For McPherson College and Bethany College, Saturday’s intracounty football matchup in Lindsborg is going to feel like the first game of the season.
It seems like it’s been months since both teams opened their seasons with a victory back on Sept. 2, Mac 43-14 over Texas Wesleyan and Bethany 36-23 over Briar Cliff.
Following those wins, both teams had last week off.
They’ll finally get into a routine on Saturday as neither has an off week the rest of the season. Kickoff is 7:00 at Anderson Field.
The last time the teams met, in 2016’s final game of the season, the Swedes ran off the field in jubilation after James Augusta boomed a 46-yard field goal on the game’s final play for an 18-15 victory. The Bulldogs had led much of the game, but the Swedes tied it in the fourth quarter with a touchdown and 2-point conversion.
Both teams have been picked near the bottom of the KCAC, but there are some observers who believe the Swedes might be the surprise team in the conference.
Both coaches are in their third year, Paul Mierkiewicz at Mac and Paul Hubbard at Bethany. So far Hubbard is 2-0 in the series, though Mierkiewicz has basically had to build the Mac program from scratch as he inherited only two dozen players from the previous coaching staff.
With a cadre of transfers and quality returning players, the Swedes have the makings of an explosive offense. Quarterback Isaiah Salazar threw for more than 300 yards against Briar Cliff and Michael Wimberly may very well be the KCAC’s best receiver.
Mac counters with elusive quarterback Ed Crouch and running back Tyrone Campbell, two of the KCAC’s best at their positions. But the Mac offensive line will be put to the test as even though the Bulldogs did score 43 points in their first game, Crouch had very little time to throw and expect the Swedes to bring the heat.
Both teams have many new players on the defensive side and this game should be a true indicator of the rebuilding process on that side of the ball.
The winner of the game is assured of being in a five-way tie for first place in the KCAC as conference play begins for every team.