MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College will look to continue to ride an offense that has hit its stride in recent weeks when it hits the road to face Quincy University Saturday at 1 p.m. in Mid-States Football Association Midwest League play.
After scoring just 37 points in their first four games, the Tigers have nearly tripled that in their last three games with 24, 30 and 41 points. Not surprisingly that coincided with Wesleyan winning two straight games and also getting another big performance in a loss last week.
The Tigers got into a shootout with #15 ranked William Penn last week and offensively stood toe-to-toe with the powerful attack of the Statesmen. Penn finally prevailed 56-41, but not before IWC racked up 29 first downs and 446 yards of total offense. Two Wesleyan turnovers were the difference in the game, but quarterback Kevin McConnell (So.-Kansas City, Mo.) had another huge game with a total of 368 yards of total offense as well as a hand in five touchdowns.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – This week the Tigers will face a Quincy team that has dealt with many of the same challenges that they have but is just looking for the payoff at the end of the tunnel. While IWC has played four ranked opponents so far this year, Quincy has played three ranked NAIA teams as well as two NCAA Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision) schools. Five of those six games have been on the road.
The Hawks understandably have a 0-6 record and have struggled to be competitive against a terribly tough schedule. Quincy’s best game actually came against the same William Penn team that Iowa Wesleyan almost knocked off last week, as the Hawks lost to Penn 67-58 on Sept. 18. QU scored 24 points in the final ten minutes of that game, and its 58 points in that game is more than the Hawks have scored in their other five games combined.
The Hawks have had many of the same problems as the Tigers, namely running the ball and stopping the run. Quincy is averaging just 67.5 yards rushing per game and is allowing 305.5 yards of rushing per game. QU starts a junior quarterback in Bobby Brenneisen, a transfer from Southern Illinois, and last week got its first 100-yard rushing performane of the season from Sterling Ross in a 45-14 loss to Grand View.
SERIES HISTORY – Iowa Wesleyan and Quincy are meeting for the tenth time, with the Hawks holding an 8-1 lead in the series. Last year Quincy defeated the Tigers 31-0 on IWC’s Homecoming, holding the home team to 132 yards of offense. Wesleyan picked up its lone win in the series in the two teams’ first meeting back in 1987, a 10-0 Tigers win at Quincy.
ANOTHER BIG GAME – McConnell posted his third straight big game at quarterback for IWC but did it in a different way than the past two games as this time he relied more on his legs and less on his arm. His 163 yards rushing against William Penn allowed IWC to have easily its biggest day rushing the ball this season with 190 yards on the ground. It also was the biggest single-day rushing total by a Tiger in more than five years. The last time a Wesleyan player rushed for more yards was when Jabari Woods gained 258 yards on 21 carries Sept. 3, 2005 against Waldorf. Incidentally, it also was a quarterback that last gained so many yards in a game for the Tigers, as Woods ran the offense in the 41-33 loss to the Warriors that year.
TWICE AS TOUGH – As if the loss to William Penn wasn’t already tough enough for Iowa Wesleyan, the loss picked up a little more sting after the game when the Tigers found out results from another MSFA Midwest League games last week. St. Francis (Ill.) pulled a surprise last week with a 28-26 win over previously undefeated in league McKendree. A win over Penn would’ve put IWC in a tie for first with St. Francis in the league at 3-1, with McKendree and William Penn a half game behind at 2-1, and the Tigers would’ve been in first based on a head-to-head win over the Fighting Saints on Sept. 25.
SPECIAL TEAMS MONSTER – If there is a special teams play to be made, chances are number 54 is in the area. Freshman Jimmy Lann (Vernon, Ala.) leads the Tigers with six special teams tackles on the season and in particular has been a demon on punt coverage. A freshman linebacker, Lann had two tackles on special teams last week, and the week before nearly recovered his first turnover on a punt. Lann came up with the ball after a muff, but was called for kick catch interference in a call that was disputed by the Tigers.
OLD VETERAN – IWC’s freshman wide receivers have earned a lot of headlines this year, but senior Lawrence Moore (Country Club Hills, Ill.) came up big last week with a career-high 12 catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Moore continues to mount a challenge to the school’s all-time record for receptions, as he is second on the list with 192 career catches, 34 behind all-time leader Bruce Carter (1990-91). Moore still has a chance to set the school record and will need to average 8.5 catches per game over the final four games to tie Carter’s mark of 226. Moore also is now up to 1,825 career yards receiving which puts him fourth all-time in school history. He needs 371 yards receiving in his final four games to tie Carter’s career mark of 2,196 yards.
ON THE AIRWAVES – Saturday’s game will once again be aired online from the IWC Web site at http://www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia, with IWC Sports Information Director Adam Glatczak handling the play-by-play. WGEM Radio AM 1440 in Quincy will also broadcast the game with an online broadcast at http://www.wgem.com.
Complete IWC-Quincy Game Notes