posted October 3, 2003

MIAA Football Campaign Begins at Hope Against Alma

The Flying Dutchmen (1-2) launch their MIAA season by hosting defending conference champion Alma (2-1) on Saturday at Holland Municipal Stadium.

Kickoff will be 1 p.m. EDT.

The game will be broadcast by WHTC-AM (1450) and WFUR-FM (102.9). The WHTC broadcast can also be heard on the internet via www.hope.edu/athletics.

Saturday's game marks the start of the 106th year of MIAA football. The Hope-Alma football rivalry started in 1919. Hope holds a 44-29-4 advantage in the series although the Scots won the 2002 game, 59-13.

The teams have played one common opponent in the Thunder of Wheaton. Both teams lost on the road, Alma bowing in their season opener 35-24 while Hope lost last Saturday 43-26.

Every statistical comparison would predict a high-scoring game. Alma averages 33 points a game while Hope averages 29. Together the teams are averaging over 900 yards of total offense per game. Hope, which last week ranked fourth in the nation among NCAA Division III teams in total offense, is averaging 487 yards a game. Alma was right behind ranked sixth nationally and enters Saturday's game averaging 431 yards a game.

Hope quarterback Phil Butler brings a 138.40 NCAA passing efficiency rating into the game (100.00 is considered average). He has completed 77 of 134 passes (58%) for 1,159 yards and seven touchdowns. He continues to build his career-record numbers: 461 of 834 for 6,352 yards and 61 touchdowns.

Alma's offense (known as the Scotgun) is unusually balanced. Known as a passing team in recent years, the Scots have run with the football 124 times compared to 114 pass attempts. Alma quarterback Josh Brehm has a 119.11 NCAA passing efficiency rating. He has completed 63% of his passes (61/97) for 548 yards and five touchdowns. He is also Alma's leading rusher with 247 yards in 51 carries.

Hope tailback Dan Bloemers, who rushed for three touchdowns against Wheaton, now has six for the season. A year ago, Hope's season-total rushing touchdowns for the entire team was six!