MOUNT PLEASANT – The Iowa Wesleyan College Tigers will attempt to correct the flaws from their first loss of the season when they host the Peru State College Bobcats Saturday afternoon at Evans Field at the Mapleleaf Community Complex.
After starting the season with two straight road games, IWC finally gets it first home game of the season and begins a stretch of three straight games and four of its next five games at home. The Tigers will look to put behind a 45-7 loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point last week.
IWC hurt itself with five turnovers in the first half, all coming in UWSP territory, and the Pointers took advantage to build a 35-0 halftime lead. When turnovers weren’t a factor Wesleyan was able to play the Pointers tough on a longer field, limiting UWSP to 14 points on drives not sparked by a turnover.
IWC will look to regroup this week against Peru State College from Peru, Neb., which is playing the Tigers for the second straight year. Peru State runs a Power-I offense that emphasizes running the ball. PSC has a 60/40 split of running to passing over its first three games, even as the Bobcats have spent a lot of time playing from behind. Defensively the Bobcats run a 3-4 scheme and have been particularly adept at turning over the opponent early in the season with four interceptions in their first three games.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – Peru State is competing as an NAIA independent again this year after formerly playing as members of the Central States Football League through the 2005 season. The Bobcats finished 6-5 last year but are off to a 0-3 start. Two of the losses are to teams currently ranked in the NAIA’s top 20.
Peru State is led by eighth-year coach Terry Clark. The Bobcats’ star performer so far this season has been running back John Noojin, who has 312 yards rushing on 50 carries in the first three games. Sophomore quarterback Curtis Thompson is making his second start of the season for PSC while the defense is led by senior linebacker Alex Meredith, who has four tackles for loss and two sacks early in the season.
LAST MEETING – The Bobcats pounded away for 348 yards on the ground in a 30-7 win over IWC last season. Mike Mertens and Lynn Meyer both topped the 100-yard mark rushing for Peru State. Chris Prospere returned a punt 75 yards for the lone Tiger score, while Gerald Knighten (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) had an IWC season-high seven catches for 68 yards.
The Bobcats lead the series between the two schools by an 8-5 margin. The last time Peru State visited Mount Pleasant was one of the more memorable performances by a Tiger team in recent history. D. Bryant threw five touchdown passes, three to James Summerall, and current IWC assistant Joe Stubbs ran for 76 yards as the Tigers posted a 59-14 win over the Bobcats in the 2002 season opener.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM STEVENS POINT – The turnovers made it hard to find things to brag about from the game against Wisconsin-Stevens Point. However, running back Derrick Chambers (So.-Champaign, Ill.) had a solid game against the Pointers, rumbling for 63 yards on 16 carries. Lawrence Moore (So.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) was on the receiving end of the team’s biggest play of the day, a 41-yard completion from quarterback Bryan Abihider (Sr.-Hemet, Calif.).
Defensively, the IWC front seven did a good job of plugging the middle, holdng Stevens Point to 124 yards on 43 carries and allowing just one run longer than eight yards. Defensive backs Darious Watson (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) and Scott Knipfer (Sr.-Cottage Grove, wis.) both had nine tackles and were around the ball all day, and Knighten picked up his first interception after moving this year from wide receiver to safety. Knighten will get his first start as a defensive player this week, replacing the injured Watson.
NEW FACES – It’s something of a rebuilding season for Peru State this year after graduation took a good chunk out of last year’s team which went 6-5 and nearly cracked the NAIA top 25 on several occasions. Many of the players who did the damage in their win over the Tigers last year have departed as the Bobcats lost their quarterback, top two rushers and top two receivers from last year’s team. Defensively, PSC lost its top tackler and top three sack men. In all, only eight of the 22 players who started for the Bobcats against IWC last year are with the team yet this year.
HOME OPENERS BY THE NUMBERS – The Tigers are 2-4 in their last six home openers, dating back to the Sept. 14, 2002 win over the Bobcats. IWC’s other win in that time was a 32-14 win on Sept. 11, 2004 against Cornell College. The 2002 win over PSC snapped a seven-year losing streak in home openers for IWC. Overall, since 1946 the Tigers are 25-37 in their opening home game.
ON THE WEB – The IWC/Peru State game will be broadcast back to Nebraska on KNCY Radio in Nebraska City. The game is available to listen to online by clicking the ‘Teamline’ link on the Peru State athletics site (www.peru.edu/athletics) or at http://www.teamline.cc/sportpage?teamcode=3219&eventcode=20 Fans can click the “Listen Live” link to catch the game. Doc Wininger will call the play-by-play with Mark Graham handling the analysis.
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.