The Bulldogs hit the road this past weekend and came back victorious by defeating Wisconsin- Lutheran with a score of 31-23 making their record 2-1. The difference in this game would be turnovers as the WLC Warriors gave up four turnovers to the Bulldog’s zero.
Sophomore Kyle Smock, for the second consecutive week, got the start at tailback and scored with 6:35 left in the first quarter. He would later add another score with 3:25 left in the first quarter. With juniors Danny Cobb and Damon Brown both injured, Smock has essentially been thrown into the starting job and has done well.
“The offensive line really got a good push on their defense in the first half and gave me a lot of opportunities,” said Smock. Smock was not the only impressive replacement; after two weeks at quarterback, sophomore Aaron Tenney had a really good start for the Bulldogs as he went 8-11 for 145 yards. Tenney connected with senior Justin Hemm in the second quarter for a 24-yard touchdown followed by junior Dustin Salliotte’s field goal, which put the Bulldogs up 24-7 at the half.
The game looked like a runaway, but the Warriors had other plans. Early in the third, a snap was botched and flew over the head of Salliotte and went into the end zone for a safety. The Warriors would score later in the third making it 24-16. But AC was not finished as Tenney found Hemm again on a 43-yard pass making it 31-16.
The Warriors tried to mount a comeback, and they came within one possession. The Bulldogs would go three and out on their final possession giving WLC some light time to spare. In the end the Warriors would fumble on their last possession, their fourth turnover of the game, and give the Bulldogs the victory.
“The defense played very well, and it gave the offense short field for most situations,” senior wide out Shaun Hladki said. On the offensive side the Bulldogs once again did not throw very much but the offensive line had one of their best games of the season.
“The offensive line played very well. In times that we wanted to throw the ball their pass protection was great, and Tenney had all day to throw,” Hladki added. The concern with turnovers is something that head coach Jim Deere has been all about since the beginning of the season. Smock and Hladki said that “[Deere is] really stressed about not giving up turnovers, and we have not given up a turnover in the past two games, so it really makes a difference”.
The Bulldogs are on a bye this week with their next game being Homecoming against Hope. Hladki said this should be “fun” mentioning that they have a bit of a grudge against the Dutchman after the Bulldogs’ loss to them last year at the end of the year, shattering their hopes at a playoff run.
These two teams will kick off MIAA play at the Performance Stadium on Sept. 29, at 5 pm.