WWC 2010: Finnland beats Austria 50:16

Category: World Championship - published 2010-06-30 by IFAF


Finland cruised to a 50-16 victory over Austria thanks to an impressive display of first half offensive fireworks, handing the Austrians their second defeat of the inaugural IFAF Women's World Championship.
The victory sets up a winner-takes-all clash with the United States for a place in Saturday's championship game when the two unbeaten teams meet at the Zinkensdamms IP Stadium in Stockholm on Thursday, July 1 at 6pm / 12pm EST.
"I think the U.S. has a great defense and are really strong and fast, so our offense has to be even better," said Finland head coach Teemu Kuusistoof the upcoming game. "So long as we can score, our defense will need to keep us in the game, but we have to score at least 25 or 30 points and then I think we have a shot. I think the U.S. is still the top team, but we showed today that we should be ranked higher than fifth place."
The Finns found success during a free-scoring first half by employing an i-formation with receivers split effectively to either side and raced to a 44-16 halftime lead. Three turnovers hurt the Austrian cause as they also moved the ball well, but struggled to execute when within striking distance of the end zone.
"On offense we did exactly what we planned," added coach Kuusistoof. "We have a great offense at the quarterback position and we really didn't have any problems all day.
"We didn't make any mistakes on defense, but we need to make more tackles, but saying that we were still able to stop Austria's long drives."
With Jenni Wahlberg of the Helsinski Demons under center, Finland moved confidently downfield on the opening drive aided by a pass interference call and a crucial fourth down conversion. Helsinki Roosters running back Katri Laine found the end zone to open an early 6-0 lead and Austria might have countered, but fumbled away possession when 17 yards from pay dirt in reply.
Finland capitalized instantly as receiver Sari Kuosmanen of the Jyväskylä Jaguars out-ran her coverage with a perfectly executed reception over the middle for an 83-yard touchdown catch. For the second time, the Finns' two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving them 12 points ahead.
Austria hit back as MVP from the opening day loss to USA Marie-Theres Michelitsch of the Raiffeisen Lady Vikings converted on fourth down and then took the ball to the 16-yard mark. Receiver Stephanie Konecny closed out an impressive drive with a superb one-handed catch at the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Michelitsch, who was also named MVP of Austria's second game, added the two-point conversion to reduce the deficit to four points.
But Finland responded immediately as team MVP Merita Bruun raced 45 yards untouched for a long touchdown run and then added the two-point conversion herself to open up a 20-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Finnish defensive back Anette Bӓckman of the Demons produced an interception to end a promising Austrian drive at midfield and Finland immediately converted the turnover into points as Bruun followed blocks through the middle and then to the outside for 50-yard rushing score. Brunn added a two-point scamper for a 28-8 lead.
The ever-dangerous Michelitsch broke similarly through Finland's rushers on the ground, but was caught after 47 yards by Katri Laine of the Helsinki Roosters as she raced towards the end zone. Austria persisted and out of the shotgun formation, Saskia Stribrny of the Raiffeisen Lady Vikings passed for a touchdown to Theresa Grabher and Michaela Gerstl converted the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 12 points.
Finland again responded as quarterback Jenni Wahlberg of the Demons broke free on a bootleg to the left and followed blocks to cut inside for a 39-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion pass to Tiina Salo of the Jaguars earned Finland a 20-point lead.
Austria was forced to punt in response and Kuosmanen then beat coverage for a touchdown catch from Laura Haapaniemi of the Oulu Northern Lights, leaving Finland 44-16 ahead at halftime after Haapaniemi's quarterback keeper that followed. Austria might have cut the deficit before the break as the safe hands of Konecny made another impressive catch for a first down in the red zone, but an interception halted a promising late drive.
Turnovers continued to haunt Austria after the break. Thanks to the persistent rushing of Michelitsch, Austria put together a confident long drive to open the third quarter, but then at the Finland two-yard mark, fumbled away possession.
Finland looked to be backed up deep in its own half until Tiia Meskanen of the Demons broke down the left sideline and was forced out of bounds only 14 yards shy of the end zone. Two plays later Finland fumbled the ball when also close to the opposing end zone.
Following a scoreless third quarter that hardly seemed plausible after the first half fireworks, Jenna Suhonen of the Jaguars broke tackles and followed blocks for a persistent 18-yard touchdown run and a 50-16 final score with 9:16 remaining in the contest.

Group A
Austria 3071076Stats File

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