Bulldogs looking for first road win

By Steve Sell
October 20, 2017

McPherson College’s football team has been unbeatable at home and unwinnable on the road.

The end result is a .500 record as the Bulldogs are 3-0 at McPherson Stadium and 0-3 on the road, but in two of those games they’ve had the lead, even a 21-point lead at KCAC quad-leader Kansas Wesleyan in the second half before losing in overtime.

The Bulldogs are on the road for the fourth time in the last six games on Saturday when they travel to Wichita to take on the Friends Falcons, who have won the last five games of this series.

Kickoff at Adair Austin Stadium is 1:30 p.m.

McPherson and Friends are in a four-way tie for the “second division” lead. There are four teams at the top at 4-1 in Kansas Wesleyan, Tabor, Sterling and Bethany. Then Mac and Friends headline the next grouping at 2-3, which also includes Saint Mary and Ottawa.

The Bulldogs will have only Saint Mary left to play after Saturday among those second-division teams before closing against Tabor and Sterling.

For the first time in 15 years, the Bulldogs will be preparing for a Falcon team not coached by Monty Lewis. Friends let go the highly popular coach after last season despite turning out winning season after winning season and replaced him with Dion Meneley.

The Falcons are better than their 2-5 overall record indicates. Of their three KCAC losses, one was in triple overtime against Ottawa, another was by a point to Sterling and then last week played Kansas Wesleyan close before losing 26-13.

The game matches the team with the KCAC’s best offense, McPherson, against the No. 1 KCAC defense, Friends. The Bulldogs, despite injuries that have kept out stars Ed Crouch and Tyrone Campbell, have averaged 38 points a game and average a yard under 400 at 399.

Friends is No. 1 by a large margin in least number of yards allowed (308) and is third scoring defense (22.4).

Mac achieved its most significant win of the year last week when it knocked off Ottawa 44-30 as backup quarterback Jake Tiernan was highly efficient, good enough to be the KCAC Offensive Player of the Week. It’s unclear if Crouch will be available this week because of a shoulder injury, but either way the Bulldogs have been scoring a lot of points.

The Mac defense was tremendous against the run last week, allowing only 31 yards on 40 carries, but struggled against the pass, something the Falcons are doing quite well with 214 yards a game. Friends does have the KCAC’s No. 1 rusher in Noah Diaz, who is averaging 126 yards a game as a freshman.

Mac’s Charles Tisby was named KCAC Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday after a 10-tackle, 3-sack, 1-fumble recovered performance.