Two time winner of the IFAF U19 World Championships, Team USA had no trouble defeating the Australian national team, Team Outback, 38-0 in the opening game of the 2018 tournament being held in Mexico City.
Quarterback Alek Jacobs accounted for three touchdowns to pace the Americans, who are looking to win the gold after losing in the final of the 2016 tournament in Harbin, China.
Team USA overcame a string of errors and turnovers including a pair of lost fumbles.
Three of the five touchdowns scored by the United States came in the first half, and all by Jacobs. He capped an 11 play, 61 yard drive to open the scoring with a one yard pass to Ali Jennings. As would be the case the rest of the game, the Americans attempted a two-point conversion and the first one was good.
The United States took an aggressive approach, not only by going for two on every touchdown but also by attempting to convert fourth downs instead of punting. They succeeded three times during the game.
Jacobs added the next two touchdowns of the game, with a 6-yard carry (the conversion was good), and then a broken play in which he ended up scoring from 9 yards out (the conversion failed).
The Americans‘ defense completely stopped the Australians. Among the defensive standouts were linebackers Andrew Onyepunuka (41) and Richard D’Abreu (44), as well as defensive lineman Immanuel Hickman (8) and massive defensive tackle Cooper Beebe (98), who will be going to the Kansas State Wildcats.
In the second half, after blocking an Australian punt, the United States extended the lead to 30-0, after an 8-yard run by Treshaun Ward (6); Jacobs made the two-point conversion.
The powerful rushing attack of the Americans accounted for the last points of the game with Ward, Chaise Ellis (22) and Randy Rivera (3) leading the way. Backup quarterback Jake O’Donnell scored on a one-yard run, and Ellis scored the two-point conversion to make the final 38-0.
The Americans turned the ball over several times but their defense rose to the occasion. Team Outback, who wanted to build on their running game, were simply outmuscled by Team USA’s front seven.
Next game for Team USA will be against Mexico on July 18. Australia will face Team Sweden who lost to Canada 49-6.