DULUTH, Mn. — The drive from Mt. Pleasant Iowa to Duluth Minnesota is over seven hours long, and the Iowa Wesleyan football team hopes they’ll have one in the win column by the time they head seven hours back south.
The Tigers showed promise in their 21-12 loss against MacMurray College last week but still haven’t put one in the “win” column just yet. It was, however, their best defensive perforance of the year, and if they can combine a repeat of that with a little more scoring, they may just pull the upset over the College of St. Scholastica.
The Saints have had a pretty hot offense of their own, scoring 30.3 points per game, which is fourth in the conference. Much like IW’s last opponent, St. Scholastica sports one of the top quarberbacks in the conference
Gunslnger Zach Edwards has been fantastic this year, completing 58.4 percent of his passes for 2,014 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He leads the conference in yards, touchdowns and average yards per game.
That sounds scary, but IW’s defense did answer the call last week against MacMurray’s Bobby Tedesco, the second-leading passer in the conference. Edwards is less of a threat with his feet than Tedesco, meaning the Tigers will hone in on the air attack.
The Saints don’t run it much. In fact, they only average 60 yards per game, which is the second-worst mark in the conference. Only Minnesota Morris (50.7) has a less threatening run game, and St. Scholastica is the only team in the UMAC with less than 200 rushing attempts.
The Tigers have faced the Saints twice since St. Scholastica joined the conference. The Saints beat the Tigers 38-28 in Duluth in 2017, and then made it two-in-a-row with a 44-20 road win in Mt. Pleasant.
IW began to implement a triple-option style offense last week, and that allowed the Tigers to cut down on the turnovers for the most part, and also win the time of possession battle. Coach Michael Richtman says he liked the attitude the new look brought his team.
“I think we might stick with some of that,” Coach Richtman says. “I think it just gives us some of that downhill mentality. If you hit it hard, you’re going to pick up at least a couple of yards. That’s a positive play.”
The Tigers go into the contest 0-7 overall and 0-5 in UMAC play. St. Scholastica is 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the UMAC, just two games out of first, so a Tigers look to be spoilers this weekend.
IW will have three more chances to get that ellusive first win. After this weekend’s game, IW will finish off their road schedule with a game against Greenville on Nov. 9, followed by their final home game against the University of Northwestern - St. paul on Nov. 16.