MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College hosts Quincy University Saturday night at Evans Field, and perhaps a return home this weekend will get the team back in the win column after two losses to Mid-States Football Association Midwest League foes.
The Tigers are hosting their second home night football game this season and would love to have a near-duplication of the first one. Playing under the lights at Evans Field for the first time in several years, IWC took over in the second half for a 36-24 win over Grand View College in front of a large and vocal crowd that was the biggest for a Tiger home game in more than a decade.
Even more were on hand the next weekend for IWC’s Homecoming game, but the excitement level was subdued some when the Tigers lost to Olivet Nazarene 28-12. The team also lost last week to nationally ranked St. Francis (Ill.) 31-13, so the goal this week is to turn it back around and refine a few rough edges that crept up in the past two games.
IWC will try to do that this week against Quincy University, one of two teams undefeated in the MSFA Midwest after two weeks of league play. The Hawks are coming off a 20-7 win over the same Olivet Nazarene team IWC lost to two weeks ago. QU runs a spread offense similar to the Tigers, with an emphasis on short passes mixed with dynamic waterbug running back Corey Williams, who is only 5-foot-5 but averages 5.2 yards per carry. Defensively Quincy will come at the Tigers with a 4-3 front led by star middle linebacker Jacob Zsuppon, second in the league in tackles and on pace this year to set the Hawk school record in that category.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – Quincy’s 3-3 record is deceiving because of a very difficult early schedule. In their first three games the Hawks played a pair of NCAA Division I-AA schools currently ranked in the top 20 (Western Illinois and Central Arkansas) and also St. Francis (Ind.), which is ranked in the top 5 in the NAIA. Since then Quincy has rebounded to win three straight, including a 2-0 start in MSFA Midwest play. This past week the Hawks received one vote in the NAIA national poll, tying with three other schools for 29th in the nation.
In his ninth season, Head Coach Bill Terlisner is coming off back-to-back winning seasons at Quincy for the first time since 1993-94, when he was an assistant coach with the program. The Hawks have benefitted from several NCAA Division I transfers joining the program in the past and this year is no exception. Quarterback Sam Donatucci is a transfer from I-AA Illinois State, while senior wide receiver James Bailey transferred to Quincy from Indiana University.
LAST MEETING – The Hawks defeated the Tigers 35-10 last year in Quincy, scoring three touchdowns on plays of 55 yards or longer. IWC was limited to 107 yards of total offense but was in the game until Quincy scored three second half touchdowns to open it up. Quarterback Bryan Abihider (Sr.-Hemet, Calif.) made his first and only start of 2007 against the Hawks, completing 8 of 30 passes for 76 yards including a touchdown to Jeremy Spinneweber.
Quincy has a 6-1 advantage in the series, with the Tigers’ only win coming in the first meeting in 1987, a 10-0 victory at QU.
TWO HALVES – The Tigers will be looking to put together a complete game this week after a promising-but-uneven time last week at St. Francis. In the first half the IWC offense piled up 177 yards passing but USF scored touchdowns on four drives for a 28-13 lead. The second half was a different story, with the Wesleyan defense holding USF to just three points but the offense gaining only 90 yards.
The IWC offense matched the Fighting Saints almost yard for yard in the first half but paid for having two of three drives inside the 20-yard line end in field goals. The Tigers also struggled on third downs, converting just three of 16 opportunities, well below the team’s previous 47% conversion rate going into the game.
ON THE GROUND – One of the things to watch Saturday will be to see which team can slow the other’s rushing game down more. IWC’s first two MSFA opponents combined for 468 yards on the ground and posted a 5.8 yard per carry average, while the Hawks rank last in the MSFA in run defense allowing over 222 yards per game. Quincy showed significant improvement on that front last week, though, holding Olivet Nazarene to 59 yards on the ground.
MOORE, PLEASE – Lawrence Moore (So.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) already has had the most prolific season for a Wesleyan wideout in years. Through six games Moore has caught 28 passes for 422 yards and four touchdowns. The receiving yards are the most for a Tiger receiver since 2003, and the four touchdown catches (all in the opener against Waldorf) are the most for an IWC player since 1999. The sophomore had the second 100-yard receiving game of the season last week against St. Francis, making six catches for 115 yards.
ANOTHER DO-IT-ALL – Scott Knipfer (Sr.-Cottage Grove, Wis.) and Tyler McGuire (Sr.-Mount Pleasant, Iowa) have been two of IWC’s most notable contributors this season, in part because they have contributed significantly on both defense and special teams. The offense has its answer in T.J. Tolliver (So.-Bellwood, Ill.), who may define the modern recruiting designate of ‘Athlete.’
Tolliver is the team’s back-up quarterback and has taken snaps under center in three games this season. He also lined up at receiver last week on several plays and was split out wide before scoring on a six-yard end around against St. Francis, his second rushing touchdown this season. He also plays an important role on special teams; as the up-back on the punt team he has taken snaps on fake punts. For good measure, Tolliver covers kickoffs as well and has made three tackles covering kicks and punts on special teams.
TEAM AWARDS – The IWC coaching staff presented awards to five players after last week’s game against St. Francis. Offensive MVP-Moore; defensive MVP-Kyle DeRossett (Sr.-Dupo, Ill.); special teams MVP-Knipfer; offensive scout team MVP-Joel Keller (Fr.-Columbus Junction, Iowa); and defensive scout team MVP-Corey Liggett (Fr.-Wever, Iowa).
ON THE AIRWAVES – The IWC/Quincy game will be broadcast in the Quincy area on WGEM Radio. The game will be available on FM 105 or AM 1440, depending on if the Major League Baseball playoffs are playing Saturday night. A webstream will be available on the Internet at http://www.wgemradio.com. Broc Hampsmire will be calling the game for WGEM.
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.