Geno's Minor League Mashup Week 3: And Then There Were Two
It's hard to believe we're already a quarter of the way through the regular season, but here we are. We're down to two undefeated teams: Lexington and Annapolis (GO NAVS!) This week, we'll look at the stats leaders so far, as well as give one surprise for all eight teams.
Not many surprises here. Austin Blanco and Chad Moore have had heavy workloads so far, throwing 75 and 81 passes, respectively. Michael Brown hasn't been the quarterback he hoped to be this season, throwing five interceptions through 2 games. Tyreek McCall has been the surprising standout, as he leads the league in completion percentage by going 60-for-78 with 585 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chris Grant Jr. Show tops the league in carries and (unsurprisingly) yards. However, he hasn't been the most efficient. That title goes to Logan Lee, who has averaged 5.6 YPC. Lee also has the longest run of the year, a 78-yard sideline hugger. Ben Jackson has been a big breakout so far, chugging for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
San Jose is dominating the receiving board, as both of the top 2 receivers belong to them (Jaob Morrison and Ryan Arlovski). Morrison has been quite efficient as well, leading all receivers with five or more receptions in yards per catch. There hasn't been any single player stand out, but 14 players having over 100 yards is a bit of a surprise.
Defensive stats are looking as they should. Guy Incognito and Sammy Seatbelt (top 5 name in the league) lead the league with two INTs a piece. Joshua Durr tops the solo tackle rankings, with Jason Clay taking the overall tackles crown. Moxxie Crawford gets standout honors, with 25 total tackles and a strong presence on the field.
Now time for a short intermission to give my Quarterly Power Rankings! I'll keep this short, though, as we have a lot more to come.
1. Lexington (2-0)
2. Annapolis (2-0)
3. Madison (1-1)
4. San Jose (1-1)
5. Lincoln (1-1)
6. Alburquerque (0-2)
7. Tacoma (1-1)
8. Ottawa (0-2)
ONE SURPRISE FOR EACH TEAM
ALBUQUERQUE: 405 PASSING YARDS
The actual biggest surprise for the Atoms is the 0-2 record that sits beside them. Most of us didn't expect them to lose BOTH of their first two games, but here we are. That hasn't been the defense's fault, though. Ty Ptak hasn't been the explosive QB we know he can be, only throwing for an average of 202.5 YPG.
ANNAPOLIS: 13 POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME
DEFENSE. WINS. GAMES. This Annapolis defense has been tough, only allowing 13 PPG. Wolffe Highwind has held down the middle of the field, gathering 21 total tackles and a pass deflection. I've also gotta give credit to J.W. Hartshorn, the DC. He and Drew Really have worked hard to make some very good gameplans so far. We'll see how they hold up against a top-notch offense this week @ Lincoln.
LEXINGTON: +35 POINT DIFFERENTIAL
Willy Smoke and Chad Moore have led this offense to two straight 30-point games, with Smoke working for four touchdowns along the way. However, this Miners defense has worked just as hard, only allowing 13 points in both games and tying the Navigators for the top scoring defense. Head Coach Marco Swift has led this team to two "swift" victories (pun intended), and I can't wait to see if they can keep winning.
LINCOLN: 34 POINTS SCORED
Lincoln wasn't expecting to stay below 40 points through two games after their Week 1 win over ABQ. However, Madison's defense held strong, and Lincoln was only able to score 10 points in week 2. Everyone was expecting Lincoln to be the top offense this year with the dynamic duo of Kenny Slider and Logan Lee, but 34 points make them the seventh-ranked scoring offense, only one point ahead of the Atoms.
MADISON: A BLAND START
Even though they beat Lincoln last week, I wouldn't say Madison is living up to their expectations right now. They haven't had an explosive performance on offense yet, but their defense has fought hard. With just 27 points allowed, they land squarely in third on the scoring defense rankings. That's not a surprise, though, as their three bronze LBs have been holding strong against the run and the pass.
OTTAWA: TYREEK MCCALL
The Cavalry's rookie QB has come out FIRING in his first two games. Averaging 292.5 YPG, he's been a top-2 QB this season. However, his strong performance has led this coaching staff to take some touches away from Duane Sammons, who's only averaging 72.5 rushing YPG. This Ottawa squad's only downfall is the defense, which has given up 55 points so far.
