LEAVENWORTH— The winning saga continues for the McPherson College football team. On Saturday, the Bulldogs went on the road to defeat the University of Saint Mary 49-27, making it five in a row and improving to 5-3 (5-2 in KCAC) on the season.
It was nothing but a pure offensive shootout as both teams combined for 924 total yards on offense. McPherson had a chunk full of those yards with 549. McPherson's quarterback Ed Crouch was poised at the pocket as he completed 16 of 26 for 346 yards, four touchdowns, and no turnovers. The running game was also efficient, netting 156 yards on the ground. LeMeshio Hill was only five yards shy of a 100-yard performance, averaging 9.5 yards per carry. Matari Bodie set the tone with a 32-yard burst to put Mac on the board halfway through the first quarter. Eman McNeal and Ben Nikkel each had a 100-yard game. McNeal had 138-receiving yards in only three receptions. Two were touchdowns. Ben Nikkel also had three catches for 100 yards. Most of those yards came from a 75- yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to give McPherson a 13-7 lead.
All year, the Winless Spires struggled to score points, only averaging 8.3 points a game. To put up 27 and allowing 262 yards through the air on the No. 1 pass defense in NAIA was a bit of shock, knowing that McPherson has only allowed 121 passing yards all year. However, McPherson became more of a run stopper to make up those yards allowed. St. Mary only averaged 3.1 yards a carry.
The Bulldogs led as high as 20-7 in the second quarter, but Spires wouldn't go away quietly, only trailing 27-20 at halftime. The Bulldogs had a strong second half after putting up 20 unanswered points on the Spires. Less than 10 minutes into the third, Crouch connected with McNeal with a 56-yard touchdown pass to give the Bulldogs a two touchdown lead.
Crouch added more points with an 18-yard run by the end of the third quarter, leading 41-20. That was it for the senior. Backup quarterback David MacMahon came in the fourth quarter and got himself a touchdown pass to put away the Spires for good.
With the Bulldogs on a hot streak, they now focus on their toughest matchup in the KCAC at Kansas Wesleyan University (8-0) next Saturday at 1 p.m.
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