WINFIELD — McPherson College football coach Paul Mierkiewicz was pointing a finger at only one person following the Bulldogs’ 33-7 loss to Southwestern College on Saturday in the KCAC opener for both teams.
“It starts with me as the offensive play caller,” said Mierkiewicz, whose team started six freshmen on the offensive side against an experienced Southwestern defense. “I, as the play caller, this is 100 percent on me. I don’t think physically we were manhandled. I did not do a very good job of calling plays and putting people in positions where they can make plays. We are not doing a very good job of getting Ste’fon Walker the ball in space as much as we need to and couldn’t shake Zach (Boyd) loose.”
The Bulldogs’ offense was virtually nonexistent as it possessed the football for only 18:39 compared to 41:21 for the Builders, and finished the game with just 128 yards on 45 plays.
Freshman Chris Linnin got the start at quarterback this week and was 10 of 21 for just 59 yards and Walker, an All-KCAC preseason pick, had just two catches for 15 yards. Boyd, who rushed for 98 yards in the season opener against nationally ranked Doane, had nowhere to go with just 27 yards on 12 carries and for the game the Bulldogs had only seven first downs.
The bright spot was Dalton Whitfield, who accounted for Mac’s only points on a 57-yard fumble return in the third quarter and also led the team with 14 tackles. Former Smoky Valley star Greg Elvin came up with 13 tackles even though he’s just a freshman, while Michael Rabara also had 13 and Bradley Campbell came up with 12.
Southwestern, which had scored 15 points total in its first two games, scored just before the half to lead 24-0 and its defense then teed off against the Bulldogs’ undersized and inexperienced offensive line in the second half.
Southwestern had 306 yards rushing while the Bulldogs defended the pass to just 82 yards.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Bulldogs, who return home Saturday to take on Bethel, which turned a few heads last night with come-from-behind 30-23 upset of favored Bethany College.
• STATISTICS •
Mac Listed First
First Downs — 7, 23. Rushes-Yards — 24-69; 58-306. Passing — 10-21-2-59; 6-15-1-82. Punts-Avg. — 5-28.0; 2-34.0. Fumbles-Lost — 1-0, 1-1. Penalties-Yards — 2-12, 9-80.
• INDIVIDUAL LEADERS •
Mac — Boyd 12-27, Doucet 7-24.
Southwestern — Bradford 17-90.
Mac — Linnin 10-21-2-59.
Southwestern — Langston 6-15-1-82.
Mac — Ramos 3-16, Walker 2-24.
Southwestern — Mose 2-34.