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Scots Want to Reclaim Identity in Milestone Game
One milestone will be set and another could be when Monmouth College hosts Grinnell Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff at April Zorn Memorial Stadium.

The Fighting Scots will play the 1,000th game in the history of the program and head coach Steve Bell could become Monmouth's winningest football coach. A victory Saturday would move Bell past Bill Reichow -- who coached from 1966-78 and won 78 games -- in five fewer games, but none of that matters to Bell and the big picture.

The Scots may have felt like victims of identity theft after Wartburg held them to 226 yards last Saturday in a 27-7 loss. Monmouth's seven points was the lowest total since a 6-3 win over Carroll in 2007.

"We'd better get back on track," said Bell after last weekends 27-7 season-opening loss at Wartburg, the Scots' first season-opening loss since 2007. "We're into the games now that really matter. The main thing is that we need to play to our ability. We must play well in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams."

The Scots will be facing a Pioneer team that had the phases working last week in a 45-35 win over Macalester. Grinnell's defense gave up over 460 yards to Macalester, but the Pioneer offense showed balance between the pass and the run to offset Macalester's yardage. Grinnell rolled up nearly 400 yards of offense by passing 27 times and running 28 more.

Grinnell also spread the ball around, using four different ball carriers and seven receivers. Sophomore running back T.J. Schaid took the bulk of the carries, but it was wide receiver Robert Seer who made the headlines. The 6-foot-3 junior hauled in nine Mike Bogard passes for four TDs. Sophomore wide out Logan Granera snared four tosses for 120 yards, including a 63-yarder in the first quarter to begin the scoring onslaught.

"They have a new head coach and a new defensive coordinator," reported Bell. "It will be interesting to see how their players progress in their system."

The Scots haven't allowed a Pioneer point in three years while rolling up an average of more than 56 points per game. For his part, Bell throws those stats out the proverbial window.

"It's a new year and a new team with new players," claimed Bell. "They look better this year than they have in the past. The have long, tall, fast kids."

Monmouth doesn't lack for talent, either, but the Scots -- ranked in the preseason top 20 by four media outlets -- were kept scoreless last week until preseason All-American quarterback Alex Tanney hit sophomore wide receiver Spencer Brown with a 60-yard TD toss.

"I never like to schedule an easy non-conference game," said Bell. "That gives you a false sense of who you are. I would rather play a team like Wartburg that is going to expose our weaknesses early than to play an easy team that will give you a false identity."

Bell is hoping his team regains the identity that has led to consecutive Midwest Conference titles. Step one is this weekend.

(Monmouth College Athletics)
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