OTTAWA — McPherson College has probably clinched the title of the KCAC’s hard-luck football team and there’s still 5 weeks left in the season.
Maybe the toughest loss yet for Mac occurred on Saturday when Ottawa’s Kyle Wotuch kicked a 21-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the game to give the Braves a wild 55-52 victory in which they overcame a 14-point deficit at one point in the fourth quarter.
Mac fell to 1-4 in the KCAC and 1-5 overall. Three of the losses are by a total of 11 points.
Ottawa outscored Mac 27-14 in the fourth quarter as the two well-oiled offenses simply wore down the defenses, as neither could hardly get a stop in a game that produced 176 plays and more than 1,000 total yards.
“I feel so bad for our kids,” said Mac coach Paul Mierkiewicz, whose team now has lost one game by five points and two more by a field late in a game, not to mention they were right there in their other two losses in the fourth quarter. “These kids have practiced hard, they’ve battled, they’re resilient. We’re just missing on the little things to win games. We’re up 14 and we just started losing track of the quarterback... we’ll get home, look at the film and we’re excited about the opportunity to play again.”
The Bulldogs seemingly had taken command of the game when Ed Crouch raced 67 yards with 8:12 left to give them a 45-31 lead. But OU, aided by a turnover, scored 14 points in just over a minute to get it tied at 45, then the Braves took the lead at 52-45.
Crouch again brought the Bulldogs back as he scored with 1:15 to go, but it took only a minute for Braves to race down the field to set up the winning field goal.
It was another amazing game for Crouch and Tyrone Campbell, who have hoisted the offense on their backs. They were the only two Bulldogs to carry the ball, with Campbell running for 120 yards on 16 carries and he scored twice. Crouch rushed for 119 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing for another 218.
Justin Fagan caught a TD pass and Braden Bush had a 79-yard fumble recovery return. Calef Contreras kicked a 34-yard field goal for good measure.
The overall numbers were staggering. OU ran a mind-boggling 100 plays and totaled 660 yards, while the Bulldogs snapped it 76 times for 457 yards. The Bulldogs picked off six passes in the game as Bush had two, while Michael Rabara, Dominic DeLuca, Isaac Murphy and Devontae Emery had one each. Rabara and Travis Steenson shared the tackle lead with 13. Dalton Whitfield had three tackles for losses.
Mac is home on Saturday to play Friends in the annual homecoming game. The Falcons also lost on a last-second field goal Saturday, 45-42 to Kansas Wesleyan.
• STATS •
First Downs — 21, 30. Rushes-Yards — 32-239; 68-487. Passing — 19-44-2-218; 1732-6-173. Punts-Avg. — 7-36.0; 3-37.7. Fumbles-Lost — 1-1, 3-1. Penalties — 3-22, 11-81.
• LEADERS •
• Rushing •
Mac — Campbell 18, 120, Crouch 16-119.
Ottawa — Byers 20-179, Paul-Davis 34-167, Lively 6-61, Whittaker 2-56.
• Passing •
Mac — Crouch 19-44-1-218.
OU — Walter 13-24-4-136, Byers, 4-8-2-37.
• Receiving •
Mac — Giron 5-81, Schmidt 3-53, Fagan 5-44, Wolters 3-22, Campbell 2-11, Goodmiller 1-7.
OU — Polk 3-45, Paul-Davis 4-42, Uribe 5-38, Stewart 1-23, Whittaker 2-22, Garcia 1-3.