WICHITA — It had taken McPherson College’s Bulldogs 306 minutes and 47 seconds to grab its first lead of the season.
In a matter of 19 seconds, it was gone like dust in the wind. And so were their chances for their first victory of the year on Saturday.
An efficient, game-opening drive produced a 29-yard Jake Weigel field goal and a 3-0 Mac lead, but on the ensuing kickoff Friends’ Brevin Ghorman returned it 80 yards for a touchdown to deflate the Bulldogs, who never recovered emotionally.
While Mac did hang around for a half, trailing only 17-3, the Falcons’ physicality took over in the second half for a 45-5 victory. Friends outweighed the Bulldogs by about 40 pounds a man at the line of scrimmage and basically spent the game pushing the young Mac team around.
Mac’s only other points came on a fourth-quarter safety on a bad snap on a punt that Friends’ Kolby Gregory couldn’t handle.
In between the Bulldogs’ field goal and their safety, it was another day where the offense left the defense on the field far too long. DeAvonte Doucet did record Mac’s first 100-yard rushing game of the season with 113 yards on 26 carries, but the passing game produced only 39 yards as quarterback Chris Linnin was under siege as he finished minus-48 yards after being repeatedly sacked.
“We had a lot of opportunities, but we struggled to protect the quarterback,” said Mac coach Paul Mierkiewicz, whose team is 0-4 in the KCAC and 0-6 overall. “When we got people open, we couldn’t put the ball where it needed to be. It was a tough struggle.”
Mac held the Falcons in check in the first half, but eventually wore down. Jesse Rogers ran for 137 yards to lead the Falcons, who had 327 on the ground but only 45 through the air. The Falcons’ defense contributed a pick-six as well by Jacob Adelman.
The Bulldogs stay on the road Saturday to play at Saint Mary.
• STATS •
First Downs — 9, 19. Rushes-Yards — 34-65, 55-327. Passing — 4-24-3-39; 7-17-0-45. Fumbles-Lost — 0-0, 0-0. Penalties-Yards — 6-40, 6-37. Punts-Avg. — 9-33.3; 2-43.5.
• LEADERS •
• Rushing •
Mac — Doucet 26-113.
Friends — Rogers 23-137.
• Passing •
Mac — Linnin 4-24-3-39.
Friends — Darling 4-12-0-28.
• Receiving •
Mac — Ramos 3-26.
Friends — Wesley 3-24.