MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College will get one final chance to play well in front of the home crowd and will hope to play holiday tricks on Grand View University when the Tigers host the Vikings at 1 p.m. at Mapleleaf Stadium on Halloween Saturday.
IWC will play its fourth ranked team this season in the Vikings, currently ranked #22 in the NAIA national coaches’ poll. The Tigers also are playing their final home game of the season, as ten seniors will be honored before the game.
Last week the Tigers had the misfortune of being in the path of a Saint Xavier team that has been on a roll all season, losing to the now 6th-ranked Cougars 66-6. SXU went over the 50-point mark for the seventh time in nine games in improving to 9-0 this year. Defensive end Eduardo Garcia (Fr.-San Diego, Calif.) scored the lone touchdown for Wesleyan, returning a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
This week IWC will be facing a Grand View program that is growing up very quickly. In just its second season of play, GVU is 6-2 overall, undefeated in its first season in the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League, and last week entered the NAIA national rankings for the first time in school history.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – The Vikings had a bye last week but are riding a four-game win streak. Grand View has improved tremendously after finishing 2-8 in its initial season last year and has been winning in almost every way imaginable.
The Tiger offense is led by running back Daryl Ford, who ranks third in the MSFA in rushing with 767 yards in eight games. GVU’s pro-style offense actually has been far from dominant this year, ranking 13th in the conference in total offense, but the Vikings have lost just three fumbles this season, a big part of the team’s +14 turnover margin that is tops in the entire nation.
Defensively, Grand View has had a fine season. The Vikings have been equally stout against the run and pass and rank fourth in the MSFA in total defense. The Vikings also have recovered 24 turnovers from opponents, including 14 interceptions. Both totals are second in the conference. Another area where GVU has had an advantage is in special teams. The Vikings are second in the MSFA in both kick returns and punt returns and have returned a total of four kickoffs and punts for touchdowns this year.
SERIES HISTORY – This is of course just the second meeting on the gridiron ever between the two schools. Last year the Tigers scored 26 points in the second half on their way to a 36-24 win over GVU. Jaren Maybin (Sr.-Baltimore, Md.) rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns and Bryan Abihider threw for 151 yards and rushed for another 73 yards. The IWC defense also piled up five sacks and recovered a pair of fumbles. The win over the Vikings last year marked the 82nd different team IWC has defeated in its football history.
IWC SENIORS SALUTED – Saturday’s game is going to be the final time suiting up at home for a total of 11 Tiger seniors. Among those playing their final home games include Jason Amy (Lake Elsinore, Calif.), Scott Baldwin (Penn Valley, Calif.), Brian Farmer (Bronx, N.Y.), Greg Fields (St. Louis, Mo.), Kris Fleming (Chicago, Ill.), Gerald Knighten (Bellwood, Ill.), Maybin, Bayquon McDonald (Bronx, N.Y.) and Chris Newman (Mount Dora, Fla.). In addition, offensive lineman Rocco Russo (Miami, Fla.) will also be honored along with his other senior teammates. Russo was slated to start on the offensive line this season but tore ligaments during fall practice in August and has not played this year.
TIGERS IN MSFA RANKINGS – Not surprisingly in what has turned into a difficult season, IWC is ranked near the bottom of the MSFA in a number of categories. Among the categories where the Tigers are ranking high, though, are pass defense, punt returns and fewest penalty yards. Wesleyan ranks fifth in the conference in passing yards allowed per game (176.1 ypg), a total that also ranks 31st in the NAIA nationally. The Tigers also are seventh in the conference in punt return yards, averaging 12.0 yards per return in nine attempts, while the team is also seventh in fewest penalty yards per game (45.6 ypg).
WINNING EVERY WAY POSSIBLE – Statistically, Grand View has not been dominant this season in a number of categories. In fact, the Vikings are actually being outgained by more than 30 yards per game by opponents. When it has come to intangibles, though, GVU has easily outdistanced its opponents. The Vikings’ +14 turnover margin is a big difference between this year’s team and last year’s 2-8 squad that was a -8 in turnovers. Grand View also ranks second in the MSFA in fewest penalty yards per game, and the Vikings have made a living on special teams and defensive touchdowns.
The team also has a total of eight touchdowns scored this season on defense and special teams. Included in that are two kick returns for TD’s, two punt returns for scores, plus touchdowns scored on interception, fumble, blocked punt and blocked field goal returns. Nearly 30% of GVU’s touchdowns this season have been scored by the defense or special teams.
MORE SPECIALTY CONTRIBUTIONS – It has come on a much smaller scale and hasn’t been able to necessarily influence the final result as much, but IWC also has received a good percentage of its scoring from the defense and special teams. Garcia’s fumble return last week was the third touchdown scored this season on defense or special teams and is the third time in four games a TD has come from those units. Knighten returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown against Waldorf on Oct. 3, and freshman Deonte Fletcher (Conyers, Ga.) returned a fumble 51 yards for a score Oct. 10 at William Penn.
ON THE AIRWAVES – Iowa Wesleyan College will be broadcasting online again for Saturday’s game. An online broadcast will be available at www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia. IWC football redshirt Kenrick Lawson (Jr.-Brooklyn, N.Y.) will be calling the game. The game will also be broadcast online by Grand View University campus station KGVC 94.1 FM in Des Moines. Geoff Conn will provide the play-by-play. A Web stream of that broadcast also will be available at http://www.grandview.edu/aspx/audience/audience.aspx?pageid=802.
For more information regarding the IWC football program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
IWC-GVU Complete Game Notes