TAMPA — Alonso quarterback C.J. Bennett attempted 56 passes and threw for 289 yards Friday at Hillsborough, but he wasn't even the best quarterback on the field. That honor belonged to the Terriers' Tarean Austin.
In a sight that was a bit surreal considering Hillsborough is known for its grind-it-out offense, the junior signal caller was 10-of-17 for 310 yards and three scores as the Terriers rolled to a 41-14 win.
"I felt real comfortable tonight," Austin said. "The offensive line gave me time, and I hit my receivers. Everybody knows us for our running game, but we proved tonight we can throw."
On the game's first play from scrimmage, Austin dropped back and launched a bomb down the right sideline to Charles Lovett for a 68-yard score.
"We wanted to jump on their butts early," Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said. "We wanted to take any hope from them."
Early in the second quarter, Austin connected for another touchdown with Lovett, this time on a 40-yard play, which helped the Terriers (2-0) go ahead 17-0. Midway through the third, Austin struck again with a 34-yard scoring strike to tailback Lindsey Lamar, who rushed for 118 yards and had a 78-yard scoring run.
"He stepped his game up tonight," Terriers offensive tackle Darren Baker said of Austin.
The same can be said of Lovett. Only a sophomore, his four catches totaled 165 yards. Teammate Colby Walden had four receptions for 72 yards.
While Austin was completing lengthy passes, Bennett gained his yards mostly with short, efficient passes. He completed 34 of his attempts (15 to running back Jesse Anaya and seven to Kory Strassberg). The problem for Alonso (1-1) wasn't gaining yards — it was finishing drives.
Credit the Hillsborough defense — namely safety Terrence Mitchell, who was everywhere — for that.
"We had some chances," Bennett said. "We were moving the ball. But they're a good defense. They're going to make plays, and they did."