Bulldogs head to Iowa on Saturday

By Steve Sell
September 08, 2016

Saturday’s football game between McPherson College and Dordt College may look as though it’s being played in fast forward.

The 1 p.m. matchup in Sioux Center, Iowa, features two teams that are hoping to turn up-tempo into an art form.

The new-look Bulldogs, coming off an 0-10 season, unveiled a new fast-paced offense last week and outgained Nebraska Wesleyan, but didn’t outscore the Prairie Wolves in losing a narrow 34-29 decision.

Dordt came away with a 45-42 victory last week over Dakota State, running an amazing 102 plays and accumulating a staggering 593 yards of total offense.

The Bulldogs definitely caused some KCAC teams to take a second look when the final score was announced. Mac coach Paul Mierkiewicz says there’s still considerable room for improvement, but KCAC teams may pull up the “welcome” doormat that was out last year.

The Bulldogs and Prairie Wolves were tied at 17-all at the half, but 17 unanswered points by Nebraska Wesleyan offset the final 12 points of the game scored by Mac.

“We’re looking at it as a missed opportunity,” said Mierkiewicz, whose team piled up 405 yards after several games last year where it was a struggle to reach 250. “Our guys played well enough in a lot of areas to win the game. There’s those little things that we have to learn to eliminate if we’re going to win games.”

Nebraska Wesleyan scored 14 points off Mac turnovers, including a fumble in the second half to halt a potential scoring drive.

New Bulldog quarterback Ed Crouch threw for 210 yards and ran for another 56. Backs Tyrone Campbell and Zack Melius totaled 78 and 66 yards rushing, respectively, and combined for three touchdowns. Eman McNeil had 77 yards on two receptions and Jackson Goodmiller caught four balls.

Dordt, which runs a triple-option attack, had some jaw-dropping numbers. Bryce Lidtka carried 43 times for 255 yards and scored four TDs. Jason Miller had 14 catches for 223 yards. Brock Lamle was 20 of 38 for 255 yards.

“I think this week you’re going to see two teams try to go as fast as they can. I think it’s going to be a long game,” Mierkiewicz said. “Both teams are trying to get it (a play) off no more than 10 seconds off the play clock.”

Mierkiewicz said his team’s defensive performance last week was a mixed bag and it may not face an offense better than the one it will see Saturday.

“At times we were pretty good defensively and then there were times we just weren’t very sound in what we were doing,” he said. “I think we’ve got players who can make plays. We just have to focus in general.’

Ashton Serpas and Travis Steenson totaled 14 and 12 tackles, respectively, to lead the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs will make an overnight trip as they leave Friday for the 1 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.

“It’s just a great opportunity for our team to continue to come together as a family,” Mierkiewicz said. “I would say 75 percent of our guys have not been on an overnight trip.”

After this final non-conference game, the Bulldogs open KCAC play on Sept. 17 hosting Southwestern.

• Note — The game will not be carried on 96.7 KBBE this week due to the high school game on Friday and the long trip to Iowa. The last nine games will be aired.