WICHITA—The McPherson College football team made it two wins in a row, going on the road Saturday to defeat the Friends University Falcons 26-20. The Bulldogs had to shake off another slow start, spotting the home team 20 points before reeling off 26 unanswered points to secure the victory, their first win on the road since 2014.
The Falcons scored their first touchdown of the day in the waning moments of the opening quarter when they blocked a Bulldog punt, and then went 85 yards for the score. Four minutes into the second quarter, they struck again, this time on a two yard run, which extended their lead over the Bulldogs to 14-0. Four minutes later, they scored again on another run play, this one for 41 yards, but a missed extra point left the score 20-0.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board on their final drive of the half. Ed Crouch connected with Ben Nikkel on a 35-yard pass. With the extra point, the Bulldogs went into the halftime intermission trailing 20-7.
In the second half, the Bulldog defense began to assert itself, and offensively, they got their running game going. The defense allowed the Falcons 153 yards of total offense in the first two quarters. In the second half they held them to five. Offensively they had just 62 yards in the ground in the first half, but in the second they ran for 185.
The Bulldogs' second touchdown of the game came with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Corey Davis took a handoff from Crouch and went 59 yards to pay dirt. The extra point went off the goal post, leaving the score at 20-13. In the fourth quarter, it was Davis again, this time on a nine yard run. Cole Schroeder nailed the extra point tying the game at 20.
After another defensive stand, the Bulldogs got the ball back with 2:08 left on the clock. Crouch marched the Bulldogs down the field 87 yards in five plays resulting in an 18-yard touchdown pass to David Ross. Schroeder missed again on the extra point leaving the score 26-20 and 1:09 on the clock.
The defense, which had been relentless the entire second half was asked to do it one more time. Undaunted, they rose to the challenge. The Falcons netted -8 yards in four plays, thanks to two timely sacks by Charles Tisby. The Bulldogs took over on downs, and all that was left was for the offense to assume the victory formation and for Crouch to take a knee.
Statistically, the Bulldogs finished with 470 yards of total offense, 247 on the ground, and 223 through the air. Crouch completed 25 of his 46 pass attempts to reach the 223 yard mark, and he also led the rushing attack with 116 yards on 15 rushes. Nikkel led the receiving corps with 82 yards on eight catches.
"The kids were very resilient today," Head coach Jeremiah Fiscus said. "We spotted them 20 points in the first half and we overcame adversity as a team on the road. The entire team was involved in one way or the other from making plays on the field to bringing great energy on the sideline. The coaching staff did a fantastic job as well. It was not pretty, lots to learn from and correct as we move forward, but we will move forward. I love the tenacity this team plays with."
The win puts the Bulldogs at 2-3 overall and 2-2 in the KCAC. Next week is Homecoming, and the Bulldogs will host the Southwestern College Moundbuilders, who upset nationally ranked Bethel College this week. Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 1 p.m.