SALINA — Sometimes you have to overlook the obvious.
It was evident McPherson College’s defense offered up little resistance to No. 21-ranked Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday, giving up 585 yards in a 48-7 loss, the Bulldogs’ fourth straight to open season.
But Mac defensive back Braden Bush did all he could to certainly put himself in line for future KCAC honors.
Bush came up with three interceptions, returning one of them 75 yards for a touchdown. He also was in on eight tackles, seven of them being solo.
He was one of two players in the game with three picks, as former Friends Falcon Tyrone Wright also came up with three thefts for the Coyotes.
Bush was about the only Bulldog bright spot on a night Kansas Wesleyan dedicated its new Graves Stadium, which came with a price tag of $7.5 million as the school now has the best facilities in the conference and it’s not even close. The Mabee Arena also is the best basketball facility in the conference, bar none.
Former McPherson Bulldogs Miles Balthazor and Kelly Cordova shined for the Coyotes. Both were with the Bulldogs last year, but chose to leave and are among a group of other KCAC players who have found a new home and success with the Coyotes.
Balthazor ran for a team-high 63 yards and a touchdown and also latched on to five passes for another 119 yards. Cordova had four carries for a second-best 57 yards and caught three passes for 23 yards, while going 6 for 6 on PATs.
Former Bethany Swede Londarious Thomas had a 69-yard touchdown return for the Coyotes as well as a 2-point conversion. Another former Swede, Marcus Bradley, had a good game defensively as did another former Friends Falcon Sequente Marks, who was first-team KCAC last year.
Jake Curran, the KCAC Offensive Player of the Week for the past three weeks, could make it four in a row. He was 26 of 37 for 388 yards and four touchdowns, though Bush was his nemesis.
As for the Mac offense, its lack of experience and size in the offensive line led to quarterback Chris Linnin getting sacked six times. When he did have time to throw, he was 13 of 24 for 140 yards, but was picked off three times. Backup RJ Garza was sacked two times as well as Mac had lost plays totaling 60 yards.
Ryan Lakso, who had two touchdowns last week, ran hard with 37 yards on 14 carries. DeAvonte Doucet was targeted by the Coyote defense and held to 24 yards on 12 carries after having a good game last week.
Mac reaches the halfway point of its season this Saturday when Ottawa comes to town for homecoming. Former McPherson College basketball coach Roger Trimmell and former Bulldog hoop great Jonathan Coachman will be inducted into the Mac Hall of Fame during the day.
• STATS •
Mac Listed First
First Downs — 13, 28. Rushes-Yards — 43-54; 30-197. Passing — 15-28-3-179; 26-37-3-388. Punts-Avg. — 5-48.4; 1-41.0. Fumbles-Lost — 4-2; 2-2. Penalties-Yards — 9-96, 9-109.
• INDIVIDUAL LEADERS •
Mac — Lakso 14-37, Doucet 12-24.
KW — Balthazor 16-63, Cordova 4-57.
Mac — Linnin 13-24-3-140, Garza 1-3-0-11, Ramos 1-1-0-28.
KW — Curran 26-37-3-388.
Mac — Ramos 4-46, Doucet 3-17, Walker 2-39, Fagan 2-37.
KW — Geason 6-89, Balthazor 5-119.