1. Running game issues: North Alabama managed to only get 46 rushing yards. With the running game being a focus point for head coach Chris Willis before the game, the execution certainly fell short. Terence Humphrey, who’s been one of UNA’s best offensive players at times this season, managed only two carries for eight yards. He didn’t play the majority of the game. Jaxton Carson, who had 44 rushing yards and a touchdown — his first with UNA — ran hard and had moments, but the running game as a whole wasn’t a factor in Saturday’s 40-34 loss to Hampton.

2. Tough day for defense: Yes, UNA managed to get three interceptions which shifted momentum and allowed UNA a chance to get back in the game. However, the Lions gave up a season-high 543 total yards of offense. They simply had no answer for receiver Jadakis Bonds, who had 11 catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The run defense wasn’t much better, as the Lions gave up 216 yards on the ground. Between catches and rushes, running back Will Robinson had 185 total yards.

3. Up-and-down through the air: Christian Lopez had what’s called an up-and-down game. He finished the first half going 3 for 9 with only 30 yards and was replaced right before half by Blake Dever. In the second half, however, he reeled off 250 yards and four touchdowns. That’s the great part for UNA. But late in the fourth quarter a pass to a wide-open Dexter Boykin fell incomplete, which could’ve given UNA another touchdown and a better chance of winning the game. That play, and Lopez for that matter, wasn’t the reason why UNA lost, but it didn’t help the cause.

Team grades

Rushing offense: F — UNA running back Jaxton Carson was the lone bright spot in what was otherwise a tough day for the Lions on the ground. Only managing 46 yards qualifies as an extremely tough day in that department.

Passing offense: C — If the grade was only for the first half, it would be an F, but Lopez made big plays down the stretch and scored four touchdowns in the second half. Tight end Corson Swan had a career day with three catches for 63 yards and UNA’s final touchdown.

Rushing defense: D — Will Robinson’s 185 combined rushing and receiving yards killed the UNA defense throughout the game. Shai McKenzie also added 61 yards on the ground.

Passing defense: C — UNA allowed Francois to throw for 347 yards and four touchdowns. However, the reason this grade isn’t worse is because Francois threw three interceptions, and two of them resulted in eventual touchdowns for UNA’s offense.

Special Teams: D — Probably the oddest day for the special teams all season. An interception returned for a touchdown happened on a two-point conversion, Gurley missed an extra point and a penalty negated what could’ve been an onside kick recovery near the end.

Coaching: C — The adjustment in the second half allowed UNA to really respond and have a chance to win the game. The offensive play calling in the first half could’ve been much better, and adjustments defensively could’ve helped, so this grade lands in the middle.

Overall: D — Taking the whole game into account, this game feels like one UNA shouldn’t have won, but then should have, but then didn’t. Offensively, Hampton was talented but UNA was out of place on defense. In the second half, though, Hampton couldn’t keep up with UNA offensively. The slow start and the lapses on defense down the stretch combined to doom the Lions.

— Michael Hebert


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