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The Scarlet & Black

Football has biggest offensive day since 2001

The Grinnell Football team hosted the Lake Forest Foresters this past Saturday, Sept. 25 and provided an offensive spectacle for the crowd. The 49 points the Pioneers posted were the most since dropping 54 against Carroll in 2001, and the 408 yards of total offense was their second highest tally this season. The win improved the Pioneers to 2-2 on the season and 1-2 in the Midwest Conference.

Mike McCabe '13 denies a Lake Forest defender's attempt to tackle him during Saturday's game. Photograph by Andrew Kelley.

“We were able to march the ball down the field,” wrote wide receiver Logan Granera ’13 in an email to the S&B.

The Pioneer offense was very much led by the passing game.

Quarterback Mike McCabe ’13, who earned Midwest Conference Performer of the Week honor, anchored the offense, accounting for five passing and two rushing touchdowns, in addition to his 320 yards in the air. Robert Seer ’12 also impressed with 11 receptions totaling 156 yards and three touchdowns. Granera contributed 81 yards and two TDs.

“Mike McCabe had a great day,” said linebacker Ryan Creps ’12. “I would love to have him on my fantasy team.”

The running attack was led by Cody Weber ’13, who gained 30 yards on nine carries. Weber is usually a slot receiver, but is playing in the backfield due to injuries to the top two running backs, T.J. Schaid ’13 and Nick Hinojosa ’13.  The passing game dominated offensive output this past week, but Coach Jeff Pedersen ’02 didn’t see that as a problem.

“When you have to start moving guys around a little bit, we’re probably not going to be as productive on the ground,” Pedersen said. “And that’s okay, as long as we move the ball.”

The Pioneers allowed more points (34) than they would’ve liked, but Pedersen doesn’t think they played poorly.

“No matter what the score looked like, the defense did some key things for us and put us in position a couple of times,” Peterson said.

Among these crucial defensive plays were a couple of turnovers and a deflection by nose guard Tom Brinkman ’13 on a fourth down when the Foresters were driving.

However, the defense still has work to do.

“I don’t like giving up over 20 points, let alone any points,” Creps said. “I feel like there is a lot of room for the defense to improve. … One of the big things we’re working on now is communication.”

Special teams also showed up on Saturday.

“Our special teams had a huge impact on the game. We were able to get some big returns and our coverage teams did an excellent job so we had considerably better field position the whole game,” Granera said.

This weekend, the Pioneers will travel to Beloit College to play the Buccaneers, who are 1-3 on the year and 1-2 in conference. Last year, the Pioneers hung on for a 24-21 victory.

“It was a nail-biter and we expect the same this year,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen is preparing for Beloit’s tough offense, led by wide receiver Derek Carrier ’12, who has five TDs and 553 yards receiving in four games this season.

The defense will look to shut down Carrier and prevent scores while the offense will try and repeat last week’s performance against a Beloit defense that returned only two starters from last year’s team.

“We are going to keep doing what we have been doing,” Granera said. “Their defense is young, and hopefully we will be able to take advantage of their lack of experience and discipline.”

Despite the solid victory on Saturday, the team hopes to improve as it moves on in MWC play.

Pedersen noted that the team still has work to do.

“[We could improve] offensively, getting the running game going, and then keeping an aggressive defense … and gaining an advantage through special teams,” Pedersen said.

Despite the room from improvement, the Pioneers still believe they are an adept group.

“This is probably one of the more talented defensive units I’ve played with,” Creps said.

“Our team has the potential to be unstoppable. … If we can take it one game at a time from here on, there is still a chance we could win the conference,” Granera said.

The next home game is on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. against Knox College.

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