The Alma College football team will play its final game of the 2017 season this afternoon, traveling to Adrian, Mich., to face the Adrian College Bulldogs. The Scots are looking to snap a three-game slide in today's contest, as well as stop a four-game losing streak against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association foes.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Adrian enters this week after posting a 33-22 victory at Olivet College last Saturday (Nov. 4), denying the Comets a chance at a share of the MIAA championship. The Bulldogs are led by senior Clayton Uecker, who has thrown for 1,450 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing over 59 percent of his passes. Junior Jerron McGaw, is Uecker's favorite target, catching 64 passes for 1,114 yards and nine scores to lead the MIAA in both categories. McGaw was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week after his 10-catch, 214-yard performance last week against Olivet. On the ground, junior Emmanuel Stewart is the lead back, rushing for an MIAA-best 1,294 yards while scoring 15 TDs. Senior David Nutter also factors into Adrian's ground game and averages over 87 yards per appearance with six scores. Defensively, junior Chris Adams leads the team in tackles with 55, while senior Damon Fuller has posted a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss and is tied with senior Jacob Clark for the team lead in sacks with five. Jim Deere, a 1989 graduate of Adrian, is in his eighth season as head coach of the Bulldogs and owns a pair of MIAA championships.
According to Alma records, Saturday's meeting is the 79th meeting between the Scots and Bulldogs in a series that began in 1911. Alma holds a 47-30-1 advantage in the series, but Adrian has won nine of the last 10 outings. Last season, the Scots posted a 31-27 victory at Bahlke Field, with Caleb Reinhart scoring the game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds to play. The Scots' last victory in Adrian came during the 2005 campaign.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Alma is looking for its first win in Adrian since 2005. The Scots have never won at Docking Stadium.
- Head Coach Greg Pscodna is a 1986 graduate of Adrian College and is still ranked among the top baseball players in Bulldogs' history. Pscodna was the MIAA batting champion in 1986, hitting .500 for Adrian in conference play.
- Alma's offensive line of Fischer Klein, John Aloisi, Dakota Jelinek, Ian Hickerson and Jacob Headlee has paved the way for 2,056 yards rushing this season. With an average of 228 yards rushing per game, the Scots are on pace to become one of of the top rushing teams in school history. The 2017 squad is already one of seven teams to log 2,000 yards on the ground, and enters today's game 218 yards away from posting the most rushing yards since the 1969 team's 2,430 rushing yards.
- The offensive line has also been responsible for 100-yard rushing games by four different backs this season. Dylan Zaborowski has recorded three 100-yard efforts, Caleb Reinhart has hit that mark twice, while Austin Spratling and Thomas Cannon have each posted one 100-yard game.
LAST GAME – No. 25 Trine 41, at Alma 6
The Scots dropped a 41-6 decision to No. 25 Trine University in a rain-soaked affair on Saturday (Nov. 4) at Bahlke Field. The Thunder scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to secure a share of its first MIAA championship. The weather played a significant factor in the first half, as the Scots and Thunder played through the rain to a 6-6 tie at the break. In the second half, the weather cleared up and Trine took charge, scoring three times in a five-minute span to pull away. Dylan Zaborowski scored Alma's only touchdown and ran the ball 24 times for a team-high 84 yards. He also completed 11 of 26 passes for 128 yards. Lamar Carswell paced the Thunder with 217 yards and four touchdowns, scoring on runs of 1-, 28-, 74- and 44-yards. Evan Wyse also rushed for 107 yards and scored once while also going 6-for-11 for 125 yards and a TD. Zac Peterson led Alma with 7 tackles while John Martinez tallied a game-high three tackles for loss. The Scots honored 21 seniors prior to the game as Alma played its final home game of the 2017 season.
RUSHING LEADER ...
Despite missing most of a four-game stretch due to injury, Caleb Reinhart is tied for fourth in the MIAA with 11 rushing touchdowns and is the league's fourth-leading rusher with an average of 112.9 yards per game. With only seven games played, Reinhart is tied for the 11th-best single-season scoring total in Alma history with 72 points.
Dustin Tripp owns a MIAA-best 12.5 sacks this season and ranks third among NCAA Division III players with a 1.39 sacks per game average. Tripp, whose 23.5 career sacks are the most in Alma College history, is also 20th nationally with an average of 1.8 tackles for loss per game. In addition, Tripp is 4.5 sacks shy of the single-season school record of 17, set by Justin Harris in 1999.
DUAL-THREAT QB ...
Dylan Zaborowski, in his fourth season as the starting signal-caller for the Scots, ranks third in Alma College history in passing yards (7,418) entering this week's game. He is 382 yards away from second place, held by Mackenzie McGrady (2007-09). Zaborowski is the top running quarterback in Alma College history with 553 carries for 2,079 yards. Among active NCAA III players, Zaborowski is second among quarterbacks that have thrown for at least 4,000 yards and run for at least 1,000 yards. In addition, he ranks ninth among dual-threat quarterbacks across all NCAA divisions.
ZABOROWSKI AMONG THE NCAA'S BEST ...
According to the lastest NCAA statistics, Dylan Zaborowski leads all active players in NCAA III for total plays, taking part in 1,698 plays during his four year career. That mark also ranks seventh among active players across all NCAA divisions. In addition, Zaborowski is fourth among active NCAA III players with 9,492 yards of total offense. Zaborowski also ranks 10th for career passing yards with 7,418.
- The Scots have been in the lead or tied at halftime in six of their nine games. Alma is 4-0 when leading at the break.
- Alma has taken the fewest penalties of any team in the MIAA, and ranks 13th in NCAA III for fewest infractions.
- Dylan Zaborowski ranks fourth in the MIAA for passing yards per game (147.2) and is fifth with 10 touchdown passes.
- Colton Tyson is the MIAA's fourth-ranked tackler with 10.5 stops per game while Zac Peterson is fifth with a 9.5 tackles per game average. Tyson missed last week's game and is out for the rest of the season due to injury.
- Zac Peterson has 83 tackles, 17 shy of the 100 mark, with one game to play. Peterson has recorded 100 or more tackles in each of the last two campaigns and is one of two players in Alma College history to accomplish that feat. No Alma College player has ever posted three 100-tackle seasons. Peterson is on pace to lead the Scots in tackles for the third straight year.
Alma is scheduled to open the 2018 season on Thursday, Aug. 30, with a road game against Baldwin Wallace University (OH). The Scots home opener for next season is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, when Manchester University (IN) visits Bahlke Field for a 6 p.m. kickoff.