The Alma College football team continues its three-game homestand this afternoon, welcoming Benedictine University (IL) to Bahlke Field. The game is part of a challenge series between the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, with all the MIAA teams hosting NACC schools this weekend.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
Benedictine enters today's game after a 29-7 victory at St. Norbert College (WI) last weekend, which marked its first win of the season. The Eagles opened the year with a 57-14 road loss to sixth-ranked Wheaton College (IL). Ryan Sample will handle signal-calling duties for Benedictine, and is averaging over 260 yards per game through the air. His favorite targets are Brandon Moore and Dean Pauley, both of whom have 12 catches. Moore leads the team with 225 receiving yards and is coming off a 181-yard, two-touchdown performance against St. Norbert. In the backfield, Joshua Williams is the featured runner, averaging 49 yards per game with one score. On defense, Danny Drummond has tallied a team-best 17 tackles, including five tackles for loss and two sacks, while also recovering one fumble.
Today's game is the eighth meeting between the Scots and Eagles in a series that began in 1988. Alma leads the all-time series, 4-3, but has not faced Benedictine since the 1995 campaign.
This year marks the sixth season of the MIAA-NACC Football Challenge. Entering this weekend, the MIAA holds a 25-10 advantage in those games, including a 24-4 mark since 2013. When the Challenge is played on the campuses of MIAA schools, the MIAA is a dominating 13-1. Alma is 3-2 all-time in the MIAA-NACC Challenge and enters today's game with three straight victories.
LAST GAME - Manchester 33, at Alma 31
The Scots suffered a 33-31 defeat at the hands of Manchester University (IN) last Saturday night (Sept. 9) in Alma's home opener at Bahlke Field. The Scots were driving in Manchester territory with under a minute to play, but the Spartans forced a turnover to seal the victory. Caleb Reinhart scored a career-high three touchdowns and ran for 84 yards, including the game's first two scores to put Alma ahead 14-0, while Austin Spratling scored his first career touchdown on his first career carry to pull the Scots within two points late in the fourth quarter. Zac Peterson posted a game-high 15 tackles, while senior Colton Tyson made 21 stops for Alma.
MOVING INTO ELITE COMPANY
Senior QB Dylan Zaborowski, in his fourth season as the starting signal-caller for the Scots, ranks third in Alma College history in passing yards (6,490) entering this week's game. Zaborowski moved into third place last week against Manchester, surpassing Steve Slowski, who recorded 6,363 yards from 1999-2002. Zaborowski comes into today's game with 6,490 passing yards, 1,309 away from second place, held by Mackenzie McGrady (2007-09).
JOIN THE CLUB
With 1,426 career rushing yards, Zaborowski enters today's game 74 yards away from becoming the third quarterback in Alma College history to throw for 6,000 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a career. Josh Brehm, the Gagliardi Trophy winner in 2006 and QB for the Scots from 2003-06, and Mackenzie McGrady, who started under center from 2007-09, are the other two in the 6,000/1,500 club.
RUSHING TO THE TOP
Caleb Reinhart leads the MIAA and ranks fourth among NCAA Division III players with five rushing touchdowns, and ranks second in the league with a 91.5 yards per game average. Reinhart has scored at least two touchdowns in each of his last three games, dating back to the 2016 season finale against Adrian College.
- Dylan Zaborowski, with 47 career touchdown passes, is three tosses away from becoming the fourth player in Alma College history to throw for 50 or more scores.
- Early into the season, Chase Hinkle ranks sixth in NCAA Division III with a punt return average of 26.7 yards. Hinkle returned a punt for a career-best 66 yards against Manchester to set up the Scots' second score of the game.
- Colton Tyson has tallied 10 or more tackles in each of his last five games, dating back to last season.
- Alex Yancy posted a career-high 89 yards receiving against Manchester, while Zeke Ramirez collected his first career interception in last Saturday's game.
- Cameron Lee posted a career-high nine tackles against the Spartans.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Senior wide receiver Lars Murray, senior linebacker Zac Peterson and senior defensive lineman Dustin Tripp have been selected to serve as captains for the 2017 campaign. Murray is a three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and has been a regular among Alma's wide receivers corps for the past two seasons while Tripp has been a part of the Scots' defensive line for the past three campaigns. Peterson, Alma's tackling leader for the last two years, enters 2017 after back-to-back 100-stop seasons.
NEXT UP ...
Alma will have the week off next week before returning to Bahlke Field on Saturday, Sept. 30, to host Kalamazoo College in the annual Homecoming game. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m.