Alma, Mich. - The Alma College football team saw its three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday (Oct. 8) afternoon in front of a capacity Homecoming crowd at Bahlke Field. The Scots (3-2 overall, 1-1 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) scored the game's first 13 points, but 28 answered points by Hope College (2-3, 1-1 MIAA) swung the momentum and gave the Flying Dutchmen with 35-19 victory.
The game played on the ground between the two teams, with both squads totaling nearly 500 yards rushing. Hope's Brandan Campbell rushed for a game-high 231 yards and scored five times, including two runs of 46 and 48 yards, to lead the Dutch ground game, which amassed 276 yards on 51 carries. Alma was led by senior Nick Sullivan(Flushing, Mich./Flint Powers), who posted his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game with 134 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.
"I think we had our opportunities in the first half and didn't execute and I think that's what hurt us," Head Coach Greg Pscodna said. "We had some turnovers early and didn't put enough points on the board. If we had made some of those plays it might have been a different game but you have to give credit to Hope. They came out and played well and we knew they were going to run the ball pretty much all day, but we couldn't stop them and gave up too many big plays."
Junior Dylan Zaborowski (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center) was 11-for-27 for 117 yards with an interception, while Hope's Michael Custer came off the bench to complete 12 of his 19 passes for 105 yards. Neither team has a receiver gain more than 55 yards in the game.
The game opened with a wild first quarter that featured three turnovers. Hope fumbled the ball on its own 38 yard line in the game's opening drive, but the Scots failed to capitalize, falling one yard short on a fourth-and-two from the Dutch 17 to give the ball back. On the next play, Hope fumbled again, with the Scots recovering on the Dutch 28 yard line. Six plays later, Zaborowski scored from a yard out to give Alma a 6-0 lead.
Alma forced another Hope turnover on the following drive when senior Cody Coleman(Livonia, Mich./Stevenson) intercepted a pass from Bruce Schroeder, giving the Scots the ball on the Hope 32. Sullivan cashed in nine plays later when he crossed the goal line from four yards out to give Alma a 13-0 advantage.
After a switch at quarterback for the Dutch, Campbell began the comeback effort, scoring on a 46 yard run with under a minute to play in the opening quarter to help the Dutch pull within six at 13-7.
The teams would hold each other in check for the second quarter before Hope scored three times in the third frame on 48-, seven- and one-yard runs by Campbell to put the Dutch up, 28-13, entering the final 15 minutes
Alma attempted a comeback early in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 17-play, 78-yard drive when Zaborowski scampered in from three yards out to pull Alma within nine points at 28-19. The Scots forced Hope to a three-and-out on the next drive and were charging into Hope territory before turning the ball over on the Hope 34 yard line. The Dutch took the ball and scored nine plays later when Campbell found the end zone for the fifth time on a 13-yard run.
Junior Zac Peterson (Holt, Mich./Holt) led the Alma defensive effort with a career-high 20 tackles, including three tackles for loss. Hope's Aaron O'Meara also made 20 stops.
Alma returns to Bahlke Field on Saturday, Oct. 15, to continue a three-game homestand, hosting Aurora University (IL) at 1:00 p.m.