Olivet, Mich. - The Alma College football team fell 37-34 in a tightly contested battle with Olivet College on Saturday (Nov. 3). The Scots pulled out all the stops during the game, recovering an onside kick and converting a fake punt as part of two fourth-down conversions.
Junior quarterback Mason Ippel (Jenison, Mich. / Jenison) had arguably his best day of the season for the Scots (1-8, 0-6 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association). He completed 19 of 34 passes for 223 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Junior wide receiver Chase Hinkle (Concord, Mich. / Concord) also had a huge day with eight receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore running back Steven Sowa (Lincoln Park, Mich. / St. Frances Cabrini) had 14 carries for 67 yards and a score.
Olivet's (6-3, 4-2 MIAA) two-headed rushing attack was in full effect. Matthew Ellis and Jamaul Martin combined for 258 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries. The two backs had long runs of 36 and 29 yards in the contest. Quarterback Lane Porter went 18-for-25 with 222 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
How it Happened
- Jamaul Martin had a pair of 29-yard rushes on the opening possession of the game, the second one for a score.
- The Scots responded with a 78-yard scoring drive of their own. They leaned on the running game with two 11-yard runs to get into scoring position. There, Ippel found Hinkle for a 44-yard touchdown to tie the game.
- Two Comet possessions later, Alma forced a fumble at Olivet's 37-yard line. The Scots got to the 14-yard line - thanks mostly to a 15-yard pass interference penalty - before settling for a field goal to take a 10-7 lead.
- Olivet's next drive was all Jamaul Martin — he had eight rushes for 35 yards and a seven-yard score to put the Comets back on top.
- Alma again settled for a field goal on its next drive. It began the drive with three 10-yard plays and converted two third downs right at the sticks, but was stopped at the 10 after two incompletions from Ippel looking for Hinkle in the back left corner of the end zone.
- Olivet scored just before halftime on an eight-yard rush. Twice the Comets faced 2nd and 20 situations and twice they converted, including a 35-yard pass to get down to the Alma 13 yard line. Matthew Ellis capped the drive with the score.
- Olivet began the second half with a six-minute drive but could only get a field goal out of it. Alma responded with an eight-play touchdown drive that featured Sowa on six carries, including a three-yard score to bring the Scots back to within four at 24-20. Olivet was called for a personal foul penalty that was enforced on the kickoff.
- Alma ran and recovered an onside kick after the score. A face mask penalty brought the Scots down to Olivet's 23-yard line and a 20-yard pass to Hinkle got them down to the three but Austin Spratling (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Wyoming Kelloggsville) was dropped for a 10-yard loss. Facing 3rd and 18, Ippel sent a pass in the direction of Tyler Mrock (Port Huron, Mich. / Cardinal Mooney Catholic) who was single covered and streaking up the right sideline. Mrock high-pointed the ball and came down with his first career touchdown to give the Scots a 27-24 lead.
- Olivet's next drive exclusively featured Matthew Ellis. He had eight rushes, including runs of 36 and 21 yards, and one reception, but the Comets could not convert his production to points - Douglas Pollard missed a 27-yard field goal wide left.
- Alma followed with a three-and-out and its punt was blocked and recovered at its 13-yard line. The Scots stopped Olivet on three plays, setting up a 4th and 11 that saw Porter find Nick Thomas in the near-right corner of the end zone to retake the lead. Alma would block the extra point to maintain a one-possession deficit at 30-27.
- On its next possession, Alma faced a 4th and 4 on their own 34 when it ran a fake punt that saw Calen Gilling (Gaylord, Mich. / Gaylord St. Mary) find Mrock for 28 yards. The gamble paid off, as the Scots scored on on a screen pass to Joseph Schaefer (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) with 3:26 remaining. The extra point made it 34-30.
- Olivet scored on a long pass to Jacob Jodway, who got past Alma's secondary with a double move, to take a 37-34 lead with 1:33 remaining.
- Alma drove down the field on its next drive, converting a 4th and five at Olivet's 40ish-yard line. Two plays later, Devin Pascavage intercepted Ippel when he came off his man to deflect Ippel's pass to himself. A kneel down ended the game.
- This was Mason Ippel's best statistical game since Sept. 8 against Manchester. His three touchdown passes are a season and career-high.
- Tyler Mrock caught two passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. All three were career-highs.
- Olivet was 8-of-12 on third downs. Alma was 5-of-12.
- The Comets were called for 11 penalties for 110 yards.
What He Said
"Today was another great day to be a Scot. Every player gave everything they had for each other. Although we lost by a couple points, we got better today as a team."
- Head Coach Jason Couch
Alma closes the regular season at MIAA newcomer Finlandia next Saturday (Nov. 10) at 1 p.m.