Still not convinced that the McPherson College football team means business?
The Bulldogs continued to somehow find a way to getting the win when the pressure is on them. Saturday evening was no different as the Bulldogs escaped with 19-17 win over Ottawa, extending their winning streak to four and reaching above .500 at 4-3 (4-2 in KCAC).
Winning dramatically is starting to look like the norm for the Bulldogs, but one thing that kept the Bulldogs in the game consistently is the defense. The Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in NAIA in pass defense, held Ottawa's quarterback Connor Kaegi under is passing yard average [277.1]with 201 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Bulldogs coach Jeremiah Fiscus would continually say after the game that his defensive unit keeps playing like their hairs are on fire.
"They executed well. They played at a high level," Fiscus said. "The stuff we see out of those guys every day in practice isn't easy to deal with. We do a good job coaching, and the kids do a good enough job playing."
Bulldogs quarterback Ed Crouch worked his magic after being limited in last week's win over Southwestern College. Crouch finished the night throwing 21 of 38 for 210 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. One thing the Bulldogs have been struggling with was scoring on the first drive. They finally accomplished it after producing 16 plays for 81 yards. Crouch completed the scoring drive when he connected with Eman McNeal.
"Tonight, we performed better than we ever perform," Crouch said. We scored on the first drive because we struggled in that, we capitalized it. When you are in the red zone, you can't turn the ball over or turnover on downs. We got to punch those in. We can't be settling and waiting on the defense."
Because the Bulldogs missed their extra point and settled for six, the Braves were able to capture a one-point lead after scoring on their first drive. Kaegi found an open Greg McMahon for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
As it remained 7-6 for the rest of the first half, both teams got going in the points differential. Crouch's second touchdown was a 27-yard pass to Tanner Williams five minutes into the third quarter to regain the lead. However, just like the first quarter, the Braves answered back on the next series.
The difference in the ballgame was the running game as the Bulldogs rushed for 196 yards on the ground with Quashad Washington being the top rusher with 66 yards on eight carries. Corey Davis had the most carries and added 50 yards on the ground. The difference-maker was LeMeshio Hill. As he wore the No. 99 jersey instead of his usual No. 4, the junior didn't get a carry in the first half but pounded 43 yards and a rushing touchdown in the second half that clinched the win for McPherson.
"We still have a long way to go through the ground, and we ask those guys to lock in," Fiscus said. "You can never tell a kid how to run, but you can teach them where to run, and they really did a pretty good job of doing what we asked them to do, using what they're natural of doing. They all have a little bit of different skill sets. They can all really get after it in running the football for you. Those kids play hard."
The Bulldogs will be on the road as they will take on the University of Saint Mary next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter@Petes_Picks_