McPherson College makes their first road trip of the year Saturday, and it’s only fitting they make it to the site of 2012’s signature win.

McPherson College makes their first road trip of the year Saturday, and it’s only fitting they make it to the site of 2012’s signature win.
The Bulldogs pulled out a 28-24 upset over Kansas Wesleyan University, who, last year, finished third in the conference with a 6-3 record, 6-5 overall.
This year, the Coyotes are experiencing something of a slump to start 2013, having gone 1-2, with that one win probably the upset of the young season, as they defeated Evangel University during the KCAC-HAAC series Sept. 14.
KWU is coming off a 24-14 loss to Southwestern College in the conference opener for both teams.
Kansas Wesleyan was leading at halftime against the Moundbuilders, but gave up two touchdowns in the third quarter and couldn’t find the end zone, with quarterback Trey Dallas throwing four interceptions. McPherson head coach Pete Sterbick credits that just as much to a talented Southwestern team as a let-down by the Coyotes.
“When we look at KW,” Sterbick said, “we see a talented football team. They have good size and experience with a lot of seniors in there two-deep. I like some of the matchups that we are presented with on all three sides of the ball.”
The KWU offense is ranking among the cream of the crop of the KCAC so far this season, averaging 438.7 yards per game of total offense in 2013. That not only is the top mark in the KCAC, but it is also good enough to rank the Coyotes 23rd in the nation.
Dallas is putting up just shy of 250 yards passing each game, with senior wide receiver Zach McClain his favorite target. McClain has 331 yards receiving with three touchdowns on the year. He averages 110.3 yards a game.
On the ground, Taylor Sachs is leading the rushing attack, as he has 451 yards on 80 carries with five touchdowns on the season. He averages 5.6 yards per carry every time he touches the ball.
McPherson will need to shut down the offense to have a chance of repeating last year’s win. Admittedly, the Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0 KCAC) had some defensive issues last week in a 51-31 win over Bethel to open conference play. McPherson’s offense was firing on all cylindars, but the defense struggled to stop the Thresher offense in the third quarter, letting them score 14 unanswered points.
Sterbick believes letdowns such as these show the Bulldogs need to have a little more faith in defensive coordinator Steve Fox.
“In my opinion,” Sterbick said, “there isn’t a better coordinator in the KCAC, and our players need to start realizing this and executing. We get caught doing our own thing at times, and we become undisciplined. We can’t help the opponent’s offense; we have to make them earn it a lot more than we did last Saturday.”
McPherson’s offense, who had a huge game against Bethel with 580 total yards, could be set for another big game against Kansas Wesleyan. The Coyotes rank ninth in the KCAC in total defense, giving up 482.3 yards per game. They are eighth in rush defense (258.3) and sixth in scoring offense (24).
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are sitting atop the KCAC in scoring offense with an average of 38.7 points per game, with their passing offense sitting at second with 252.7 yards per game.
A lot of that is due to junior quarterback Jordan Hoffman,who has completed 58-of-90 passes for 734 yards and seven touchdowns on the year. He is averaging 244.7 yards passing per game.
“Jordan is a quality quarterback when he allows the offense to come to him and doesn’t force things,” Sterbick said. “We were able to see glimpses of what he can do at times [against Bethel]. It’s a group effort though; all 11 guys have to be doing their jobs in order for us to be successful. That was the biggest reason we were able to score when we needed to.”
McPherson and Kansas Wesleyan kick off from Salina Stadium Saturday evening at 6 p.m.

Contact Chris Swick by email at and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.