, the United States won Pool 2 with a 2-0 record and plays Pool 1 winner in the final on Sunday at Todoroki Track and Field Stadium. Germany (1-1) ranked second in Pool 2 and battles Pool 1 second-place team for third place on Saturday at Kawasaki Stadium. Later on Thursday, Japan played Sweden for Poo1 first place.
``Our special teams did a great job today because our offense was not moving the ball well and our defense is a little bit off stride," the United States head coach John Mackovic said. ``Rob (Rodriguez) blocked the punt twice and gave up the good field position to score.
``Germany played a terrific football today and deserves a lot of credits. Their defense was physical and strong, which we knew it would be, and they handled well us so that we had to work hard to make the drives alive."
It took only 1:40 into the game before the United States scored the first touchdown of the game. Cody Childs rushed for 6 yards for the leadoff score with 9:20 to play in the first quarter.
The U.S. got the ball back at the Germany 40 in the next possession. Wide receiver Marcus Lewis caught a 37-yard pass from Adam Austin, setting up a 3-yard touchdown run by Cary Wade.
After adding a safety in the first quarter, the U.S. extended its lead to 16-0.
Germany finally countered back when Matthias Weil picked off a pass by Jeff Ballard and returned it 90 yards for a score with 0:52 remaining in the first half.
German started its second possession of the third quarter at the Germany 14 and marched to the 24-yard line. But Germany was pulled back 5 yards on a penalty at fourth down, being forced a punt on its own 29.
Then Rodriguez came off the edge without being contacted and blocked the punt. This turned out a momentum-shifting play.
``I learned through the film there is a chance rushing off the edge,’’ Rodriguez said.
The ball rolled over to the end zone, but Germany defensive back Sebastian Shoenbroich picked it up and ran for five yards to get out of the end zone. Four plays later, Craig Coffin kicked a 21-yard field goal to widen the U.S. lead to 19-7 and the Americans took back the momentum.
The U.S. added a rushing touchdown by Doug Blakowski and a 42-yard interception return touchdown by Diezeas Calbert in the fourth quarter to take the game away.
Germany showed some good performance on defense by intercepting the U.S. passes three times, but failed to take advantage of the error-prone United States, which committed four turnovers in the game.
``We had some chances to score and we put ourselves to compete with the Americans, but after all we struggled a little bit,’’ Germany Andre Matthes said after the game.