MOUNT PLEASANT – Momentum is building for the Iowa Wesleyan College Tigers as the team heads into its 2008 Homecoming game Saturday against Olivet Nazarene University at 1 p.m. at Evans Field at the Mapleleaf Community Complex.
Last week IWC picked up its second win in four games, defeating Grand View College 36-24. Jaren Maybin (Jr.-Baltimore, Md.) rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first Tiger to go over 100 yards rushing in two straight games since 2005. Bryan Abihider (Sr.-Hemet, Calif.) added 73 yards rushing, and the defense recovered a pair of fumbles and applied repeated pressure on the quarterback, finishing with five sacks.
The Tigers’ two wins are already the most in a season since 2005, and the team’s 2-2 start is the programs best since 1997. Last week’s evening starting time was also a smashing success, as a vocal crowd made a noticeable impact and created a great atmosphere before, during and after the game.
This week’s game will be the ‘Tiger Bowl’ as the IWC Tigers welcome the Olivet Nazarene Tigers in what is also both teams’ Mid-States Football Association Midwest League opener. ONU features a pro-style offense with a nearly equal balance of running and passing, but the team has struggled with an entirely new offensive line from last year. Defensively the team plays from a 4-3 base and has been gashed for 460 yards per game in its first four games. However, the ONU Tigers have forced their share of turnovers, with five interceptions and five fumble recoveries already this year.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – Olivet Nazarene, led by ninth-year Head Coach Gary Newsome, is off to a tough start to the season, having lost its last two games by a combined score of 104-6. However, the Tigers are not even a year removed from tying for second in the MSFA Midwest League standings and certainly should not be taken lightly.
Marshall Fraley is one of the most dangerous running backs in the league and was First Team All-MSFA Midwest last year as a freshman. After playing for parts of the past two seasons, Ryan Forneris has taken over as the starter at quarterback this year and is completing 51% of his passes. Defensively the main force has been linebacker Rory Fry, who at just 5-8, 185 lbs. has seven tackles for loss in four games.
LAST MEETING – IWC outgained ONU 319-292, but the ONU Tigers were the more opportunistic team in a 27-7 win last year in Bourbonnais, Ill. IWC scored on just one of three forays into the red zone and converted on only three of 14 third downs. Fraley rushed for 118 yards and caught two passes for 42 yards to account for more than half of Olivet Nazarene’s offense. Aaron Rozanski connected with Travis Hollingshed for a 34-yard score for Wesleyan’s lone touchdown.
ONU leads the series between the two schools by a 15-3 margin. The series has been competitive the last three years, with Olivet Nazarene scoring a 20-14 win at Mapleleaf Stadium in 2006 and IWC winning 24-17 at home in 2005.
HOMECOMING – The 2005 win over ONU was IWC’s most recent Homecoming triumph. Complete records from the start of the program aren’t available, but the Tigers are 29-31-2 in Homecoming games since 1946. Iowa Wesleyan is 1-3 all-time against Olivet Nazarene in Homecoming games, with losses to the Tigers in 1978, 1988 and 1999.
BALANCED ATTACK – IWC has developed a balanced offensive attack that can hurt teams in a number of ways. The Tigers threw for five touchdowns in their first win of the season, while last week the team ran the ball into the end zone for all five of its touchdowns. Seven different players have already scored offensive touchdowns, and the team’s 15 TDs in four games are already the team’s most in a season since 2005.
THIRD DOWN NO PROBLEM SO FAR – The Tiger offense also has a terrific conversion rate on third downs in its first four games. IWC has converted on 27 of 54 third down plays so far this season, a 50% conversion rate that ranks seventh in the NAIA. The defense has also done a good job stopping opponents on third down, limiting them to 20 conversions in 58 chances (34%).
FAMILIAR FACES – If the names of number 3 and number 5 on the ONU roster look familiar to IWC fans, they should. Terry Sigler (#3) and Jerett Martin (#5) both were wide receivers just last year for Iowa Wesleyan. Sigler was with the program the past two years and caught nine passes for 59 yards in 2006. Martin had two catches for 31 yards last year before leaving the program.
SUPER SUB – IWC’s task against Grand View would’ve been a whole lot tougher if not for the performance of Tyler McGuire (Sr.-Mount Pleasant, Iowa). When senior kicker/punter Scott Knipfer (Sr.-Cottage Grove, Wis.) was held out of last week’s game with a knee injury, McGuire stepped up and filled both roles very capably. A four-year soccer player at IWC who joined the football team this year as a defensive back, McGuire had never before kicked in a college game before last week. He converted three of five extra points with one blocked, made a 23-yard field goal, and also had three solid punts. For good measure, McGuire also added a pair of tackles on special teams after kicking off.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES – As part of Homecoming weekend, IWC is inducting three into its Athletics Hall of Fame. New members this year are Edmund (Bub) Krieger, Joe Thimm and Jim Rose. Krieger is a 1941 graduate who was a two-time all-conference football and basketball player at the school. Thimm is a 1977 grad and All-American basketball player who is still the leading scorer in school history. Rose was the long-time sports editor of the Mount Pleasant News who covered the Tigers from 1949 until his death in 2007.
TEAM AWARDS – The IWC coaching staff presented awards to five players after last week’s win over Grand View. Offensive MVP-Maybin; defensive MVP- Darious Watson (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.); special teams MVP-McGuire; offensive scout team MVP-Zach Ray (Fr.-Springfield, Ill.); and defensive scout team MVP-Tarvis Gordon (Fr.-Sanford, Fla.).
ON THE AIRWAVES – This week’s game will be broadcast back to the Olivet Nazarene campus on Shine FM, 89.7, the Olivet Nazarene University radio station. Gary Griffin and Butch Stafford will call the action.
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-ONU Game Notes