McPherson College’s Bulldogs had been hoping to enter Saturday night’s football game with nationally ranked Kansas Wesleyan undefeated in the KCAC.
Mac had opened KCAC play with a 27-20 victory over Southwestern and led Bethel 7-3 late in last week’s game before the Threshers scored a touchdown to pull out a 10-7 victory and level the Bulldogs at 1-1 in the conference.
Kansas Wesleyan is likewise 1-1 in the KCAC when the teams meet at 7 p.m. at McPherson Stadium in what is only the Bulldogs’ second home game.
Catch all the action on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Voice of the Bulldogs Matt Cole on the call. Pre-game analysis begins at 6:45.
The Coyotes, 3-1 overall, are ranked No. 14 in the country as they bounced back from their stunning 43-12 loss to Sterling in their KCAC opener to swamp Southwestern, 63-13.
Mac coach Paul Mierkiewicz, whose team is 1-3 overall, said the loss to Bethel was a missed opportunity.
“It really was,” he said. “Guys that normally don’t drop balls were dropping balls, guys who are pretty sure tacklers for us weren’t making tackles.”
The Bulldogs’ offense, among the KCAC’s best through three weeks, suffered through a malfunction. While it ran the ball well, the high-octane aerial attack was grounded with just over 100 yards.
“I give them credit. Their defensive line played extremely well and got a lot of pressure on the quarterback,” Mierkiewicz said. “They put a nice game plan together. Those linebackers just kind of watched Ed (Bulldog quarterback Crouch) and what he did and just made plays. I didn’t do a very good job of getting our wide receivers involved. But we had guys open on the inside that needed to catch the ball.”
The Mac defense, led by tackling machine Travis Steenson, has allowed only one touchdown over the last seven quarters, but it’ll be trying to stop a Coyote offense that features some of the best athletes in the KCAC.
“They’re just as athletic as they were in the past. They’ll get up and down the field,” Mierkiewicz said. “We’ve just got to make plays. I don’t anticipate it being a 10-7 game. They’re actually a little more athletic at quarterback than last year, this young man (Wesley Geiser) can make plays. They’re very athletically defensively and will bring a lot of pressure.”
The Coyotes have speed to burn in the skill positions, so it’s imperative the defense doesn’t miss tackles or it could be a long night. Former Bethany Swede LonDarius Thomas has flourished since transferring and another Swede transfer, Kelton Evans, has big-play ability. They also have one of the top freshmen backs in the KCAC in Demarco Prewitt, who is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.