France’s option offense rolled up 285 yards on the ground and four touchdowns and the French defense forced six Sweden turnovers en route to a 41:0 win in the opening second round game at the IFAF Under-19 World Championship at Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas on Tuesday.
The French finished with 303 yards in total offense and a 15-minute advantage in time of possession.
France set an IFAF U19 World Championship record with three interceptions and equaled a record with three forced fumbles. Defensively they limited Sweden to just 98 yards in total offense on 34 plays.
"Our defense did a really, really, really good job, probably better than the offense," said France quarterback Mathias Soler. "Every time they were on the field Sweden did nothing. They made a lot of amazing plays today."
Playing into a steady 15 mph wind in the first quarter France opened the game with a clock-churning 14 play drive, that moved 80 yards – 73 on the ground – and used up the first 7:15 of the opening quarter before Nicolas Khandar found the end zone from 10 yards out for a 7:0 France lead.
Sweden drove to the France 24 on its opening drive but kicker Linus Carlbom’s 41-yard field goal attempt was wide left to end the drive.
France wasted little time on its next drive, moving 76 yards in three plays with 72 coming on a run by Asnnel Robo to the Sweden 1-yard line on second down. Khandar went the final yard for the score and France led 14:0 with 11:15 left in the second quarter.
The French defense found the end zone on Sweden’s third drive when defensive lineman Mamoudou Sy stepped in front of a pass from Sweden’s Kevin Dillman and returned it 14 yards for a score and a 21:0 lead with 3:43 left in the first half.
Christopher Guillen entered the game at quarterback on Sweden’s next drive and was promptly intercepted by Enzo Rosani, who returned the ball to the Sweden 28-yard line with 1:50 left in the half. Three play later Jacques Bessot snuck a 38-yard field goal over the crossbar to give France a 24:0 lead at the break.
Sweden’s woes continued at the start of the second half as it failed to cover France’s opening kickoff and Antoine My fell on the ball for the French at Sweden’s 30-yard line. Six plays later Talharn Fevre found the end zone from two yards out to up the French lead to 31:0 midway through the third quarter.
Maxime Venot-Petit intercepted Dillman on Sweden’s next series to set France up at Sweden’s 31. Six plays later Fevre scored from seven yards out for a 38:0 France lead.
France extended the lead to 41-0 midway through the fourth quarter on a 39-yard field goal by Bessot.
Quarterback Mathias Soler earned MVP honors for France as he deftly directed France’s option attack to its first 31 points of the day. Defensive tackle David Strobel was named Sweden’s player of the game, finishing with six tackles and 1.5 sacks on the day.
"I thought we were much better prepared in all aspects of the game today – offense, defense and special teams," said France head coach Olivier Moret. "I thought it was really important to show our true level and I think we did today. We had something to prove."
"We knew Mathias (Soler) was half running back, half quarterback, which is why we made the switch to the triple option system this year. He did a good job reading his keys and making decisions today."
France will face American Samoa for the fifth place game on July 6. Sweden will face Panama in the seventh place game on July 6.
"That was a bad one," admitted Sweden head coach Mats Hagsten. "It felt like every time we did nine things right, the 10th thing went wrong and it was the 10th thing that really hurt us. We’ve got a game left. Tomorrow, we have a rehab day, relax, take the kids out and do some stuff with them. We’ll practice Friday again and get ready to play the last game."
U-19 IFAF World Chamionship
France vs. Sweden 41:0
July 3rd 2012 5pm, Burger Stadium Austin,TX