SAN JOSE: TWO TOP RECEIVERS
We all knew Austin Blanco would come out firing. What we didn't know is how well he would spread the ball out. Jacob Morrison and Ryan Arlovski currently take up the top two spots on the receiving yards rankings. That's impressive, seeing as the Flight have a full receiving corps. San Jose could likely be 2-0, but they boast the worst scoring defense in the league, giving up 58 points through two games.
TACOMA: 204.5 PASSING YPG
King Jackson is capable of being the top QB in this league. He just hasn't shown us yet. With 409 yards, 2 TDs, and 3 INTs, Tacoma is hoping Jackson can break out of this slump. However, Ben Jackson has been right by King's side to support him, rushing for 272 yards and 3 TDs. The Tacoma defense has done a good job of supporting their captain as well, only allowing 47 points.
WEEK 3 PREDICTIONS
Since gathering guest predictors has been tough, I've decided to go with a prediction team that will make predictions for the rest of the season! TJ Harper and Jay Balmer have stepped up to join the MLM team, so I give you full permission to humiliate them on every incorrect prediction.
(that's a joke, please don't do that)
Geno's Record: Week 2 3-0 ---> Total 5-1 (.833)
TJ's Record: Week 2 0-4 ---> Total 1-7 (.125)
Jay's Record: 0-0
Total Prediction Record: Week 2 3-4 ---> Total 8-9 (.470)
ANNAPOLIS @ LINCOLN
Geno: No prediction (coach)
TJ: I’m going to take Lincoln at home, but with the way Annapolis has been playing…I’ll probably regret it. CGjr has been a monster this season and I expect him to keep up the rampage. He's averaging 150 a game on the ground. Slider and Lee have been above average so far, Lincoln will need a big showing from them today. Lincoln wins 31-28.
Jay: Annapolis vs Lincoln will be the battle of the run game. We'll see which running back can lead their team to victory, but I’m choosing Lincoln to win 27-24.
SAN JOSE @ MADISON
Geno: Austin Blanco continues his reign of terror, throwing for 325 yards and 3 TDs in a 31-21 win.
TJ: I’m liking Madison because of their stellar defense so far this year. Danny Carmichael and Devante Wright have been menacing this year for their secondary. Need to see more from their offense though. Blanco has been the truth on offense at QB. 310ypga. Insane. Let’s see if he and Morrison can keep the connection up. Sammy Seatbelt on defense has had two picks already, I expect another today. San Jose wins 27-21.
Jay: No prediction (coach)
LEXINGTON @ OTTAWA
Geno: Matt Ryan is able to lead the Ottawa defense to a stifling 21-17 win.
TJ: Battle of the 2-0 vs the 0-2. I don’t foresee Ottawa with an upset today, but that’s why the games are played. Sammons will be leaned on heavily to keep Lexington off the field. Chad Moore has looked sharp for Lexington. A 76% completion percentage is insane. Very good ball control offense that spreads the ball. Lexington wins 28-21.
Jay: It's always tough to figure out what Ottawa is doing with their scheme, but that OT loss to San Jose hurt them. I've got Lexington dominating by a score of 34-10.
TACOMA @ ALBURQUERQUE
Geno: Ty Ptak plays to his max potential, giving the Atoms 350 yards and 4 TDs in a 38-17 blowout.
TJ: One win between both teams. This game is the most intriguing for me as I have expected better showings from both teams this year. I believe we will see all haymakers today from both as they claw and fight to stay in the playoff picture. ABQ has looked pedestrian on offense, but they are home now, and Ptak and crew have historically been slow starters. King Jackson will need to show why he wears the crown today. If he can go into ABQ and put the Atoms down to 0-3 in standings, it could help cement his draft stock. Tacoma wins 24-21.
Jay: Now who would’ve thought Albuquerque would start off being 0-2? Now the team their playing against is a team that has a balanced defense. Although Tacoma lost badly to Lexington, I can see them getting this win right here. They'll have to use Ben Jackson more and throw it to Rob Hunt often. Tacoma takes it 23-20.