Through the first two games of the season the Macalester Scots offense was trying to find an identity. After Saturday’s 41-13 downing of the Grinnell Pioneers, it is safe to say that their offense not only found an identity but also found a home, two cars and 401K plan. The performance was simply that impressive.
Through the first two weeks of the season RB Zandy Stowell had been out due to injury. Last week’s bye gave the senior running back an extra week to rest and he returned fired up and ready to battle. That seemed to spark the whole offense to a much greater performance, especially in the second half.
The Scots won the coin toss and chose to receive. Victor Bordo received the kick-off and returned it 33-yards to the Macalester 33-yardline. From there the team went to work. Stowell carried the ball on each of the first two plays, gaining 16 total yards and a first down. The Scots then moved methodically down the field, running 10-plays in 4:26. It was the kind of drive that they were such experts at last season. They threw when they needed to and got big individual performances as well. None was bigger than a 12-yard run by QB Christian Adams on fourth and 1, where he hurried the offense to the line, then went straight up the gut, bouncing off defenders before finally being tackled at the Grinnell 17. On the next play Adams threw a perfect fade to the corner which was caught by Garrett Eichhorn for the touchdown to make it 7-0.
On Grinnell’s first possession they were forced to punt after five plays. The snap to the punter went over his head and was recovered by Macalester at the Pioneers 11-yardline. On the first play of the drive QB Alec Beatty kept the ball and bull rushed his way into the end zone to make it 13-0.
This game looked like it was going to get out of hand quickly, but the Pioneers defense stiffened and held the Scots for much of the rest of the half. That allowed Grinnell to get their own offense going. The Pioneers finally got on the scoreboard when a 14-play, 72-yard drive was capped off by an eight-yard run by Carson Dunn for the score. A huge roughing the passer penalty kept the drive alive, enabling the Pioneers to get the touchdown.
The Scots responded right away and it was the running game that got the drive going again. Macalester ran the ball four straight times, producing two first downs. Adams then completed a pass to Eichhorn for six-yards before the ground game took back over on the next five plays. Jeremy Stephan scored from four-yards out to make it 20-6.
That would be the score entering the half, and Coach Tony Jennison wanted his team to come out and make a statement to start the second half. Last season the Scots led by 10-points heading into half, but Grinnell got two quick scores to start the second half to take the lead. That was not going to be the case in this contest.
The Macalester defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half. The ground game then gained positive yards on 10 straight plays. On second and 11 from the Grinnell 36, Adams went back to pass and found Sam Bordo on a post down the middle of the field. The ball was laid out perfectly and Bordo scored to make it 27-6.
The Pioneers were stopped on their next possession, forcing a great punt that was downed at the Macalester 11. Again, Adams went back to pass, this time finding the elder Bordo deep down the right sideline. Victory Bordo, aka “Mr. Smooth,” reached back to reel in the ball and then outran his defender for the 89-yard touchdown. That made it 34-6.
The final scoring drive for the Scots was a 20-play, 97-yard drive engineered by QB Benny Goldman. Goldman was 8-8 on the drive for 5o-yards. Jacob Jones scored from one-yard out to end the drive to make the score 41-6.
Grinnell added a late touchdown. Sam Poulos threw a 42-yard bomb to Henry Cummings, who had gotten a step on two defenders, for the touchdown. The pass ended a four-play, 78-yard drive, and was also the last scoring of the game.
Afterward Coach Jennison was pleased with his team’s performance to start out the second half. “I challenged them to come out and make a statement in the second half. We scored quickly right off and then there was a lull, and I told them they needed to step it up. We did not play consistent in the first half, and I was pleased to see how well we played in the second half.”
The Macalester Coach had great praise for the performance of his quarterbacks. “I was really pleased to see Christian Adams make some of those big pass plays. What’s lost in that big pass play to Victor Bordo is that the offensive line had to hold their defense for a long time to set up that play and give him time to get over the top of their safety. That meant Christian had to be patient with the ball, but he was able to be patient because of the job of the offensive line.”
He had equal praise for Goldman. “Benny Goldman did an awesome job of leading the team on a 20-play drive. It was amazing, moving the chains consistently, and hitting his passes. I was really excited by Benny’s performance.”
The success of the Macalester Scots offense and the tenacious manner in which the defense played allowed some injured players to rest, and for some of the club’s second and third string players to get some time on the field. All five Scots QBs played in the game, including Andrew Smith, who also had some time at defensive back and made a brilliant pass defense to save a touchdown.
Stowell had 14 carries for 102 yards and Beatty added 53 on 6 carries. Adams was 6-11 passing for 177 yards and 3 TDs. Victor Bordo led the team with 2 catches for 105 yards and a score, and brother Sam had a 36-yard catch for a TD. Johnson led the team in receptions with 5.
Poulos finished 15-29 for 171 yards and a TD. He also led Grinnell in rushing with 15 carries for 45 yards. Cummings had 4 catches for 67 yards and a score to lead the Pioneers.
On defense Brett Graham had 8 tackles and Fabian Arrizon had 6, all in the first half. Kent Hoover lead the Pioneers with 12 tackles, and Jacob Beecher and Ryan Slager each had 11.
Featured Image Courtesy of Jody Russell Photography.
By Robert Pannier