The Alma College football team travels to Mequon, Wisconsin in the third week of the season. The Scots will take on the Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons as part of the MIAA-NACC Challenge Series — all eight MIAA teams are playing NACC opponents on Saturday.
SCOUTING THE FALCONS
Concordia University Wisconsin is 1-1 this year; it defeated MIAA newcomer Finlandia 31-1 in Week 1 and fell to Augsburg 27-24 in its home opener last week. Aaron Nixon started both games for the Falcons at quarterback; he is 10th in the country in passing yards per game (334.0) and tied for tied for 15th in touchdowns (six). The Falcons average 341.0 passing yards per game, leading the NACC and tied for 15th in Division III. They also score just 27.5 points per game despite averaging 504.0 yards per game.
PREVIOUSLY AGAINST CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY WISCONSIN
Alma and CUW played in the third game of the 2016 season with the Scots coming out on top 31-28. Running back Nick Sullivan scored the go-ahead touchdown with 23 seconds left. Alma led 24-7 going into the half and Concordia Wisconsin scored the next three touchdowns to take a 28-24 lead with 2:06 remaining. Sullivan's score from one yard out capped a six play, 65-yard drive that left the Falcons with 15 seconds left to score. Dustin Tripp sacked CUW quarterback Aaron Nixon twice to seal the win.
The game in 2016 was the first between these two programs.
LAST TIME OUT — at Alma 39, Manchester 33
Junior quarterback Mason Ippel scored the game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds left to stop Manchester's attempt at a comeback. Alma took a 24-14 lead into halftime, but the Spartans clawed their way back in it, taking their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter. The Scots took 3:05 off the clock by the time Ippel scored the game's final touchdown, leaving Manchester with just 19 seconds to answer, which they would not.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Sophomore running back Steven Sowa and senior defensive lineman Hunter Hoffman have been named the two team captains this season. Sowa missed all of the 2017 season due to injury and looks to be one of a number of backs Alma will use to make up for the graduation of Caleb Reinhart. Hoffman played in every game in 2017 and recorded 19 tackles from the defensive line. The team has also formed a Captain Council that is made up of 20 players, two of whom will be chosen as co-captains to go along with Sowa and Hoffman for each game.
- Junior quarterback Mason Ippel is among the conference's best passers. He is third in the MIAA in yards per game (209.0) and tied for fourth in passing touchdowns (four). He is also averaging 58.0 yards rushing after posting 98 yards on the ground against Manchester. He is Alma's leading rusher with 116 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries.
- Ippel's two touchdown passes against Baldwin Wallace are twice as many as he had entering the game. Ippel saw limited action backing up four-year starter Dylan Zaborowski for the last two years.
- Junior Chase Hinkle is the team's leading receiver. He has caught eight passes for 165 yards this year (82.5 YPG) and two touchdowns. Hinkle was a massive problem for Baldwin Wallace in Week 1. He went for 152 yards and two touchdowns on six catches and was named the Player of the Game.
- Other offensive team leaders include junior wide receiver Chase Krueger, who has 65 receiving yards on seven catches, sophomore tight end Joseph Schaefer, who has five receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore running back Steven Sowa, who has 95 yards rushing and two scores of 19 carries.
- The Scots have six of the top 13 tacklers in the conference, led by senior defensive back Alex Szajko who has 23. Senior linebacker Gunner Lamb is close behind with 20. Senior defensive lineman leads the team with two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Junior defensive back Max Kretzschmar has Alma's only interception on the year.
- Alma is carrying a 114-man roster this season that includes 16 seniors, 27 juniors, 28 sophomores and 43 freshmen.
- Alma has won an MIAA championship in each decade dating back to the 1900s. The Scots' last league title was in 2004.
The Scots are off next week. They will return next week with a 2:00 p.m. game on Homecoming against Albion. The Britons, like Concordia Wisconsin, have one of the best offenses in the country