GAME PREVIEW: Wisconsin Lutheran @ Hope

GAME PREVIEW: Wisconsin Lutheran @ Hope

Wisconsin Lutheran (0-2, 0-0 NACC)
Hope (2-0, 0-0 MIAA)

Game No. 3 | MIAA/NACC Challenge | Saturday, September 21, 2013 | 12 p.m. CST
Smith Stadium | Holland, Mich.

Live Audio | Live Stats Directions to Smith Stadium

MILWAUKEE – After falling just short in a 14-10 loss last Saturday at Olivet, the Wisconsin Lutheran College football team will look for its first win of the season when it travels to Michigan for the second straight week to face Hope Saturday at Smith Stadium in Holland. It will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two teams and first since 2011.

WARRIORS ON THE WEB: Nine of 10 Warriors football games will be webcast live on with the pregame show beginning 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Scott Warras (play-by-play) and Sam Siemers (color analyst) will call the action from the booth all season long. All games, which are archived back to the 2002 season, are accessible to listeners at

MIAA/NACC CHALLENGE SERIES: This week marks the second season of the MIAA/NACC Challenge Series. Seven teams from the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference will be traveling to play the seven teams from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The matchups are based on last season's conference finishes of each league.

SERIES HISTORY: Wisconsin Lutheran and Hope played every year from 2000-2007, as WLC was a football-only member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) from 2002-2007. The Warriors and Flying Dutchmen have met 10 previous times, with Hope leading the all-time series 9-1. Only Rockford (13) and Concordia Wisconsin (12) have met WLC more times. WLC's lone win over hope came in a 17-14 victory at home September 11, 2010.

09/10/11 - @ Hope 28, WLC 14
09/11/10 - @ WLC 17, Hope 14
11/10/07 - Hope 38, @ WLC 12
11/11/06 - @ Hope 26, WLC 7
10/15/05 - @ Hope 38, WLC 7
10/16/04 - Hope 48, @ WLC 14
11/01/03 - @ Hope 28, WLC 17
11/02/02 - Hope 41, @ WLC 27
09/29/01 - @ Hope 69, WLC 10
09/30/00 - Hope 54, @ WLC 14

LAST MEETING: The teams last met September 10, 2011, with Hope winning 28-14 at home. The Flying Dutchmen out-gained the Warriors 370 yards (235 rushing, 135 passing) to 260 yards (82 rushing, 178 passing). Hope held a 21-12 advantage in first downs. Both teams were an impressive 7-for-16 on third-down conversions. Warriors quarterback Zach Shaw was 12-for-31 with 178 yards and a touchdown along with two interceptions, coming on the Warriors final two drives of the game. Josh Stodola had four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown for WLC. Jesse Muldrow led the rushing attack with 49 yards and Donavin Tucker added 38 yards on the ground. Jason Kramer made 13 tackles to lead the Warriors defense. Michael Atwell, now a senior for Hope, was the starting quarterback that day and went 14-for-24 with 135 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball 10 times for 57 yards and a score. Shawn Jackson, another current senior, piled up 91 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes. Luke Peterson was the leading receiver with six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Warren led the Flying Dutchmen defense with 14 tackles, an interception, and two pass breakups.

ROAMING THE SIDELINES: Wisconsin Lutheran is guided by first-year head coach Ben Murphy, the second coach in WLC football history. Murphy takes over for Dr. Dennis Miller, who coached the program for its first 13 years before his retirement following the 2012 season. Miller compiled a 47-82 record in 13 seasons at WLC. Murphy spent the previous five seasons as the Warriors defensive coordinator. The Warriors defense ranked in the top three in the NAC in all five of Murphy's seasons as coordinator, including ranking first in the conference in 2012 and 2009. The WLC defense led NCAA Division III in pass defense a season ago and ranked in the top 10 in total defense, pass efficiency defense, and scoring defense. Murphy was a four-year starter (2001-2004) on the defensive line for WLC and was a two-time All-MIAA selection. Prior to coaching the Warriors, Murphy was the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Division II Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D.

