MONMOUTH, Ill. - Fresh off a key Midwest Conference win, Monmouth College football coach Steve Bell is hoping his team repeats their performance this week when the Fighting Scots meet the Grinnell Pioneers in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Grinnell, Iowa.
"We brought energy and intensity into last week's game," said Bell of the Scots' 31-9 win over St. Norbert. "When we play up to speed and do what we're supposed to do, we'll have a chance to win any game."
A second quarter outburst propelled Monmouth (3-1, 3-0) to a 24-0 halftime lead over the Green Knights. The Scots intercepted three passes during the game and allowed just 236 yards of offense. St. Norbert was only able to penetrate the red zone twice, while Monmouth's offense racked up 338 yards, helped along by Trey Yocum's 149 yards rushing. Yocum padded his career rushing TD record with a 44-yard score late in the third quarter.
Grinnell (1-3, 1-2) picked up its first win of the season last week, edging winless Beloit 13-7. The Pioneers used big plays to earn the win, as a 50-yard field goal put Grinnell on the board on its first possession and a 67-yard Sam Poulos to Jayson Campos pass was its only TD. Another field goal - this one a 34-yarder in the third quarter - gave the Pioneers the final margin.
"They've got a very good tailback," reported Bell of the Pioneers. "Their quarterback is young - a freshman - but a very good athlete. He's developing in the system they're running and getting better with every snap."
Poulos completed 14 of 24 passes last week for 164 yards. He's been averaging more than 180 yards per game and has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes. Senior receiver Cody Weber has been Poulos' main target, hauling in nearly half the Pioneers' passes for nearly 100 yards per game.
The "very good tailback" Bell speaks of is 5-foot-9 senior T.J. Schaid. He's carried the ball 79 times, 29 more rushing attempts than Poulos, who is second on the team in carries.
"He's kind of a shifty runner," said Bell of Schaid. "He's not real big, but he's definitely a physical runner. We noticed that last year."
When it comes to preparing his offense, Bell may have to revert to his game film from years past.
"They run a 3-4 defense," reported Bell. "It will be the first time this year we've seen that scheme. We've seen it in the past, so we're familiar with it. We just haven't had to prepare for it this season until now. It does present different challenges."
The Scots were up to last week's challenge and passed with flying colors. This week, it's a whole new ballgame, but Bell is hoping for a carbon copy of last week's effort.
"Last week showed what we're capable of doing," said Bell. "We were in the right spot at the right time. We came to the game with a physical mentality. It's crucial that we bring that type of game each week."
The Scots and Pioneers will meet for the 64th time this Saturday. Monmouth leads the series 40-20-3, but had a nine-game win streak snapped two years ago. Bell's squad rebounded last year with a 61-20 victory.
Catch Dave Clockenga and Marty Touchette's call of the game live on 1330WRAM and streaming online at 1330WRAM.com Saturday. Pregame will start at 12:45 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.