Thursday, October 02, 2008

USF running back shreds defenses

By Chad Ryan
The News-Sentinel

With his new hair cut and scruffy goatee, Daniel Carter looks like a slim version of a young Mr. T. In fact, friends call him “Mini Mr. T,” but the way Carter’s been tearing up the turf lately, they might want to start calling him Mr. TD.

For special teams coaches considering dropping a kickoff within 30 yards of Carter, one quote comes to mind, “I pity the fool.”

The University of Saint Francis junior running back, return man and designated deflator of defenses has already returned two kickoffs for touchdowns (94 and 87 yards) in three games this season.

He’d be leading the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for kickoff return yards if not for the stingy Cougars’ defense. The league minimum for number of returns per game is 1.2. Thanks to the USF defense Carter only gets one per game.
But rewards don’t matter to Carter – wins do.

“I wouldn’t blame it on (the defense),” Carter said. “I would say it’s everybody doing the right job. Of course, it would be foolish if we happen to score and (the other team) kicks it back to me. No smart coach would do that anyway, so hats off to the defense for not letting up many points.

“My primary thing is to win. If I have to touch the ball five times or 20 times, I’m willing to do whatever it takes for us to win. My job is to make sure we do that at all costs.”

Carter and the Cougars are winning. USF is 3-0 on the season, outscoring their opponents 143-7. This week’s game should provide Saint Francis with its first real test when the Fighting Bees from Saint Ambrose buzz into Bishop D’Arcy Stadium on Saturday.

Saint Ambrose is 2-1 with their only loss coming to NCAA Division 1 South Dakota. USF coach Kevin Donley said the Bees are faster than the teams the Cougars have faced this season and they play a pressure defense that could give his young offensive line fits.

If Saint Amrbose expects to make a game of it, they might want to clog the line because Carter looms large for the Bees’ defense. He leads the Mid-States Football Association in all-purpose yards, averaging 223.7 yards per game; he’s third in the NAIA, scoring seven touchdowns and averaging 65.7 yards per kick return.

Not too bad for a five-foot seven, 160 pound guy that’s been called every name in the book having to do with little guys. Donley and anybody else who’s seen his indescribable runs the last few weeks calls him something else – special.

Note: This story ran Friday, Sept. 26, in The News-sentinel. USF beat St. Ambrose 43-14 and Carter turned in another big game, scoring two rushing touchdowns.

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