ACROSS THE FIELD: The Flying Dutchmen are led by 18th-year head coach Dean Kreps, the longest currently tenured head coach in the league. He has led Hope to six MIAA championships (1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007) and owns a 96-82 record entering Saturday's game. An Illinois native, Kreps served as a graduate assistant football coach at the University of Illinois prior to joining the Hope coaching staff in 1986.

2012 WARRIORS FLASHBACK: The Warriors had their best season in school history, going 7-3 a season ago. Each Warriors win was by 10 points or more as they had two shutout wins. WLC had a balanced attack that averaged 26.6 points per game and 357 yards of total offense per game (176 rushing, 181 passing). The defense surrendered just 13 points per game and 232 yards per contest (109 rushing, 123 passing). Wisconsin Lutheran has finished 5-2 in conference play each of the last two seasons, finishing third in the NAC both times.

Sept. 1 at Ripon W, 31-0
Sept. 8 Olivet W, 38-14
Sept. 15 Adrian L, 31-23
Sept. 29 Lakeland* W, 27-17
Oct. 6 at Concordia Chicago* L, 21-9
Oct. 13 at Aurora* W, 28-14
Oct. 20 Benedictine* W, 14-2
Oct. 27 at Maranatha* W, 48-0
Nov. 3 Rockford* W, 34-14
Nov. 10 at Concordia Wisconsin* L, 17-14

The Flying Dutchmen went 5-5 last season and were third in the MIAA with a 4-2 record. Hope led the MIAA in total offense (360.1 yard per game), scoring offense (28.1 points per game), passing offense (237.2 yards per game), and turnover margin (+1.3). They ranked 12th in NCAA Division III in turnover margin. Hope struggled defensively, allowing 28 points per game on 429.7 yards against per game, including 212 rushing yards against per game.

Sept. 1 North Park W, 42-24
Sept. 8 at Millikin L, 49-20
Sept. 15 at Concordia Chicago L, 63-47
Sept. 22 Illinois Wesleyan L, 23-13
Sept. 29 at Adrian* L, 24-0
Oct. 6 Olivet* W, 24-14
Oct. 13 Alma* W, 49-14
Oct. 20 at Kalamazoo* W, 30-7
Oct. 17 Trine* L, 45-28
Nov. 10 at Albion* W, 28-20

WLC fell to 0-2 with a 14-10 loss at Olivet last Saturday. The Warriors drove down the field in the final two minutes of the game, but the potential game-winning touchdown pass was deflected in the end zone to stall the drive at the 16-yard line with 18 seconds remaining.

Quarterback Drew Dyrssen (Vista Calif./California Lutheran) connected with running back Mike Reeves (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates) for a 94-yard touchdown pass to put the Warriors in front 7-0 with 12:39 left in the first half. It was the longest play from scrimmage in school history, surpassing an 88-yard touchdown run by Reeves September 1, 2012 at Ripon. The Comets tied the game with a long play of their own, a 53-yard touchdown pass from Braden Black to Jason Barbosa with 5:59 to go in the second quarter. Matt Grams (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI) hit a field goal with 15 seconds left in the first half to give the Warriors a 10-7 halftime lead. Olivet broke through for the eventual game-winning score when Black hit Dan Hugan for a 48-yard touchdown with 1:10 to go in the third quarter to give the Comets a 14-10 lead.

The Warriors fell despite outgaining the Comets 409-337. WLC also picked up 19 first downs while allowing 14.

