Albion Defense Rises To The Occasion
ALBION, Mich. – Albion College head coach Craig Rundle was not about to apologize for his team's 28-24 victory over Alma College Saturday, but he knew the result was improbable based on the number of mistakes his team made.
Albion overcame two fumbled punt returns, an onside kick, a fake punt, a bad snap on a punt, and a running into the punter penalty. Alma came up empty on two trips to the red zone in the final six minutes, and the Scots final possession started at the Albion 48. Chris Jakubik intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart Alma's first trip inside the 20 in the fourth quarter, and the defense stopped Alma on four plays later in the quarter.
"The defensive guys showed a lot of character," Rundle said. "Their job is to get the ball back regardless of where the other team gets it.
"We're lucky special teams didn't cost us the game," Rundle added.
Rundle credited the defense for forcing Alma to pass more than it would have liked. Albion yielded just 83 rushing yards so Alma quarterback Jarrett Leister went 20 of 43 for 218 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Linebacker Brett McCarty led the defense with nine solo and four assisted tackles. Defensive back Terron Bridgeman was credited with breaking up five passes in addition to wrapping up seven tackles.
Albion did all of its scoring through the air as Dominic Bona went 24 of 39 for 240 yards. He threw a 22-yard scoring strike to Cody Crawford in the first quarter, found Zach Brewer for a 12-yard touchdown in the second quarter, got the ball to Sage Alward for a 3-yard score with six seconds left in the first half, and tacked on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Zach Brigham early in the fourth quarter.
"The drive before halftime was huge," Rundle said. "We faced a lot of long yardage situations in the second half because of penalties."
Briton running back Darrin Williams finished with 119 rushing yards on 27 carries for a 4.4-yard average.
"Alma has one of the best defensive units against the run in the league," Rundle said.
Albion, winners of three straight to improve to 5-2 overall and 3-0 against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association rivals, will play at home for the final time this season Nov. 2 when it tackles Olivet College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on the Schmidt-Fraser Field inside Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.