Macalester finishes with best record since 1986
Macalester scored on long touchdown connection from 72- and 42-yards out in the fourth quarter to beat Martin Luther 28-21 in New Ulm and finishing the season at 6-3, its best mark since 1986. Quarterback Clark Bledsoe (So., Jacksonville, Fla. / Episcopal) went 20-for-25 through the air for 290 yards and three touchdowns against no interceptions or sacks.
While the Scots stuck to their running attack in last weekend's win over Minnesota-Morris, passing just 13 times, Macalester turned to its passing game against the Knights. Bledsoe, who came in the top 50 nationally in passing efficiency, will certainly move up as he finishes the year with a 63% completion mark with 15 TD's against six interceptions.
Macalester out-gained Martin Luther in total yardage 421-284.
Jon Elliott (Sr., El Paso, Tex. / Andress) caught nine passes for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Riley Koval (So., Mt. Horeb, Wis.) added six catches for 100 yards and a score.
Martin Luther entered the game averaging 249 rushing yards per game and were ranked 16th nationally, but Macalester's defensive front held up well, allowing just 172 running yards. The team's top tacklers were Zach Englert (So., Salt Lake City, Utah / Skyline) with 12 stops, Nate Sands (Jr., Madison, Wis. / East) with 11 and Reid Callahan (Fy., Atlanta, Ga. / St. Pius X) with 10. Callahan registered three tackles for loss of yardage, boosting his season total 10 ½. Stopping one MLC drive with an interception was Kent Hackbarth (So., Wausau, Wis. / West).
The Scots led 14-7 at halftime on a Bledsoe 1-yard run, capping a 12-play, 64-yard drive, and a 29-yard Bledsoe to Elliott scoring connection.
Martin Luther marched 87 yards on an eight-minute drive to deadlock the tally at 14-14 early in the fourth quarter.
That's when Mac's big-play strikes put the Scots back in command. Backed up inside their own 10 yard line, the Scots moved out to their 28 and then quickly re-claimed the lead with a big 72-yard touchdown reception by Koval. Macalester forced a fumble on the next offensive play for the Knights and then forced MLC deep on the punt.
The Scots, up by a touchdown, got possession back inside Martin Luther territory and on the first play, Bledsoe connected up with Elliott for a 42-yard TD with just 3:38 left in the fourth quarter. This was Elliott's nine touchdown reception of the season, breaking the school record of eight held by Mike Boecker in 1986.
Other Macalester season records were established during the game, including most points scored in a season (298 for a 33.1 average). Auburn Jimenez (Fy., East Los Angeles, Calif. / St. John Bosco) set a school single-season records for field goals with nine, and Mike Adams (So., Chippewa Falls, Wis.) set the new mark for punt return average (10.7).