MOUNT PLEASANT – Ever so close to picking up their second win of the season last week, the Iowa Wesleyan College Tigers will try again Saturday evening when they face the Grand View College Vikings at 6 p.m. at Evans Field at the Mapleleaf Community Complex.
The Tigers lost to Peru State (Neb.) College last week, 21-20, in the team’s home opener. IWC came within a missed extra point of tying the Bobcats and possibly forcing the game into overtime. Jaren Maybin (Jr.-Baltimore, Md.) had the best rushing day of his career with 120 yards on the ground including a touchdown. Defensively, IWC shut down the Bobcats after a first quarter in which PSC raced out to a quick 14-0 lead. Peru State gained just 151 yards in its last nine drives after gaining 226 in its first three.
The Tigers will shoot again for their second win against Grand View, a program in just its fifth game in existence. Big plays have been the mark of the Vikings so far this season. Offensively GVC uses a spread formation with four wide receivers and is led by running back Lawrence Furlow. The defense works from a 4-2-5 alignment but has allowed its share of points, with opponents averaging 35 points a game.
“They have a really talented running back,” IWC Head Coach Jason Smelser said of Furlow. “He’s really fast, maybe the fastest guy we’ve seen. They’ve struck for a lot of big plays this year.”
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – Grand View is in its first year of football, but the Vikings have not played like a first-year program. In its first game, GVC defeated Briar Cliff University 20-17, and the Vikings have put up big totals on offense in their first four games. Grand View is averaging 25.8 points per game and has not scored less than 21 points thus far. The Vikings have already scored seven touchdowns of 50 yards or longer, including a kickoff return, an 89-yard interception return for a score, and a pair of 99-yard touchdown runs already this year.
One area where the youth of the program is shown is in the depth chart. Grand View features 16 freshmen starters, and 30 of the 44 spots on the offensive and defensive two-deep charts are freshmen. The team is primarily made up of players straight from high school, with only five junior college transfers on the roster.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER – Another source of excitement this week is that IWC is playing its first home game at night since the 2003 season. The last time the Tigers played at night at Mapleleaf Stadium was Oct. 18, 2003, a 29-13 loss to Olivet Nazarene University. That year the Tigers faced both Quincy University and Olivet Nazarene for 6 p.m. starts at Mapleleaf. Wesleyan will take on Quincy later this season for another evening start at home.
DOMINANT PERFORMANCE – One of the most eye-catching players for IWC against Peru State was linebacker Chris Owens (So.-Greer, S.C.). The sophomore led the team with 10 tackles in the game, six solo. He also posted 4 1/2 tackles for loss for a total of 15 yards, including a sack for eight yards. He had a pair of huge plays in the second half, including the sack which took place on a Peru State third down in Tiger territory in the third quarter. He also had a tackle in the backfield for a four-yard loss on third down that got the IWC offense one final shot to score in the final minute. For his efforts Owens was named the MSFA Midwest League Defensive Player of the Week.
Maybe the most impressive part of his numbers is Owens was splitting time at an inside linebacker spot with senior Jerry Wimes (Mount Dora, Fla.), who started the game and had three tackles of his own, including a sack. For the season Owens is now tied with fellow linebacker Quentin Lang (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.) for the team lead in tackles with 18. His six tackles for loss on the season ranks him tied for seventh in the NAIA in that category. Owens will continue to split time with Wimes this week as Smelser continues to find playing time for a deep group of linebackers that includes Cameron Jones (Fr.-O’Fallon, Mo.), Dominique Richards (So.-Bronx, N.Y.) and Carl Granum (Jr.-Brooklyn, N.Y.) also all in prominent reserve roles.
A RIVALRY IS BORN? – Saturday’s game could well be the start of a long-lasting rivalry. Iowa Wesleyan and Grand View have been conference mates in the Midwest Collegiate Conference in all sports besides football since IWC joined the league in 1995. The two schools met in conference tournament play last year in women’s basketball, volleyball and women’s soccer, and have had many great battles over the past 13 years in a number of sports.
Grand View’s addition of football makes for five MCC schools playing football, as the Vikings join IWC, William Penn, St. Ambrose and Waldorf as football-playing schools. All five teams will be members of the MSFA Midwest League next year when both Grand View and Waldorf join the league. Ashford, Clarke, Mount Mercy and Viterbo are the four MCC members that do not sponsor football.
MORE NUMBERS – In just three games the IWC offense already has equaled some of its team totals for the entire 2007 season. The Tigers have scored nine offensive touchdowns over their first three games, equal to the team’s offensive total in that category over the entire 11-game season. Quarterback Bryan Abihider (Sr.-Hemet, Calif.) and his five touchdown passes in the opening game against Waldorf was one more than the team threw all of last season, and the team is one short of its team rushing touchdown total from 2007.
TEAM AWARDS – The following players were honored by the coaching staff after last week’s game against Peru State: Maybin (offensive player of the week), Owens (defensive player of the week), Shane Newbill (So.-St. Louis, Mo., special teams), Joe Maddock (Fr.-St. Louis, Mo., offensive scout team), and Brian Schrock (Fr.-Congerville, Ill., defensive scout team).
ON THE WEB – The IWC/Grand View game will be broadcast in the Des Moines area on Edge 88, KDPS 88.1 FM, Grand View College radio. The game is available to listen to online by clicking the ‘Edge 88’ logo on the Grand View football website at http://www.gvvikings.com/sport/6/9.php.
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-Grand View Game Notes