Ottawa a tough homecoming foe for Bulldogs

By Steve Sell
October 08, 2015

Maybe McPherson College’s football luck will change this week as the schedule shifts from night games to the day.

The Bulldogs make their first appearance under the sun on Saturday when they host defending KCAC champion Ottawa in the annual 2 p.m. homecoming game at McPherson Stadium, where a big crowd is expected to be on hand.

The Bulldogs reach the halfway mark this week with an 0-3 KCAC record and 0-4 slate overall. Ottawa started the year 0-2, but has since won two straight as it’s 2-1 in the KCAC and 2-2 overall. The conference loss came to Tabor, 43-17.

“It’s great to have a day game,” McPherson College coach Paul Mierkiewicz said. “I know it sounds crazy, but as a coach I’m not used to this many night games. It will be a nice day for football and our guys will be ready to play.”

The Braves are the third top-notch opponent in five weeks for Mac, as the Bulldogs have lost to ranked teams Doane College and Kansas Wesleyan, while Ottawa was ranked early in the season before the loss to Tabor. Kent Kessinger’s Braves appear to be finding their stride as they had to replace a galaxy of stars, but now they’re beginning to align.

“Going into the season they were young at some positions, but we’re now at the point in the season where there are no first-year players or second-year players,” Mierkiewicz said. “Guys have played enough games and gotten enough reps now. Ottawa is really hitting on all cylinders now offensively. Defensively they pose some problems with their movement.”

The Bulldogs are coming off a 48-7 loss to Kansas Wesleyan, a physical game that took its toll on several players. It could be a game-time decision on how much some of the starters play as given the team’s lack of depth, there’s a lot of bumps and bruises that are popping up more and more frequently.

Mierkiewicz said the team’s defense continues to play well until it starts to wear down. The Mac offense ranks last in the KCAC and it’s chockfull of freshmen, especially in the offensive line.

Braden Bush came up with three interceptions last week in the loss and also came up with eight tackles.