Dyrssen finished 22-for-41 with 321 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. For Dyrssen, it was the third-most passing yards in a single game in school history. Reeves rushed 16 times for 46 yards and Donavin Tucker (Brookfield, Wis./East) gained 41 yards on nine carries. Matt Gordy (Macomb, Ill./Macomb) had three catches for 69 yards and Mitch Skarban (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran) totaled 48 yards on five catches. Brady Detert (Marion, Wis./Marian) led the WLC defense with eight tackles and junior Jestin Heimbruch (Manawa, Wis./Little Wolf) had three tackles for loss and a sack. Senior Cody Thurber (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) forced the lone Comets turnover on an interception.

Sept. 7 Ripon L, 31-24
Sept. 14 at Olivet L, 14-10
Sept. 21 at Hope 12 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Lakeland* 1 p.m.
Oct. 12 Concordia Chicago* 1 p.m.
Oct. 19 Aurora* 1 p.m.
Oct. 26 at Benedictine* 1 p.m.
Nov. 2 Maranatha 1 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Rockford* 12 p.m.
Nov. 16 Concordia Wisconsin* 1 p.m.

The Flying Dutchmen routed Millikin 41-7 last Saturday at the dedication of Smith Stadium. Hope piled up 510 yards of offense (336 passing, 165 rushing) led by quarterback Michael Atwell, who was 21-for-33 with 333 yards and two touchdowns through the air and added a rushing touchdown. Running back Shawn Jackson had 23 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. Vincent Boddy caught two touchdown passes and Taylor Brynaert led Hope with six catches for 99 yards. The Flying Dutchmen rank seventh in NCAA Division III in passing offense (389 yards per game) and ninth in total offense (581.5 yards per game). They have scored 41 points in each of their first two games, including a 41-21 win at North Park in week one.

Sept. 7 at North Park W, 41-21 
Sept. 14 Millikin W, 41-7
Sept. 21 Wisconsin Lutheran 12 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Illinois Wesleyan 1 p.m.
Oct. 5 Adrian* 1 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Olivet* 1 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Alma* 12 p.m.
Oct. 26 Kalamazoo* 6 p.m.
Nov. 2 at Trine* 12 p.m.
Nov. 16 Ablion* 12 p.m.

Wisconsin Lutheran garnered three first-place votes in the 2013 NACC Preseason Poll and was picked to finish second by the league's head coaches and sports information directors with 85 poll points. Concordia Wisconsin gained 90 points and 10 first-place votes as the Falcons were predicted to win the league. Hope finished in a three-way tie for second in the MIAA preseason poll, receiving two of the six possible first-place votes. Defending MIAA champion Adrian was picked to repeat as league champions.

1. Concordia Wisconsin (10), 90
2. Wisconsin Lutheran (3), 85
3. Aurora (1), 66
4. Benedictine, 53
5. Concordia Chicago, 49
6. Lakeland, 31
7. Rockford, 18

NEXT WEEK: Wisconsin Lutheran has off for its bye week next Saturday before opening NACC play with its third straight road game at Lakeland October 5 at 1 p.m. The Muskies play at Alma Saturday. Hope travels to Illinois Wesleyan next Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.

Olivet def. Wisconsin Lutheran, 14-10
Concordia Wisconsin def. Macalester, 20-10
Loras def. Rockford, 44-33
Carthage def. Lakeland, 52-6
Chicago def. Concordia Chicago, 23-13
Benedictine def. North Park, 36-10

Wisconsin Lutheran @ Hope, 12 p.m.

Benedictine @ Kalamazoo, 12 p.m.
Lakeland @ Alma, 12 p.m.
Rockford @ Olivet, 12 p.m.
Concordia Wisconsin @ Trine, 12 p.m.
Aurora @ Albion, 12:30 p.m.
Concordia Chicago @ Adrian, 4 p.m.

Millikin @ Aurora, 1 p.m.

Benedictine 0-0 1-1
Concordia Wisconsin 0-0 1-1
Aurora 0-0 0-1
Concordia Chicago 0-0 0-2
Lakeland 0-0 0-2
Rockford 0-0 0-2
Wisconsin Lutheran 0-0 0-2