Alma, Mich. - The Alma College football team held on for a 45-40 victory over Benedictine University (IL) on Saturday (Sept. 16) afternoon at Bahlke Field, giving the Scots their first home victory of the season.
Alma built a 26-point lead in the fourth quarter, then hung on for the victory as Benedictine mounted a late rally, scoring three times in a span of just over five minutes to pull within five points with 2:23 to play.
Junior Caleb Reinhart (Montrose, Mich./Montrose) set a school record with 241 yards rushing and scored a school-record four times, including three touchdowns on the ground. As a team, Alma posted 405 yards rushing, with sophomore Austin Spratling (Grand Rapids, Mich./Wyoming Kellogsville) also recording a 100-yard game with 107 yards and a score on 14 carries.
Ryan Sample completed 31 of his 55 passes for Benedictine (1-2 overall), throwing for 407 yards and four TDs.
How It Happened
- For the second straight game, Alma scored on its opening possession. The Scots went up 7-0 with 9:35 remaining in the first quarter when Dylan Zaborowski (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center) threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to senior Lars Murray (Coleman, Mich./Coleman). The drive was set up by junior Joe Hernandez III (Clewiston, Fla., Clewiston), who recovered a Benedictine fumble on the Eagle's 37-yard line.
- Benedictine tied the game at 7-7 with 5:11 to play in the opening frame on a five-yard run by Joshua Williams. The Scots had halted the drive and force the Eagles to punt on a three-and-out, but a fumble on the ensuing punt kept the drive alive deep in Alma territory.
- Benedictine took a 13-7 lead on its next possession after holding Alma to a three-and-out. The drive was capped by Williams, who took a pass from Ryan Sample to score from 17 yards out.
- Alma responded with the first of two long runs by Caleb Reinhart, who scampered 61 yards for the score to give Alma the lead at 14-13 with 1:53 to play in the first quarter.
- The Scots gained an eight-point lead on the game's next drive after Reinhart scored again, this time from nine yards out to make the score 21-13. Junior Jacob Plisko (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson) kept the ball in the Scots' hands with an onside kick that he recovered near midfield.
- Plisko put Alma up 24-13 going into the half after he hit a 25-yard field goal with 46 seconds to play in the second quarter.
- With the ball to start the second half, Alma scored again to open up an 18-point lead after Reinhard covered 56 yards for the score.
- Benedictine pulled within 12 points when Sample scored on a nine-yard run, but Reinhart helped Alma pull away again, catching a five-yard pass from Zaborowski to make the score 38-19 with 5:52 to play in the third quarter.
- Austin Spratling scored on a 49-yard run to give Alma a 26-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
- With the score 45-26, Benedictine put together a furious comeback attempt, scoring on three straight possessions to pull within five points with 2:23 to play in the game.
- Alma recovered the onside kick with 2:21 to play, and just edged out a first down on fourth-and-2 with 46 seconds to play to seal the victory.
They Said It
"We jumped on them early and kept them down, but we didn't finish. It's a four-quarter game, and they scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and we can't allow that. Our defensive secondary has been a thorn in our side all year and we've got to get better. We've got to become better tacklers, and until we do that, it's just one game at a time." - Head Coach Greg Pscodna
- Caleb Reinhart's 241 yards rushing established a school record, topping the mark of 228, set by Ed Mason against Rockford in 2011. Reinhart's 32 rushing attempts were also sixth-most in a game in program history.
- Reinhart has now scored at least two touchdowns in four straight games, dating back to last season's finale against Adrian College, and has rushed for three scores in each of his last two outings.
- Reinhart's four-touchdown effort tied the school record for points scored in a game, matching the feat accomplished by six other players.
- The Scots' 405 yards rushing was the most yards gained under Head Coach Greg Pscodna, and the fourth time in school history that Alma has posted 400 or more rushing yards in a game.
- Alma is now 4-2 all-time in the MIAA-NACC Challenge and has won four straight.
- Dylan Zaborowski threw a pair of touchdown passes and now has 49 in his career. On three other players in Alma College history have tossed 50 or more TD passes.
- Zaborowski is also 16 yards away from becoming the third player in school history to throw for over 6,000 yards and rush for 1,500 or more yards in a career. He posted 58 yards on the ground against the Eagles.
- Austin Spratling recorded his first career 100-yard game with 14 carries for 107 yards and a score.
The Scots will have the week off before returning to Bahlke Field on Saturday, Sept. 30, to host Kalamazoo College in the annual Homecoming game. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.