The Alma College football team opens a three-game road trip this weekend, traveling to Holland, Mich., to face the Hope College Flying Dutchmen. Alma enters the game with wins in each of its last two outings, while the Dutch are on a three-game winning streak. The Scots are also looking to get out to their best start since the 2005 season, when they went 4-1 in their first five games.
SCOUTING THE FLYING DUTCHMEN
The preseason pick to win the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Hope is coming off of a dominating 42-20 win at defending MIAA champ Olivet College last week. The Dutchmen are averaging nearly 230 yards per game rushing, led by senior Brandan Campbell, who is third in the MIAA with a 142.3 yards per game average and has scored eight touchdowns this season. Sophomore Mason Opple averages 138.8 yards per game passing and has connected with five different receivers for his six touchdowns. His most consistent targets are the trio of sophomore Christian Bos and seniors Kurtis Slenk and Jake Kozlowski. The three have combined for four TDs and over 70 percent of the team's receptions. On defense, Hope has held opponents to under 100 yards rushing per game, led by sophomore Nick Holt and senior Griffin Weigl, both of whom have 31 tackles. Junior Tate Knapp has compiled a team-best four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss as the leader on the defensive line. The Dutchmen are coached by Peter Stuursma, who is in his second season after guiding East Grand Rapids High School to seven MHSAA titles and 13 state playoff appearances over a 16-year span.
Today's game is the 96th meeting between the Scots and Dutchmen in a series that began in 1919. Hope leads the all-time series, 59-32-4, including a 35-19 victory at Alma a year ago. The Scots were victorious in their last trip to Holland, defeating Hope by a 35-24 margin in 2016, spoiling the Dutchmen's Homecoming game and picking up their first win in Holland since the 1996 campaign.
LAST GAME – at Alma 30, Kalamazoo 10
Behind a powerful rushing game, the Scots defeated Kalamazoo College, 30-10, last Saturday in the annual Homecoming game for the Scots at Bahlke Field Alma racked up 364 yards rushing in the game and scored on runs of 75, 44 and 65 yards, building a 27-10 lead at halftime en route to their its Homecoming win since 2007. Dylan Zaborowski rushed for a career-high 167 yards and scored on a 75-yard run, while Caleb Reinhart toted the ball 13 times for 147 yards and three scores, including two scoring runs of 40 yards or more. Defensively, The Scots held the Hornets to 205 yards of offense and recorded a pair of interceptions. Colton Tyson made 11 tackles, while Dustin Tripp posted 10 tackles, including three sacks.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Dylan Zaborowski enters today's game with 49 career touchdown passes, one away from becoming the fourth player in school history to toss 50 or more scores.
- Caleb Reinhart has scored at last two touchdowns in five straight games, and has rushed for three scores in each of his last three outings.
- The last time the Scots won back-to-back games in Holland was in 1994 and 1996.
- The last time Alma opened the MIAA season 2-0 was in 2005.
- Alma has scored first in every game this season.
TRIPP NAMED MIAA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dustin Tripp was named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Week after recording 10 tackles, including a career-high three sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, in Alma's win over Kalamazoo. Tripp was part of a Scots' defense that limited the Hornets to 205 yards of total offense, including 88 yards rushing. Tripp, who also earned MIAA Defensive Player of the Week honors last year, has six sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss this season to lead the MIAA and rank fifth among NCAA Division III players in both categories. For his career, Tripp has 17 sacks, third-best in school history.
TRIPP LANDS SPOT ON D3FOOTBALL.COM TEAM OF THE WEEK
For the second time this season, an Alma College student-athlete was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week. Dustin Tripp earned a spot on the squad after his performance against Kalamazoo. Caleb Reinhart was named to the Team of the Week in Week 3, marking the first time since 2010 that Alma has had more than one player recognized nationally in the same year.
ZABOROWSKI AGAINST THE DUTCHMEN
Dylan Zaborowki is set to start his fourth career game against Hope College, and owns a 1-2 record against the Dutchmen. Against Hope, Zaborowski has completed 53 of his 102 passing attempts for 633 yards and two touchdowns while throwing three interceptions. On the ground, he has carried the ball 39 times for 152 yards and three scores. In his last trip to Ray & Sue Smith Stadium, Zaborowski threw for a career-high 441 yards.
RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM
Caleb Reinhart leads the MIAA with 11 rushing touchdowns – fifth-best in NCAA Division III – and is the league's second-leading rusher with an average of 142.8 yards per game. Reinhart was named the MIAA Offensive Player of the Week this season after a school-record 241 yards against Benedictine (Ill.), a performance that earned him a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week. Reinhart ranks 16th among NCAA III rushers and is 22nd nationally with a 6.72 yards per carry average.
I WILL RUN TO YOU
Caleb Reinhart ranks fifth among NCAA Division III players with 72 total points scored and is also third nationally with an 18.0 points per game average. In addition, he is fifth in NCAA III with 12 total touchdowns. After only four games, Reinhart is already tied for the 11th-best scoring total in Alma College history. The record is 108 points, scored by Ray Dawood in 1997.
INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN
Over the last two games, Caleb Reinhart has scored on four runs of 40 yards or more, including a career-long 65-yard run for a score last week against Kalamazoo. Of Reinhart's 11 rushing TDs this season, five have come from 11 yards out or more, while three have been from the one-yard line.
I WON'T BACK DOWN
Dylan Zaborowski, in his fourth season as the starting signal-caller for the Scots, ranks third in Alma College history in passing yards (6,706) entering this week's game. He is 1,093 yards away from second place, held by Mackenzie McGrady (2007-09). Zaborowski is the top running quarterback in Alma College history with 438 carries for 1,651 yards.
A FACE IN THE CROWD
Dylan Zaborowski became the third quarterback in Alma College history to throw for 6,000 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a career in last week's game against Kalamazoo. 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.
- With their win last week over Kalamazoo College, the Scots have now won three straight games against the Hornets, their longest streak against any of the teams from the MIAA.
- Alma has scored on the first play of a drive four times this season, and accomplished the feat three times against Kalamazoo.
- The Scots rank 14th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 275.3 yards per game.
MURRAY NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR CAMPBELL TROPHY
Senior wide receiver Lars Murray was named a semifinalist for the 2017 Campbell Trophy, awarded by the National Football Foundation to the top scholar-athlete across all divisions in college football. Murray has a 3.895 GPA and is a business administration major. The 12-14 finalists will be announced on November 1, with each finalist receiving an $18,000 post graduate scholarship.
NEXT UP ...
Alma will wrap up the non-conference portion of its schedule, traveling to Aurora, Ill., to face Aurora University. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m. ET.