When Springfield College takes the field on Saturday against Mount Ida, they will be doing so for the first time since the two schools met in the 2010 Division III ECAC North Atlantic Bowl. On that day, the Pride came out on top with a 26-17 win behind 141 rushing yards by then-sophomore quarterback Austin Bateman.
Two years later, Bateman is still on the roster but he will not be available after picking up an injury last week against Husson. In his stead will be sophomore Rob Merckling who led the offense effectively en route to the Pride’s 36-2 road win last Saturday.
“Rob did a great job of running the offense in what was really his first varsity game experience,” said Coach Mike DeLong earlier this week. “He settled down after the first series and really did a good job running the offense.”
Merckling carried 13 times for 65 yards while also going 3-for-6 for 81 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Senior tailback Mike Davis had a particularly memorable game back in 2010, scoring the eventual game-winning touchdown run with 8:39 left in the game.
“2010 was a great game.. They played us tough but we picked it up when we needed to in order to get the win,” said Davis. “They have good athletes on defense, but we’re hoping our triple option is too much for them to stop.”
While many things have changed in the past two years, one thing that has remained constant is the presence of quarterback Scott Drosendahl in the Mount Ida backfield. As a sophomore in 2010, Drosendahl threw for 373 yards and two touchdowns on 34-for-57 passing.
In two games this season, Drosendahl has been efficient. So far he has thrown for 454 yards and three touchdowns on 56.5 percent passing while leading the Mustangs to two wins.
“Their quarterback is very talented,” said DeLong. “He played against us in the ECAC game in 2010, he was a young guy then though. They have been known to be a predominately running team but he does have the ability to throw the ball.”
Drosendahl has also rushed for 38 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Defensively the Mustangs have been tough against both the run and pass. As a team, Mount Ida is giving up an average of 126 yards on the ground and is something the Pride’s offense will be ready for.
“From what we have looked at through film and from our practice schemes we have noticed that they will do their best to put one or several players on the quarterback, fullback and halfbacks to try and slow down and stop our triple option running attack,” said senior captain Duke Ekblom. “However whatever they show on game day we will make adjustments to.”
This will be the fourth ever meeting between the two teams with Springfield holding a 3-0 advantage in the series. The game kicks off on Saturday at noon at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field.
There will be a live video stream on the Springfield College Athletic site as well as on the on-campus cable station SCTV 3. Audio can be found on ESPN Springfield 1450 AM and on their website, ESPNSpringfield.com.