Homecoming preview: UNW vs. MLC

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September 21, 2016 by Daniel Appel

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Cody Carlson leads the UMAC with 20 catches for 238 yards and a TD (photo by Scott Fettig)

The leaves have begun to drop on the campus of UNW as the Martin Luther College Knights roll into Roseville for Homecoming 2016. The Eagles and Knights are headed in opposite directions as Northwestern closes out a two game home stand. UNW are the winners of three straight, and haven’t given up a point all year. The Knights are still looking for their first win and some semblance of an offense that can score.

It’s a matchup that heavily favors the Eagles, who are looking to kick-start an offense averaging just 17.3 points per game. Expect UNW to dismantle MLC for Homecoming, unless the Knights can take advantage of a beat up Eagles squad.

Last Week

The Eagles’ offense struggled to get rolling against a surprisingly stout Morris defense which features five linebackers. Corban Halbur threw for 277 yards and a score, but once again the ground game couldn’t find its footing. Matters grew worse for the Eagles when BJ Foster left the game with a re-injured shoulder and backup Joseph Gutierrez broke his leg in the 4th quarter. Kyle Anenson, previously a corner, took the bulk of the carries and Payton Bowdry received some work late in the game. Anenson showcased his speed when he took a screen pass 55 yards to paydirt to seal the game.

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BJ Foster (34) against MLC last season. The sophomore is dealing with a shoulder injury and is out for this year’s matchup (photo by Scott Fettig)

The defense continued its scoreless march through the season, blanking Morris. They’re currently ranked 9th in the country overall, and are one of two teams nationally to shut out every opponent this season (St. Lawrence is the other). It was the first game they didn’t intercept a pass, but made up for it by forcing two fumbles, racking up three sacks, and 10 QB hits. Morris’ offensive line did a decent job giving Donnie Mavencamp time to throw, but the senior only finished 48% on completions for 158 yards as the stout UNW secondary prevailed.

This Week – Martin Luther College Knights

Offense

The Knights are a far cry from the sometimes-dangerous Morris Cougars. They rank 216th (out of 234 schools) offensively, mustering but two touchdowns through three games. RB Josh Wong has been the only bright spot for the Knights, averaging 77 yards a game and 5.9 a pop. Former tailback turned QB (an MLC tradition), T.J. Babinec, leads the offense…albeit slowly. The signal caller is plagued with a leaky line and not much to look for downfield. He’s completing 35% of his passes and has given the ball away three times.

Defense

On the other side of the ball, the Knights are about what you’d assume. The Knights gave up 20 points Week 1 to Maranatha Baptist, a team most consider to be the worst in all of DIII football. A trip to Eureka Week 2 and a homestand against Crown Week 3 left the Knights being outscored 70-7 in UMAC play. The issues for MLC begin in the front seven; they’ve registered one sack. The secondary hasn’t helped either, picking off just one pass, and the unit as a whole is allowing 360 yards of offense per contest.

Quick Hits

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Northwestern will host their third Homecoming in the history of Reynolds Field

  • UNW hasn’t blown a team out this season, but expect this one to get U-G-L-Y
  • Corban Halbur will put up career bests across the board and surpass 300 yards
  • The UNW defense is going to score points.
  • The Eagles will run the ball effectively with new starting running back duo Kyle Anenson and Payton Bowdry.
  • The school record for catches in game is 14. Cody Carlson might get there on Saturday
  • It’s Homecoming! If you’re going to the game, get there early.

Final Thoughts

Northwestern 45

Martin Luther 0

The Eagles blow out MLC before the schedule turns to long road trips, beginning with Iowa Wesleyan next week.

As always, EVERY game can be heard on The Remnant, right here.  Jonathon Bartsch, David Pederson, and Caleb Sowers have the call live from Reynolds Field, with pregame at 12:45.

 

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