The Alma College football team returns home after the conference's bye week to host the undefeated Albion College Britons on Homecoming. Today is also the opening conference game for each team — all games for both the Scots and Britons will be MIAA matches from here on out.
SCOUTING THE BRITONS
Albion is 3-0 this year thanks, in part, to one of the highest scoring offenses in the country. The Britons average 636.3 yards per game, third best in all of Division III, and score 57.3 points per game, fourth best in DIII. They defeat their opponents by an average of 29.7 points per game, though the combined record of its opponents is 3-7. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Thomas averages 306.0 passing yards per game, 14th best in Division III and over 100 yards more than second place in the MIAA. He has 12 touchdowns and two interceptions on the year and has thrown four TDs in every game this season. Their rushing offense is also among the conference's best, averaging 286.0 yards per game and scoring 10 times. The ground attack is led by senior Doug Freeman who averages 115.3 yards rushing per game, third in the MIAA. Junior Markell McCoy and Thomas contribute to the run game as well — they are 10th and 11th in the league in rushing, respectively.
Alma is 46-65-5 all-time against the Britons dating back to 1900. The Scots are also 1-8 in their last nine meetings, earning a 37-14 win over Albion in 2016 when the Scots finished 7-3.
PREVIOUSLY — at CONCORDIA WISCONSIN 26, ALMA 15
The Scots fell in their last game 26-15 to Concordia Wisconsin on Saturday, Sept. 15. Junior quarterback Mason Ippel rushed for a career- and game-high 129 yards on 21 carries (6.1 yards per carry), including a long of 30 yards. Sophomore running back Steven Sowa had two scores on the ground and junior defensive back Max Kretzschmar snagged his second interception of the season. Alma's biggest deficit in the game was just 12 points; the Falcons left the door open with three failed two-point conversions but the closest Alma got was within three.
PUTTING THE HOME IN HOMECOMING
Alma looks to start a new homecoming streak with a win today. Last year's 30-10 win over Kalamazoo snapped the Scots' nine-game losing streak in homecoming games.
- Quarterback Mason Ippel is fourth in the MIAA in passing yards per game (175.0). He is also sixth in the league in rushing (81.7 ypg) and is the highest ranked quarterback on the list.
- Wide receiver Chase Hinkle is fifth in the conference in receiving yards per game (62.7).
- Kicker Jacob Plisko owns the longest made kick in the league this season at 41 yards.
- The Scots have some of the surest tacklers in the conference. Defensive back Alex Szajko and linebackers Gunner Lamb and Zeke Ramirez are all in the top five in tackles; Szajko leads the pack with 30.0.
- Defensive back Max Kretzschmar is one of five MIAA players with two or more interceptions on the year. Of those five players, Kretzschmar is one of two that returned the interception for a touchdown.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Sophomore running back Steven Sowa and senior defensive lineman Hunter Hoffman have been named the two team captains this season. Sowa missed all of the 2017 season due to injury and looks to be one of a number of backs Alma will use to make up for the graduation of Caleb Reinhart. Hoffman played in every game in 2017 and recorded 19 tackles from the defensive line. The team has also formed a Captain Council that is made up of 20 players, two of whom will be chosen as co-captains to go along with Sowa and Hoffman for each game.
- Since 1975, the Scots are 25-18 in home-opening contests.
- Junior wide receiver Chase Hinkle had a few career-highs in the season opener at Baldwin Wallace: he put up 152 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six catches
- Junior quarterback Mason Ippel's two touchdown passes against Baldwin Wallace are twice as many as he had entering the game. Ippel saw limited action backing up four-year starter Dylan Zaborowski for the last two years.
- Ippel had a career-high 129 rushing yards against Concordia Wisconsin.
- Alma is carrying a 114-man roster this season that includes 16 seniors, 27 juniors, 28 sophomores and 43 freshmen.
- Alma has won an MIAA championship in each decade dating back to the 1900s. The Scots' last league title was in 2004.
The Scots take to the road next week to face Trine University. The Thunder are ranked 15th overall in Division III, according to the American Football Coaches Association Poll, which gets updated every Wednesday.