The Alma College Football team played their first road game of the 2012 season on Saturday when they traveled to Bloomington, Ill. to take on the Titans of Illinois Wesleyan University.
A close game that was 10-7 at halftime was broken open by the hosts in the second half, as the Titans defeated the Scots by a final margin of 53-7. The loss drops Alma to 0-2 on the season, while Illinois Wesleyan improved to 2-0.
"We played a solid first half and just had too many turnovers and missed assignments in the second half to give ourselves a chance to win," said Alma Head Coach Greg Pscodna. "We should have scored two more times in the first half, but didn't get it done. Now we will focus on Aurora next Saturday."
After a punt by Alma on their first possession, Illinois Wesleyan drove 46 yards on eight plays and finished the drive with a 33-yard field goal by Michael Kelley for a 3-0 advantage. Early in the second quarter, the Scots drove to the Titans' three-yard line, but Jr. QB Jarrett Leister (St. Louis, Mich./Mt. Pleasant) was intercepted in the end zone. Two plays later, Illinois Wesleyan QB Rob Gallik hit Alex Garvey on a short pass and he converted it into a 78-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
The visitors played a spirited first half though and were not going to go away. Leister capped a 14-play, 71-yard drive (8:30 possession) when he plunged over the goalline on a fourth and one play to cut the deficit to 10-7. Each team had one more offensive series, but they could not convert and the Titans took the three point advantage into halftime.
After the Scots' defense continued their inspired play on the first drive of the second half, forcing a IWU punt after three plays, Alma looked poised to make this a very interesting afternoon. However, Leister was intercepted on third down, giving the ball to the Titans on the Scots' 41-yard line. Four plays later, a touchdown and a two point conversion gave the host team an 18-7 lead.
It was at this point in the game that the wheels came off of the wagon for the Scots. A fumble on a kickoff return, two more interceptions and a blocked punt all contributed to Illinois Wesleyan scoring 43 second half points en route to the victory.
In a statistical anamoly, Illinois Wesleyan outgained Alma by a margin of 415 to 223, but the Scots had the ball for 38:05 to the Titans' 21:55. Leister finished with 13 completions on 28 attempts for 118 yards and four interceptions, while Jr. TE Nate Hudeck (Birch Run, Mich./Birch Run) and Jr. WR Joey Jerisk (Burton, Mich./Burton Bentley) led the Scots with three receptions for 29 and 22 yards respectively. Jerisk also led the team in rushing with 29 yards on seven carries.
Defensively, Sr. LB Donald Morin (Shepherd, Mich./Vestaburg) led the squad with seven tackles, including one tackle for loss. Sr. DB Luke Kanine (Alma, Mich./Alma) had five tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, while Sr. DB Andrew Funsch (West Branch, Mich./Ogemaw Heights) added five tackles and one for loss.
Next week, Alma will participate in the first game of the MIAA/NAC Challenge, when they travel to Aurora University (Ill.). Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (EDT).