MOUNT PLEASANT – The Iowa Wesleyan College football team will look to close a tough season on a high note when the Tigers face St. Ambrose University in Mid-States Football Association Midwest League play on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Brady Street Stadium in Davenport.
The Tigers should be refreshed for their final game after having a week off last week following ten straight games since the open of the season. IWC’s last game was Oct. 31 when it lost 27-7 to Grand View University. The Tigers had their best offensive performance of the season, outgaining the Vikings but committed a whopping nine turnovers and missing numerous chances deep in GVU territory, including two drives that ended inside the Viking 5-yard line without points. Jaren Maybin (Sr.-Baltimore, Md.) scored the lone touchdown for the Tigers in the game.
This week Wesleyan will take on St. Ambrose, one of the Tigers’ chief rivals over the years. Normally one of the bullies in the MSFA Midwest, the Bees are having an uncharacteristically rocky season by the program’s lofty standards, sitting fourth in the standings going into the final weekend of league play.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – The Fighting Bees enter the game with a 5-4 overall record and are 3-3 in the MSFA Midwest. SAU will not win the league title for the first time in four years and is having its worst season since finishing 4-6 in 1999.
St. Ambrose is led offensively by junior quarterback Michael Hayward, who made an interesting position switch this year. Hayward was an NAIA First Team All-American last season as a sophomore wide receiver. He also served as SAU’s backup quarterback last year, and this season was moved to quarterback full time. He is second in the MSFA Midwest and fourth overall in the MSFA with over 2,000 passing yards but has also been sacked more than 30 times. The offense has sputtered some this year, ranking ninth in the conference in total offense and converting just 29.0% of third downs (13th in MSFA), but has committed just 13 turnovers, contributing to a +10 turnover margin for the team.
The Bees’ 3-4 defense has been typically stout in not allowing points, ranking fourth in the MSFA in points allowed (16.3 ppg). SAU ranks seventh in the MSFA in pass defense and total defense and eighth in rush defense. Ambrose has had good special teams play, ranking third in the MSFA in punting gross average and fourth in net average.
SERIES HISTORY – IWC and St. Ambrose are meeting for the 47th time in history of the two schools. The Fighting Bees have won the last 10 meetings and lead the series 30-14-2. The series dates back to Oct. 19, 1912, when SAU defeated the Tigers 9-6 in the first-ever meeting between the two schools up in the Quad Cities. Last year the Bees routed Wesleyan 49-0, scoring 35 points over the second and third quarters for the win.
IWC SENIORS SALUTED – Amidst the many turnovers the Tigers committed against Grand View could easily be lost the fact that the Wesleyan offense moved the ball better than it has all season. Against the fourth-rated defense in the MSFA, the Tigers had season highs in passing yards (252), total yards (337) and first downs (25). T.J. Tolliver (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) relieved an injured Kevin McConnell (Fr.-Kansas City, Mo.) and passed for 187 yards, and Lawrence Moore (Jr.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) had his biggest day of the season with 10 catches for 100 yards. IWC also converted five of six fourth down attempts in the game, but eventually was undone by the turnovers, 14 penalties, as well as converting on just one of five trips inside the 20-yard line.
SOMETHING SHOULD GIVE – St. Ambrose has had a hard time getting off the field on third down, allowing 44.2% conversions on third down. That statistic is a big reason the Bees have on average faced an eight minute time of possession disadvantage per game, with opponents controlling the ball for nearly 34 minutes per game.
All of this means the IWC/SAU matchup will work out as a cure for what ails one team and will accentuate a negative for the other. The Tigers enter Saturday’s game ranked dead last in the MSFA in third down conversion percentage. Wesleyan has converted just 29 of 147 third downs all year, or 19.7%.
FINAL PUSH – With one game left in his career, Maybin will see how much further he can climb up the IWC records lists against the Bees. The senior has 1,795 yards rushing in his career and needs 41 yards to tie Kim Albert (1967-71) for fourth all-time with 1,836 yards. With a big game against SAU he could move up to third all-time rushing. Maybin will need 93 yards to tie Alan Young (1980-83) for third all-time rushing at IWC with 1,888 career yards.
Maybin also has a chance to move into the top 10 all-time scoring list at IWC. The senior currently has 96 points in his career and with a touchdown will move into 10th all-time at the school in that category. He would pass Scott Irwin (1993-96), who scored 100 points in four years at Wesleyan.
IRON MEN – Heading into the season finale nine players have started every game for the Tigers this year. Six of those nine are on offense, as in addition to Maybin and Moore, Bayquon McDonald (Sr.-Bronx, N.Y.) and three linemen-Tim Chavez (Jr.-Champaign, Ill.), Eric Davis (Fr.-Clemons, Iowa) and Alex Llewellyn (Fr.-Alton, Ill.) have all started ten games. Three defensive players have started all ten games this year: Tarvis Gordon (Fr.-Sanford, Fla.), Gerald Knighten (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.) and Darious Watson (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.). A total of 20 players have participated in every game this year.
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 sports information director Adam Glatczak and football redshirt Kenrick Lawson will be calling the game.
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-SAU Complete Game Notes