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Yansay Williams, Monmouth College Football
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Fresh off impressive back-to-back wins, Monmouth College (2-1) travels to Appleton, Wis., Saturday for a 1 p.m. meeting with Lawrence University (1-2) in the final exam before Midwest Conference divisional play begins Oct. 6.
Last week, the Fighting Scots held Macalester scoreless in a 37-0 win in the battle of the Scots. Macalester had entered the day averaging 40 points per game, but Monmouth held the Scots to just 46 yards rushing while the Fighting Scots offense cranked out more than 400 yards – 51 yards on a Hayden Nelson to Yansay Williams score, one of two TD hookups for the pair. DeAndre Wright churned out nearly 100 yards on the ground and put three TDs on the board.
Lawrence led until the final seconds of last week’s 35-34 loss to Lake Forest. The Vikings held a two-touchdown lead with 3:47 left in the third quarter before the Foresters rallied with three fourth quarter touchdowns.
“Lawrence has been building a great program,” said Monmouth head coach Chad Braun. “They’ve gotten better and better every year. They’ve got the No.1 running back in the conference (Wasonu Allen, 91.0 ypg) and they’ve given up the least amount of rushing yards (59.0 ypg).”
While Allen has taken care of the ground game, sophomore quarterback D’Andre Weaver has controlled the air as a dual threat. The 5-9, 181-pounder from Florida has thrown for more than 500 yards with four TDs while also running for 224 yards as the Vikings’ second-leading rusher.
“Lawrence has some plays designed for Weaver,” reported Braun. “They want to take advantage of his abilities and versatility. He does a nice job with the ball, and they’ve got a huge tight end who will create problems for us.”
The Scots have created problems for their opponents as well, combining an efficient offense with a stingy defense. Monmouth has yielded just 14 points in their last two games while scoring 61. A two-time 1,000-yard rusher, Wright is on pace to threaten the milestone for the third time. Nelson is counted on as a dual threat on the ground and in the air. Defensively, it all starts up front where the Scots have made 25 tackles for loss and 10 sacks to go with four interceptions.
“We’ve got to continue to get better technically on defense and get Lawrence in predictable situations when we know they’re going to have to pass,” said Braun. “Their defense has been very good against the run, so that will be our challenge with the ball and getting the ground game going. Offensively, we’ll have to take advantage of what they give us.”
Braun is certain of one thing come Saturday. After a heartbreaking loss last week, the Vikings will be amped up to play the two-time defending champion Scots.
“Lawrence will be ready to play, and play hard,” predicted Braun. “We’ll have to be ready to go. It’s our first long trip this year and we’ll have to handle that the right way. We want to send a message and put our best product on the field every week. This might be our last non-divisional game, but we’re not looking ahead to next week when the games count in the conference standings. We’ll think about the South Division next week. Our focus this week is solely on Lawrence and on continuing to improve and get better each week.”