Football Travels to MIAA Foe Alma to Take on the Scots on Saturday

Freshman running back turned wide receiver Clarence Madison made his first career touchdown against Olivet a memorable one--a 69-yard catch-and-run. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Freshman running back turned wide receiver Clarence Madison made his first career touchdown against Olivet a memorable one--a 69-yard catch-and-run. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

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ADRIAN, Mich.--The Adrian College football team hits the road for the first time in October with a Saturday date (6 p.m.) at Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opponent Alma College in 4,700-seat Bahlke Field. Here's a preview of the contest: 

TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • This marks the 80th meeting between the longtime football rivals. Alma holds a 48-30-1 all-time lead in the series, but the Bulldogs have found some success on the road (13-9) against the Scots.
  • Jim Deere '89 is 54-33 record (.621) in his ninth season as the Adrian head coach. He has piloted the Bulldogs to MIAA championships in 2012 and 14, and NCAA tournament bids in those seasons. 
  • Senior running back Emmanuel Stewart ranks second among ACTIVE NCAA Division III career leaders at 4,452 yards and third in all NCAA Divisions; No. 1 is Le'Anthony Reasnover (4,700) from Eureka College. Adrian's career rushing leader, Stewart currently ranks second in the MIAA with 118.2 rushing yards per game and has six touchdowns for sixth place. He also is third among active Division III career leaders with 5,111 all-purpose yards.      
  • The Bulldogs' defensive unit is paced by senior inside linebacker Tim McPhee with 38 total tackles, including 12 solo, for sixth in the MIAA. He also has two interceptions and two pass break-ups.
  • Senior ILB Nate Conner is second with 34 stops (13 solo) while junior defensive back Shawn Starks leads the team with 15 tackles (30 total) and senior outside linebacker Lawrence Austin has contributed 14 tackles among 31 total.
  • Freshman quarterback Jack Wurzer has completed 53.2 percent (59-111) of his pass attempts for 1,011 yards and 12 touchdowns with two interceptions. He lists 29th in the nation in passing efficiency at 161.7, which--if the season ended today--would be a school benchmark.
  • The Bulldogs are averaging 24.7 points in three road games (39.0 ppg at home), 41.5 ppg in victories and 23.0 ppg in losses.
  • Senior wide receiver Jerron McGaw leads the MIAA in receptions (34), receiving yards (613), yards per catch (18.0--2nd) and TDs (8), with NCAA Division III national rankings of 45th (6.8 receptions/game), 13th and 10th, respectively.
  • Kevin Smitherman, a freshman defensive lineman, has entered among the MIAA's top sack leaders. He lists second with four for 26 yards lost (4th) among his 20 total tackles.
  • Records: Adrian 2-3 (0-2 MIAA), Alma 1-4 (0-2 MIAA); the host Scots were picked sixth (37 points) behind third-place Adrian (20 points) in the MIAA preseason coaches' poll. 

ADRIAN TWO-DEEP

ABOUT ALMA

  • Jason Couch (Alma '97) is in his first season as the Scots head coach, replacing Adrian alumnus Greg Pscodna '86 who became the athletic director at Montabella Community Schools in Edmore.
  • Alma fell to nationally No. 14-ranked Trine University 52-24 for its third loss in a row. The Scots have been outscored 115-73 during that stretch, including a 37-34 overtime loss to Albion at home.
  • Alma's rushing total (243 yards) was the most since it put up 364 against Kalamazoo on Sept. 16, 2017. The Scots converted nine of 17 third downs (53 percent) against the Thunder. The two teams were called for a total of three penalties on the day for just 25 yards.
  • The Scots have recorded an interception in each of its last four games.
  • Senior defensive back Alex Szajko ranks second in the MIAA with 9.2 tackles per game (20 solo, 46 total).
  • Junior Mason Ippel has taken most of the snaps under center (55-106, 706 yards, 4 TDs, 6 INTs) and also tops the team in rushing with 63.6 yards per game with three TDs.

LAST TIME OUT

  • Stewart rushed for 144 yards and freshman Clarence Madison had a career-best 120 yards receiving--both game highs--but it wasn't enough as Adrian couldn't overcome a slow start in a 50-22 Homecoming loss to Olivet.
  • Stewart averaged 7.2 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. He also had a 34-yard TD reception. And Madison had six catches, including one for a TD.
  • On defense, AustinMcPhee and Conner had 12, 11 and 10 total tackles, respectively. McPhee also forced a fumble, as those Bulldogs were the only ones in double digit stops. Sophomore Danny White added six total stops and recovered a fumble.
  • Freshman Antonio Goines averaged 18.6 yards on five kickoff returns.
  • Olivet jumped out to a 19-0 lead after 15 minutes and 43-6 at the intermission, and never looked back. Adrian outscored the Comets 16-7 in the second half.
  • Olivet had a slight edge in total yards (476-444) and return yards (131-93). But the Comets led by a solid margin in first downs (24-16) and time of possession (36:09 to 23:51).

LAST TIME OUT...vs Alma

  • In the 2017 season finale, Adrian rolled up 545 yards of total offense while holding the Scots to just 246 in a 56-21 drubbing of visiting Alma on Senior Day. The Bulldogs also led in first downs (26-18), passing yards (361-160) and rushing yards (184-86).
  • Stewart, who usually beats opponents with his legs, used his hands in his best Le'Veon Bell impression with career- and game-highs of eight catches and 133 yards and a touchdown. And, oh by the way, he ran 15 times for 73 yards and three TDs.
  • McGaw had six grabs for 119 yards and a TD.
  • McPhee contributed eight tackles
  • Among many records set last fall, Stewart set the program benchmarks for rushing TDs (18), all-purpose yards (1,664) and total points scored (120) in a season in the finale.

WHAT'S NEXT

Adrian returns home the following Saturday to host MIAA rival Albion College at Docking Stadium, kicking off at 1 p.m. before a live Buckeye Cable Sports Network regional audience. Originally, the teams were set to play at 5 p.m.

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