|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan. (1-0)||14||14||0||20||48|
|Graceland (Iowa) (0-1)||13||0||12||0||25|
|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.||Indv. Leaders||Graceland (Iowa)|
|#31 Donald Garcia - 183||Rushing||#5 Brandon English - 66|
|#4 Trey Cooper - 284||Passing||#4 Preston Compton - 295|
|#85 Jordan Samson - 95||Receiving||#2 Taz Richardson - 67|
|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.||Team Statistics||Graceland (Iowa)|
LAMONI, IA - Graceland University football suffered a 48-25 loss to open the 2017 season to MidAmerica Nazarene University.
The Jackets started off the first quarter strong, as Senior Linebacker Deion Betts marked an interception on Trey Cooper's pass, returning the ball 19 yards and into MidAmerica Nazarene territory. With the Jackets at third and 10 to go, Senior quarterback Preston Compton connected with freshman Joe Lewis on a 14-yard reception to move the chains. Compton gained five on a rush, before finding freshman wide receiver Caleb Thomas for a touchdown. The extra point by junior Taylor Kurc sailed through the uprights and the Jackets led 7-0 just minutes into the first half.
The defense then worked quickly to give the ball back to the offense, forcing the Pioneers to go three and out. Senior wide receiver Jerry Greer kicked off the drive with a 9-yard reception, before senior running back Brandon English gained a couple yards on the ground. With back-to-back catches a few plays later by Joe Lewis, the Jackets were left on their own 49 yard line. Brandon English then found a gap to run through breaking down the field for 30 yards. Later on in the drive, Compton ran for a three-yard touchdown as Graceland moved ahead 13-0.
MidAmerica moved quickly on their next possession, cutting the Yellowjackets lead to 13-7. The Pioneers then capitalized on a turnover, taking the lead 14-13. MNU led by the same score at the end of the quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Graceland's defense forced a fumble, as MidAmerica Nazarene was able to come up with the recovery. Later in the drive, the Pioneers marked a four-yard rushing touchdown to move ahead 21-14.
On the kickoff return, Senior wide receiver David Holland gave the Jackets great field position, returning the ball to MNU's 46. During the drive, Holland caught a nice pass for 22 yards. Unfortunately, Graceland wasn't able to find the end zone, turning the ball over on downs. The Yellowjacket defense then battled to force a Pioneer field goal — one which would be missed. Late in the quarter, MidAmerica Nazarene marked another score to extend the lead to 28-13 at half.
During Graceland's opening drive in the second half, the Jackets caught a break with a pass interference call which sparked momentum in their favor. Compton made three different rushes to put GU at MNU's 33. A short while later, Compton found Thomas on three consecutive pass for a combined 26 yards, before going to Holland on a seven-yard touchdown catch. Graceland trailed MNU 28-19 early in the third.
The Pioneers then found themselves pinned deep in their own end and were forced to punt. GU started the next possession with a huge passing play as Compton connected with a different wide receiver, freshman Taz Richardson for 47 yards. Dyllon Mack then ran the ball into the end-zone a single yard to the score. Graceland slashed the deficit to just three at 28-25, the score remaining the same at the end of the third.
MidAmerica Nazarene struck early offensive in the fourth with a 75-yard run, combined with a five-yard run to score — pushing the lead to 35-25. Penalties, penalties and more penalties plagued both teams in the middle of the fourth. MNU would score two more times to win 48-25.
"It was great to see the team compete," said Marc Kolb, head football coach. "Regardless of the situation they kept competing. We were down 15 at half but there was never any panic. We just need to keep working on the small things as we move forward to finish those types of games."
Graceland produced 412 yards of total offense, 295 of those came in the air. Compton completed 29 of 46 for 295 yards. He has two passing touchdowns and one rushing. For the receivers, Thomas made 11 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Richardson (67), Jerry Greer (64) and David Holland all totaled 60+ receiving yards. On the ground, English averaged 7.3 yards/carry.
Defensively, Seniors Mike Pierre and Deion Betts each tabbed 10 tackles, seven of which were solo. Senior Jeff Sanders also contributed 10. The defense recorded five tackles-for-a-loss for 23 yards, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Graceland University will next host Avila University on Saturday, September 2 at 6 p.m. on Huntsman Field.
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