The Alma College football team is home for the first time in 2017 welcoming the Manchester University Spartans to Bahlke Field. The Scots put their perfect record in home night games (4-0) on the line tonight as well as begin a three-game homestand.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Manchester is taking on its second straight opponent from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association after falling by a 35-12 margin at Trine University in its season opener last Thursday (Aug. 31). The Spartans mustered 12 points in the second quarter to trail 21-12 at the half, but were kept off the board in the third and fourth quarters. Sophomore Alex Downard is in his second season as Manchester's quarterback and comes into tonight's game with a career completion percentage of 55.8, averaging 117.8 yards per game. Sophomore Donovan Henderson Jr. looks to be the Spartans' primary ball-carrier and is averaging 3.7 yards per carry over his career with five touchdowns.
Tonight's game is the sixth meeting between the Scots and Spartans in a series that began in 1963. Alma leads the all-time series, 4-1, including a 31-20 victory at Manchester last season. This is Manchester's first visit to the Alma College campus since the 2003 campaign.
LAST GAME - Alma 40, at Saint Vincent 34
The Scots won their opening game of the 2017 season, defeating Saint Vincent College, 40-34, at Chuck Noll Field in Latrobe, Pa. Alma never trailed in the contest and withstood several attempts by the Bearcats in the final quarter to steal the lead. Dylan Zaborowski completed 10 of his 22 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns, including a 71-yard heave to Chase Hinkle with 9:40 to play in the game to put the Scots ahead for good. Hinkle ended the day with a game-high 105 yards and two touchdowns on four catches. Caleb Reinhart rushed for 99 yards and two scores on 22 carries as the Scots posted 173 yards on the ground for the game, but were held to just 17 yards rushing in the second half. Michael Navarro went 22-for-38 with 235 yards and two TDs for Saint Vincent, while Jhanard Dorsett posted a game-high 157 yards rushing with two scores. Defensively, Colton Tyson led the Scots with 13 tackles while the Alma defense forced Navarro into a pair of interceptions.
SPORTING THE PLAID ...
This week's game marks the debut of an alternate jersey for the Scots. The Adidas jerseys, designed through Top Cat Sales, are grey and feature the school's tartan on the shoulders and numbers.
TYSON NAMED MIAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Colton Tyson was named the MIAA's Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career after leading all tacklers with 13 stops at Saint Vincent. Tyson was also credited with a team-high 1.5 tackles for loss in the contest.
GUESS WHO'S BACK, BACK AGAIN ...
Manchester Head Coach Nate Jensen served as Alma's defensive coordinator from 2012-15 before taking over the Spartans' program, while Manchester assistant coaches Scotty Cole '12 and Riley Fisher '15 are both products of the Alma football program.
MOVING INTO ELITE COMPANY
Senior QB Dylan Zaborowski, in his fourth season as the starting signal-caller for the Scots, ranks fourth in Alma College history in passing yards (6,296) entering this week's game, 68 yards away from passing Steve Slowke (1999-2002), who racked up 6,363 yards in his career. Zaborowski, with 47 career touchdown passes, is three tosses away from becoming the fourth player in Alma College history to throw for 50 or more scores.
JOIN THE CLUB
With 1,361 career rushing yards, Zaborowski enters this week 139 yards away from becoming the third quarterback in Alma College history to throw for 6,000 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a career. Josh Brehm, the Gagliardi Trophy winner in 2006 and QB for the Scots from 2003-06, and Mackenzie McGrady, who started under center from 2007-09, are the other two in the 6,000/1,500 club.
IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE A THING GO RIGHT ...
Caleb Reinhart has scored two touchdowns in each of his last two appearances, dating back to the season finale last year against Adrian College. In nine games during the 2016 campaign, Reinhart scored three times, and is one shy of that total after one game.
- Since 1975, the Scots are 25-17 in home-opening contests.
- Dylan Zaborowski's three touchdown passes at Saint Vincent marked the most TD tosses by any quarterback in the MIAA during the opening week of the season. In addition, it was the ninth time in his career he has tossed three or more touchdowns.
- Zaborowski is 23 completions away from 500 for his career and currently ranks fourth in that category. He has also moved into third place with 7,657 total offensive yards, passing Steve Slowke (7,521 from 1999-2002). The next highest player is Mackenzie McGrady, who posted 9,382 yards from 2007-09.
- Chase Hinkle and Alex Yancy are the only two receivers in the MIAA to score more than one touchdown in their opening game, while Caleb Reinhart is one of two backs to score twice in Week 1.
- Mason Ippel recorded his first career touchdown pass during his one series of action at Saint Vincent, tossing an 11-yard pass to Alex Yancy for his only completion of the day. Yancy also caught two balls against the Bearcats, both of them for scores.
- Zac Peterson and Brandon Harper both recorded their first career interceptions at Saint Vincent.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Senior wide receiver Lars Murray, senior linebacker Zac Peterson and senior defensive lineman Dustin Tripp have been selected to serve as captains for the 2017 campaign. Murray is a three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and has been a regular among Alma's wide receivers corps for the past two seasons while Tripp has been a part of the Scots' defensive line for the past three campaigns. Peterson, Alma's tackling leader for the last two years, enters 2017 after back-to-back 100-stop seasons.
NEXT UP ...
Alma returns to Bahlke Field at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, to host Benedictine University (IL) as part of the Challenge Series between the MIAA and the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. The Scots and Eagles have not met on the gridiron since the 1995 campaign.