The Alma College football team travels to Kalamazoo to take on the Hornets this Saturday (Oct. 20). Kalamazoo is 6-0 on the year after finishing last in the conference in 2017. Alma is coming off a 28-23 loss to Adrian last weekend.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
Though Kalamazoo is 6-0, the combined record of its non-conference opponents is 4-14. The stats show that Kalamazoo has one of the top defenses in the country. Four times this season it has allowed only seven points. The Hornets allow an average of 12.8 points per game, best in the conference and 20th in all of Division III. It also holds its opponents to an MIAA best 286.5 yards per game and 99.5 rushing yards per game - Alma averages 176.2 yards on the ground. It owns one-point wins over Adrian (31-30) and Albion (20-19) having capitalized on missed extra points in the fourth quarter by its opponents. Quarterback Zach VanFaussien averages 201.0 passing yards per game and has 13 passing touchdowns. Both are third in the league. Wide receiver Sam Matthews has caught a team-high four of those 13 touchdowns.
The Scots are 60-42-5 all-time against Kalamazoo dating back to 1895 and have won each of the last three games by an average score of 41-21.
PREVIOUSLY — Adrian 28, at Alma 23
Alma fell to Adrian last Saturday (Oct. 13) 28-23. The Scots focused their offensive efforts on the ground, totaling 161 rushing yards out of 291 yards of total offense. Quarterbacks Mason Ippel and Ryan Stevens led the balanced attack with 68 and 50 yards, respectively. Stevens also has two passing scores, one to Joseph Schaefer and the other to Chase Hinkle. Schaefer and Hinkle are the only two Scots to record receiving touchdowns this season; Schaefer is tied for second in the MIAA with four scoring catches while Hinkle is tied for fifth with three
SCOTS CAN'T CONTAIN TRINE, CARSWELL
Alma lost 52-24 to nationally ranked No. 14 Trine University on Saturday, Oct. 6. Thunder running back Lamar Carswell ran for 392 yards and five touchdowns. Steven Sowa led Alma's rushing attack with 66 yards on 12 attempts. Chase Hinkle was close behind with 61 yards while Mason Ippel, Ryan Stevens and Austin Spratling all posted rushing scores. Alma held the ball for 46 of the game's 60 minutes and ran for 243 yards, but gave up too many big plays to Trine and Carswell, Division III's second-leading rusher, in particular. The two teams were a combined 9-of-17 passing.
BRITONS SPOIL HOMECOMING
The Scots took the Albion Britons and one of the best offenses in Division III to double overtime on Sept. 29, but ultimately fell 37-34. The Scots held a seven-point lead with 1:43 remaining in regulation and had Albion pinned back with a 4th and 10 on their own 22, but the Britons converted the first down and drove the final 57 yards in six plays to tie the game with 10 seconds left and force overtime. After offsetting field goals in the first extra period, Alma's next field goal attempt missed — Albion's did not.
- Quarterback Mason Ippel is sixth in the MIAA in passing yards per game (126.3). He is also eighth in the league in rushing (64.3 ypg).
- Wide receiver Chase Hinkle is seventh in the conference in receiving yards per game (54.0).
- Kicker Jacob Plisko owns the longest-made kick in the league this season — along with three other players — at 41 yards.
- The Scots have some of the surest tacklers in the conference. Defensive back Alex Szajko and linebacker Gunner Lamb are in the top-eight in tackles; Szajko is second in the conference with 54.0. Zeke Ramirez is just outside the top 10 with 39 tackles.
- Junior wide receiver Chase Hinkle had a few career-highs in the season opener at Baldwin Wallace: he put up 152 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six catches
- Junior quarterback Mason 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.
- Ippel had a career-high 129 rushing yards against Concordia Wisconsin.
- Ryan Stevens set career-highs with touchdown passes (two) and rushing yards (50) against Adrian.
- Alma has won an MIAA championship in each decade dating back to the 1900s. The Scots' last league title was in 2004.
Alma returns to Bahlke field for its final home game of the season on Saturday, Oct. 27 when it hosts Hope College at 1:00 p.m. The program will honor its 17-member senior class prior to the game.