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Head Coach Chad Braun fires up the troops before a home game last season
MONMOUTH, Ill. – One thing is certain when Monmouth meets Macalester for the first time in program history on Saturday: a team named the Scots will win the game slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff in Minnesota.
The Scots of Monmouth (1-1) and the Scots of Macalester (2-0) are coming off the mandatory Midwest Conference bye week, but they’re entering on different notes. A loss to Wartburg in Week 2 has Monmouth anxious to get back into action, while Macalester enters with a pair of wins in the first two weeks of the season.
“Bye week gave us some time to get healthy,” reported Chad Braun. “That was the big thing. We’re anxious to get back onto the field. It reminds me of two years ago when we entered bye week after a loss. We came back with three second half touchdowns against Carroll to win the restart. Hopefully, we won’t have to pull a rabbit out of our hat this time.”
Braun’s defensive unit will face an offense that has generated nearly 30 points and 330 passing yards per game. Senior quarterback Christian Adams directs the Macalester offense and has competed nearly 60 percent of his passes. Led by junior wide-out Alec Beatty’s 13 catches for 273 yards and three TDs, Macalester has five receivers who have each hauled in eight throws or more in the first two games. It’s a double threat out of the backfield, where Matthew Bonazzoli and Jeremy Stephan have had equal reps. Stephan is also second on the team with 107 receiving yards on just six catches.
“Their quarterback makes very good decisions and the offensive line does a great job picking up blitzes,” reported Braun. “It’s a spread offense with receivers running good routes and their backs are talented, make-you-miss runners. They’re also very sound defensively.”
When it comes to defending Macalester, Braun is keeping it simple.
“We’ve got to stop the run,” said Braun. “It’s going to be tough. Their quarterback is very smart and makes few mistakes with the ball. They’ll be tough to defend. We’ve got to find a way to get pressure on the quarterback and our secondary will have to be disciplined.”
Braun is pointing to an improved ground game as one of the keys to success this weekend. A 1,000-yard rusher last season, junior back DeAndre Wright was held well below his average in Week 2, but quarterback Hayden Nelson threw for more than 300 yards.
“We’ve got to run the ball better than we have,” admitted Braun. “It has nothing to do with the opponents. It’s all about us. We’ve got to be more physical up front and determined to run the ball.”
Saturday’s meeting will be the first in program history between the two Scots, a fact of little importance when it comes to the remainder of the season and a potential league championship.
“I don’t believe there is any additional importance to meeting them for the first time ever, other than we might see them again in the conference’s championship week game at the end of the season,” said Braun, referencing the league’s divisional play format as games against the MWC’s North division teams do not count toward the conference standings. “It’s a very important game for us for reasons other than a shot at the championship. We haven’t played to our capability in the first two weeks. This week is an opportunity to play better. It’s important to go out and play our best EVERY game. That’s what we talk about as a team. It doesn’t matter who we play, it’s about us getting better and playing the best we possibly can. If we go out and play as well as we possibly can, then we can live with the result.”