BELOIT - A week after allowing Concordia-Chicago's Lance Moise to rush for 303 yards, the Beloit College defense braces for a 300-yard passer this week.
Quarterback Jacob Amaro threw for 345 yards in his first career start as Knox College fell to visiting Eureka College, 49-24, in Galesburg last Saturday.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore from Whittier, Calif., completed 25 of a whopping 55 passes. Amaro threw two touchdown passes, one interception, and found an admirer in Beloit head coach Seth Duerr.
"He has some athleticism, for sure," Duerr said. "He's very quick and eluded some pressure. He's not great throwing on the run, but he did stand in there and deliver the ball. He's got a strong arm."
So are the Bucs ready for the Prairie Fire to air it out again? Duerr said they may not do that, particularly if they studied Beloit's opening 36-10 loss to the Cougars. They simply had no answer for Moise, who did all his damage in 25 carries.
"Knox got down quickly (against Eureka) and so they started throwing and they had some success," Duerr said. "You know what they say, though, you have to run the ball and be able to stop the run to win. Both teams feel that way. If they studied our game, they're probably licking their chops. They've got two solid junior running backs and I would imagine they'll try to establish the run first. They never got the chance to last week because they were playing catch-up."
Duerr said the Bucs did a poor job on defense getting off the field. Concordia-Chicago was an efficient 13-for-18 in third down conversions.
"(Moise) getting all those yards was a combination of things," he said. "Certainly he is a very good player - a big, physical guy who is hard to tackle. The fact is, we did not tackle very well. We missed a lot of tackles. We did a lot of diving at legs and in a lot of situations we had one or two guys out of position and they took advantage."
Duerr said with their depth issues the Bucs can't practice all-out tackling, but they can stop just short.
"We tried to make it our focus this week to tackle better," he said. "A large part of it is getting yourself in position to make the tackle. We didn't do that very well last week. I think if our guys focus on it, they can be good tacklers. It requires developing right habits and having confidence. Quite a few of our guys don't have a lot of experience and some were playing in their first college game. They need to adjust to the speed at this level."
Beloit's offense moved the football and led in possession time 33:25 to 26:28. But the Bucs couldn't sustain drives in the red zone, fumbled away two chances and missed three field goals.
Quarterback Erick Mitchell did complete 18-of-31 passes for 206 yards and senior Joey Werner had 32 carries for 129 yards.
"One of the biggest positives from that game was that we ran the football well," Duerr said. "The offensive line did a great job. (Mitchell) was also pretty efficient on a lot of throws. Really, we just stalled in the red zone and that's where we need the improvement to be made. We made some mistakes and you can't afford to do that in the red zone."
It would help if the Bucs could deliver a few more big plays. Last week, Werner had the longest run, 11 yards, while the best pass play was a 32-yarder from Mitchell to 6-2, 215-pound freshman wide receiver Kentreyal Carraway.
Duerr said the Bucs will be ready for anything against the Prairie Fire.
"In the end, we're ready to do whatever it takes to win," he said. "What we need to do is play well. Knox is a solid team and we have a lot of respect for them, but we feel we match up well and it's a game we need to win."