McPherson College’s Bulldogs can upset the KCAC applecart on Saturday.
The Bulldogs wrap up their 2017 football season at McPherson Stadium when they host KCAC co-leader Sterling, which needs to win to qualify for the NAIA playoffs.
It’s Senior Day for the Bulldogs, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.
Sterling is already focused to begin with since the playoffs are on the line, but the Warriors no doubt took notice of the Bulldogs’ effort last week when they played the other KCAC co-leader, Tabor, to a 29-29 standoff after three quarters before the Bluejays imposed their will in the final quarter for 17 uninterrupted points and a 46-29 victory.
Sterling and Tabor are both 7-1 in the KCAC, but the Warriors hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 23-21 win over the Bluejays. Tabor is hosting Bethany on Saturday and now is a big Bulldog rooter.
McPherson College, meanwhile, is 2-6 in the KCAC, but it lost to both Kansas Wesleyan and Friends by a single touchdown, and was down by just a score until the final minute against Bethany before the Swedes scored a cosmetic touchdown. The only non-competitive game for the Bulldogs has been a head-scratching 45-17 loss to Southwestern early in the season.
The Bulldogs, 3-6 overall, have improved by two games over last year as they continue to make steady progress under coach Paul Mierkiewicz. They were winless in his first year when he basically started from scratch, then won one game last year.
Sterling has lived somewhat of a charmed life even after losing All-KCAC quarterback Cedrick Phillips early in the season to a knee injury. It has narrow wins over Mayville State (44-40), Kansas Wesleyan (26-23), Friends (19-18), Tabor (23-21) and Behel (31-26). The only losses were to 11th-ranked Doane (34-28) and Bethany (30-28).
The last couple of weeks the Warriors have displayed more dominance with wins over Ottawa (41-7) and Saint Mary (39-20). Sterling relies on the KCAC’s No. 2 ranked scoring defense and is fourth in yards allowed. Offensively, Sterling is only No. 6, while McPherson College has slid to eighth as its yardage has gone down in recent games. However, the Bulldogs still rank third in scoring offense, averaging 32.7 points a game.
Mac has proven to be a good home team with a 3-1 record and should be motivated to play spoiler.