Happy to be back home
The Jimmies last home game was nearly a month ago. So homecoming at Rollie Greeno Field today against Mayville State has more than just the traditional meaning. The Jimmies (1-2 DAC, 2-4 overall) went 1-2 in the 3-game road trip, with the lone wi...
The Jimmies last home game was nearly a month ago.
So homecoming at Rollie Greeno Field today against Mayville State has more than just the traditional meaning.
The Jimmies (1-2 DAC, 2-4 overall) went 1-2 in the 3-game road trip, with the lone win coming against today's opponent - Mayville State.
"We're excited to play at home and when your throw in homecoming and everything that goes with it there is a level of excitement there," coach Bud Etzold said. "When we step out on that field we're not alone, we're representing everybody that's ever walked on that field."
The Comets, who are reeling of late, after three straight games, are not to the level of the Jimmies' last two opponents - 18th-ranked Valley City State and Wisconsin-LaCrosse of NCAA Division III. Both were losses for the Jimmies, but of different varieties.
"One was a tough emotional loss, the other a flat out butt kicking," Etzold said. "We've worked hard to get focused and get better."
Getting off to a better start would help, too.
In the loss two weeks ago to the Vikings, special teams miscues put the Jimmies up against it early and often. They were still in that game until the end, but couldn't recover fully from the slow start.
Last Saturday in Wisconsin, they were down 19-0 after one quarter and could never get on track.
"The good thing is it isn't going to take some super human feat or divine intervention, we just need to play better," Etzold said. "We've seen some really good things in spurts, but we need to turn that into solid, sustainted play. That's still where we're trying to get, and where I still believe we can get."
Mayville State started the season 3-1, but against inferior competition. Since then, they're 0-3 and have been outscored 134-47 by the Jimmies, Dickinson State and Valley City State.
Still, Etzold cautioned about looking past the Comets and ahead to the rematch against the Vikings in seven days at Greeno Field.
"People forget, but that game was close and then in the span of about 30 seconds things turned and really went our way," Etzold said. "To look past Mayville would be a mistake. They're a quality opponent."
The Comets do one thing better than the Jimmies - protect the ball. They're plus-10 in turnovers, while the Jimmies are minus-3.
The Jimmies will be without half of their 1-2 running back punch. Matt Mithaugen will be sidelined with a concussion suffered in last week's game.
Until last week, the Jimmies have been inconsistent offensively, but the defense has been pretty firm for the most part.
They're 16th in the NAIA in yards allowed per game (277).
It hasn't been just one or two guys doing everything.
Linebackers Rob Nelson and Kenny Allen are tied for the team-lead in tackles with 41 each. Sophomore safety J.T. Petsch has 36 stops and 2 interceptions. A.J. Downs has 3 INTs. Defensive lineman Andrew Hammond has 7 tackles-for-loss and three sacks. D-End Drew Baier has 2 sacks and 5 TFLs.
Get ready for the gauntlet
After today's game, the Jimmies host Valley City State (5-1), play at Dickinson State (2-4) -- get a week off -- then travel to the Chicagoland area to face the No. 1 team in the NAIA -- St. Xavier (6-0).
So winning today is essentially a must.
"Sure, we'd like to springboard ourselves into the final stretch here, but no matter how you look at it we have a lot to play for," Etzold said. "We have another shot at the paint bucket. The next week we'll be playing a team where the coach (Hank Biesiot) will either be trying to tie or set the all-time record for wins (in the NAIA) and then we play the No. 1 team in the country.
"Those are four really exciting games. Who couldn't be excited about that?"