A season-long problem resulted in another “L” for the Mid-Missouri Outlaws.
The Outlaws failed to take advantage of their red-zone opportunities Saturday, and the Bloomington Edge routed them 46-6 at the Mathewson Exhibition Center.
Mid-Missouri (0-10) reached the red zone on four occasions, coming up empty each time despite having first-and-goals on each.
Outlaws head coach Jason Pallo said that scoring on those possessions would’ve made a huge difference.
“Our inability to score inside the red zone killed us tonight,” Pallo said. “We had the ball at the 1-yard line. We ran four plays and couldn’t get it in. If you can’t move the ball a yard, you’re not going to win football games.
“They’re a very talented team. There’s no doubt there. The frustrating part is that their talent level isn’t that much more than ours.”
Entering this week’s game, the Outlaws ranked last in red-zone offense in the 10-team Champions Professional Indoor Football League. They converted only 57.1 percent (12 for 21) through nine games. They weren’t even close to ninth-place Lincoln, whose average was 68.4.
Mid-Missouri also had two dropped interception passes deep in its own territory.
“The game could’ve easily gone very differently had we done the little things you’ve got to do to win football games,” said Pallo, referring to the dropped interceptions.
The Edge capitalized on the Outlaws’ first dropped interception with a 23-yard field goal by Eric Broughton that extended Bloomington’s lead to 10-0 with 2:38 left in the first quarter.
The second dropped interception didn’t produce a touchdown for the Edge, but they reached the 5 before Mid-Missouri took over on downs. On the Outlaws’ first play, quarterback Kyle Christian was called for intentional grounding in the end zone that resulted in a safety, extending Bloomington’s lead to 19-0 with 1:56 left in the first half. That lead stood until intermission.
Bloomington (5-6) fumbled twice, but the Outlaws couldn’t come up with the loose ball either time.
The Outlaws struggled with the ground game, although falling behind early cut down on their rushing attempts. They gained 32 yards on 14 carries. Bloomington had 26 carries for 100 yards.
Both teams had success passing the ball. Starter Andre Brown and Andrew Fendrich combined for 123 yards passing on 11 of 18 attempts with one interception and one touchdown.
Starter Damien Dunning and Christian combined to go 17-for-31 passing for 144 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown.
Mid-Missouri made a higher percentage of its passes in the second half with Christian under center.
“Pressure was an issue,” Pallo said. “We made some adjustments at half to deal with that pressure. We were able to move the ball, but once again, it’s the same song in the red zone.”
Pallo gave credit to Bloomington’s defense.
“They’ve got a really good D-line,” Pallo said, “and it showed tonight. (We had a) really hard time throwing the football tonight.”
Running back Andre Raymond combined to score five touchdowns, four rushing, for Bloomington. He caught a 10-yard TD pass from Brown to put the Edge ahead 7-0 with 9:49 left in the first quarter. Raymond finished with 62 yards rushing on 15 carries. He caught four passes for 48 yards.
Marvin Campbell rumbled 40 yards to score a touchdown on a fumble return, and Broughton’s point-after touchdown extended Bloomington’s lead to 17-0 with 13:09 left in the second quarter.
Raymond scored on runs of 2 and 3 yards in the third quarter, and the Edge led 33-0 entering the fourth. In the fourth, he sandwiched touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards around Mid-Missouri’s only touchdown of the game.
Christian and James Cody combined on a 14-yard touchdown pass play with 3:58 remaining to end Bloomington’s shutout bid.
Notes: The Outlaws will host the Salina Bombers at 7 p.m. Saturday before hitting the road to face the Wichita Wild on June 8 to close out the season. ... Bloomington ended a three-game losing streak with Saturday night’s win. ... The Edge remained sixth in the CIPFL standings. ... While Bloomington and the Outlaws haven’t been in the playoff hunt for a while, five teams are battling for the top four spots to reach the playoffs. The Omaha Beef (9-1) lead the Wichita Wild (9-2) by one-half game. The Beef have two games left in the league’s 12-game schedule, while Wichita has only one. Sioux City (8-2) is third, one game behind the Beef. Salina (7-3) is two games behind the front-runner with two games to play, and the Kansas City Renegades (7-4) are one-half game behind Salina for the fourth playoff slot.