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Scots Face Beloit as Next Hurdle

October 20, 2011

   MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College wants to regain their edge Saturday when the Fighting Scots host Beloit for Homecoming in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Bobby Woll Memorial Field at April Zorn Memorial Stadium.

      “As far as I’m concerned, they’re a game up on us,” said coach Steve Bell reflecting on last year’s 34-27 loss to the Buccaneers. “The last time we played, they beat us. It’s as simple as that.”

      Beloit (1-6, 1-5) nearly knocked off Ripon (5-2, 4-2) last week. The Red Hawks’ touchdown with just over a minute left in the game sunk the Buccaneers’ hopes for an upset. Beloit actually outgained Ripon by nearly 100 yards in the 31-27 loss.

      Like Ripon, Monmouth (6-1, 6-0) nearly fell to the upset bug last week at Lake Forest. The Scots trailed by as much as nine points late into the third quarter before taking advantage of a fumbled kickoff to claim the lead at the start of the fourth quarter and finish with a 53-47 win to hang on to the top spot in the Midwest Conference.

      Scots’ quarterback Alex Tanney completed 32 of 37 passes for 405 yards and five touchdowns in the win to move up in the national rankings. The senior’s 142 TD passes ranks him second all-time in Division III, just six shy of the record. His 12,711 passing yards puts him fifth all-time, 895 yards from breaking that mark.

      The records don’t mean a thing to Bell as he prepares for the Scots’ next game. His team found out last week that team and individual records aren’t counted on the scoreboard. It’s all about what happens on the field and they had better be ready for another team with explosive potential.

      “Beloit has some talented kids,” warned Bell. “They’ve got probably the best receiver in the league in Derek Carrier. He’s a tremendous talent.”

      A 6-foot-4, 234-pound wide receiver, Carrier has accounted for nine of the Bucs’ 11 receiving TDs. But he’s not the only large target for senior quarterback Brian Maughn. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, junior wideout Dillon Hess is the Bucs’ No. 2 receiver. The main man has been Carrier, who averages more than 120 yards per game on 54 catches. With more than 870 yards, that’s nearly half of the Beloit air game.

      “Maughn can play,” said Bell of the Beloit QB. “Throughout his career he’s shown what he can do. We’ve got to get pressure on him and not let him find his rhythm. The challenge will be for our defensive line to bring the pressure without overextending.”

      Monmouth’s defense will also have to account for a threatening ground game. Terence Steward, a 200-pound senior, and 5-foot-11, 189-pound freshman Zach Draus have rolled up three-quarters of the Bucs’ rushing yardage. Draus has had a nose for the end zone, leading the Bucs’ backs with three TDs, including a 64-yard scoring scamper last week. Not to be forgotten in the mix, junior Raymond Thomas is also considered a threat as the team’s third-leading rusher.

      “They’ve got terrific running backs,” reported Bell. “Stewart is one of the most talented running backs in the conference. He’s kind of a slasher once he gets past the point of attack, but he can run over you, too.”

      Bell’s team can move the ball as well. Averaging 545 yards per game, the Scots have the No. 1-ranked offense in Division III and their 341-yard passing average is ranked third. The offensive unit will be challenged by all-conference cornerback Vince Salucci.

      At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, the senior is an agile defensive back. He’s second on the team in total tackles, interceptions and pass breakups. Linebackers Zach Boch and Jake Fisher are a nice compliment to Salucci. Fisher leads in total tackles and Boch is atop the tackles-for-loss category. The trio has combined for nearly a third of Beloit’s total tackles.

      “We’ve got to be consistent and efficient in the red zone,” said Bell of his offensive strategy. “Whenever we’ve struggled, it’s been because we haven’t been efficient in the red zone. We can’t have empty yards. We’ve got to take care of the ball once we get down there and get points.”

      Last week, the Scots got their points, scoring 27 in the fourth quarter of a come-from-behind win. That was just a little too long to wait for the lead for Bell’s liking. This week, they’d like to clear that hurdle and take the lead earlier than the fourth quarter.

 Dan Nolan

Monmouth College Sports Information Director


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