Macalester ready for 125th season

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Under third-year head coach Tony Jennison Macalester finished the 2010 season with a 6-3 record, the best mark since 1986, and set school records for total points and total yards gained.  Despite losing a strong senior class to graduation, the Scots are looking to continue their rapid progress in 2011.


Macalester kicks off the campaign Sept. 3 at home against Grinnell (Ia.).  The Scots will also play home games with Lewis & Clark (Ore.), Hamline, Carleton and Trinity Bible (N.D.).  They make road trips to Cornell (Ia.), Maranatha Baptist (Wis.) and Augsburg, and play Hiram (Ohio) on a neutral site in the Chicago area.



Macalester was one of just eight NCAA Division III teams to compile over 200 yards a game both on the ground and through the air and will rely once again on a balanced attack to keep opposing defenses honest.  The Scots averaged 33.1 points and 423.2 total yards per game, both school marks.


Quarterback Clark Bledsoe (Jr., Jacksonville, Fla. / Episcopal) returns to lead the offense after ranking 20th nationally in passing efficiency as a sophomore.  Bledsoe completed 63% of his passes, tossing 15 TDs against just one pick.  His top receiver graduated, but the Scots return Riley Koval (Jr., Mount Horeb, Wis.) and Mike Snavely (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn. / Southwest).  Koval pulled in 30 catches for 383 yards and three touchdowns, while Snavely grabbed 28 receptions for 422 yards (15.1 per catch) and six touchdowns.  John Johnson  (So., McKenzie, Tenn.) is also back, while tight end transfer Sam Marshall (Jr., Sun Prairie, Wis.) will also be a key target.


Division III Senior Classic Pre-season All-America running back T. Joe Loiselle (Sr., Chippewa Falls, Wis.) rushed for 877 yards and nine touchdowns on a 5.1 yards per carry average.  Loiselle heads into his senior season with 2,077 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns despite missing most of his sophomore season to injury. He has gained over 100 yards in 10 of his 22 career games at Mac, including five with at least 145 yards.  Former high school teammate Mike Adams (Jr., Chippewa Falls, Wis.) joins Loiselle in the backfield and is a threat to break the long one at any time.


The Scots lose four key offensive linemen, with the lone returning starter being right tackle Karl Reichter (Sr., Duluth, Minn. / Marshall).  Others at the top of the depth chart going into the opener include tackle Ben Conlon (So., St. Peter, Minn.), guards Adam Bauer (So., Auburndale, Wis.) and John Verkuillen (Jr., Green Bay, Wis. / Bay Port) and center Jeff Theismann (Jr., St. Cloud, Minn. / Apollo).



While the Mac offense looks to replace several starters, the defensive side of the ball has plenty of experience and features one of the best linebacking units Macalester has seen in years. 


On the defensive line, the Scots bring back four-year starter Will Dhonau (Sr., Fond Du Lac, Wis.) (3 ½ tackles for loss), Jason Schrad (Jr., Lincoln, Neb. / Southwest) (2 ½ sacks) and Jesse Russell (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.).


Last year's team Defensive MVP Brandon Murphy (Jr., Sunberg, Minn. / New London-Spicer) (43 tackles and five sacks) and Reid Callahan (So., Atlanta, Ga. / St. Pius X) (69 tackes, 10 ½ tackles for loss, two interceptions and four passes broken up) lead a veteran linebacking corps.  Inside linebacker Nate Sands (Sr., Madison, Wis. / East) also returns after registering 62 tackles, including five for loss.  Levi Brown (So., Winona, Minn. / Rushford-Peterson) looks to join the group on the inside.


Mac's defensive backfield is also an experience unit.  Safeties Aaron Gallegos (Jr., Lakeville, Minn. / North) (39 tackles) and Joe Dykema (So., Roseville, Minn.) are back, as well as cornerbacks Adam Bunkoske (Jr., Beaver Dam, Wis. / Wayland Acadmy) and David Melms (Jr., Wauwatosa, Wis. / Wisconsin Lutheran).



A 2010 honorable mention All-America and 2011 pre-season All-America pick by, Auburn Jimenez (So., East Los Angeles, Calif. / St. John Bosco) returns after going 4-for-5 on field goal tries from beyond 40 yards.  Jimenez, who was also the top runner on Mac's cross country team when not kicking for the Scots, was named the college's Freshman Male Athlete of the Year and top two-sport athlete.  He'll also handle the punting chores this season.


Electrifying Mike Adams (Jr., Chippewa Falls, Wis.) set a school mark with his 10.7 yard average on punt returns and is threat to break the long one at any time.  He and Aaron Gallegos (Jr., Lakeville, Minn. / North) are back to return kickoffs again.