Alma, Mich. - The Alma College football team snapped a three-game losing streak at home on Saturday (Oct. 15) afternoon, defeating Aurora University, 38-14, at Bahlke Field. The Scots (4-2 overall) dominated the game from start to finish and held the visiting Spartans (3-3) to 188 yards of total offense while racking up over 40 minutes of possession.
Alma tallied 358 yards on the ground and was paced by junior Dylan Zaborowski (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center), who ran for a career-high 143 yards and scored a touchdown. Senior Nick Sullivan (Flushing, Mich,/Flint Powers) carried the ball 24 times for 95 yards and scored three times, marking the third game this year he has scored more than once. Sullivan also established the single-season record for rushing attempts at Alma and has 164 after six games. Last season, Sullivan carried the ball a record 163 times over a 10-game span.
"We didn't want what happened last week to happen again this week," head coach Greg Pscodna said, referring to last week's 35-19 loss to Hope College after the Scots opened the game with a 14-0 lead. "The kids realized that we face one away that we could have put away early. I'm glad they responded and we played great offensively in the first half. We've got to get better in the second half defensively, but those are some things we've got to work on."
The Scots opened up the game with a 28-0 lead in the first half, scoring on four of their first five drives. Alma took the opening kickoff and opened the game with an 11-play, 83-yard drive that resulted with Sullivan scoring from a yard out. After forcing the Aurora offense into two straight three-and-outs, sophomore Essa Kellah (Grand Rapids, Mich./Godwin Heights) gave Alma a 14-0 lead when he took a lateral from Zaborowski and found the end zone after a 40-yard run. Sullivan made it 21-0 after a 13-play, 92-yard drive, scoring again from a yard out early in the second quarter.
Zaborowski put the Scots up by 28 late in the opening half, capping off another long drive when he rushed in from six yards out.
Aurora got on the board early in the third quarter when Danny Logiurato caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Geron Rogers, but the Scots responded on the next possession when Sullivan powered in from three yards out to put Alma up 35-7.
The Spartans would score again in the third quarter to pull within 35-14, but the Alma defense held them scoreless for the remainder of the game. Sophomore Jacob Plisko (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson) completed the scoring, converting a 31-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining.
Defensively, junior Dustin Tripp (Byron Center, Mich./Hudsonville) and junior Zac Peterson (Holt, Mich./Holt) led Alma with six tackles each as the Scots limited the Spartans to 39 plays and just over 19 minutes of possession for the game.
"They (Aurora) missed some passes that would have changed things drastically," Pscodna said. "Our kids were embarrassed last week the way Hope ran the football against us. We have to come out and set the tone up front, and that's where it starts. We've still need to get better in our total defense, but I was pleased with our effort and we ran around today and made plays."
Alma will close out its three-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 22, when it hosts Albion College for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff at Bahlke Field. The Scots are 3-0 under the lights at home since they were installed in 2014 and are looking to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Britons.
"Every game from here on out is a championship game and that's the way we've got to do it. Today was a good bounce-back game, but we've got to keep it going," Pscodna added. "We know every MIAA game is tough and physical and they will be ready to come up here and play some football. We've got to get back to work and keep trying to get better."