Bucs need a spark on offense

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Jim Franz/Beloit Daily News QB Diontia Charles, right, will try to put some points on the scoreboard for Beloit College Saturday against Macalester.

BELOIT - After three lopsided losses in which they scored just a single touchdown, Beloit College's Buccaneers will try to find a spark Saturday when they host Macalester College for their final home game.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Saturday at Strong Stadium.

"We're looking for the offense to get on track and develop some more plays," Beloit head coach Ted Soenksen said. "We moved the ball better last week, but still not good enough. We are very much a work in progress. We're fighting very hard. There isn't an ounce of quit in any of them. It is a very tough-minded group of guys."

The Bucs (1-7, 1-3 MWC) fell at Ripon 49-7 last week, scoring their only touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Macalester (3-5, 1-3) is coming off a 49-7 loss to St. Norbert last week. The Scots were held to 162 yards in total offense.

"They had a rough one against St. Norbert, but they've played a hard-nosed brand of football," Soenksen said. "They've got a balanced offense and it should be a hard-fought game."

The Scots have used three different quarterbacks, but Soenksen said they basically use the same blueprint no matter who's at the controls.

"You break down the film and see if they're running anything different when each quarterback is in there," he said. "Are they more pass-oriented with one? Are they more balanced with another? Or do they just run the same offense no matter who's playing and then you don't worry about it."

The Bucs use two quarterbacks of their own in sophomore Diontia Charles and freshman Alex Alvarez.

"They had a few moments (last Saturday), but our passing game definitely struggled," Soenksen said. "Diontia did some good things in terms of running and hit a couple big plays. But he also missed some other things. It was the same with Alex. Across the board, we just have to make more plays. We had some missed routes. We had some missed blocks. It's never one thing that causes an issue."

Soenksen, however, sees progress even if isn't reflected on the scoreboard.

"There has been a large amount of improvement within our team and within our offense," he said. "We have a lot of guys playing very hard, but unfortunately there isn't going to be the outside perception that you are getting better unless you see it on the scoreboard.

"We have to continue to get better at what we're doing. We have to play complimentary football where all three phases of the game are working in unison and not against each other. We've only had one of those games and that's the game we won (against Lawrence)."

• STATS DON'T LIE: Beloit's Andre Prikhodko is ninth in the league in tackles with 62 (48 solos, 14 assist). Chase Caratt is tied for third with six quarterback sacks and is fifth in tackles for loss 11.

The Bucs' statistics on offens illustrate their struggles. They've scored only eight touchdowns all season while allowing 45. Beloit is averaging 6.63 points while allowing 41.13. Beloit has just 71 first downs compared to its opponents 170.

The Bucs have averaged 2.3 yards on their 250 rushing attempts while opponents have averaged 5.2 on their 335. Passing stats are no better. Beloit has averaged 3.77 per completion compared to 8.06 and has just four TDs to its foes' 13.

Beloit leading rusher Ethan Hansen has carried the ball 106 times for 242 yards (2.3 per carry). Turner graduate Juan Reyes has been the Bucs' leading receiver with 39 catches for 469 yards and three TDs.

• CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND: The MWC plays one additional weekend with the team in the North Division facing the team in the South with the same spot in the standings. Since South foe Grinnell suspended its season, the last-place team in the North will have a bye. Both Beloit and Macalester are 1-3 in the North and Lawrence is 0-4. The Vikings will be decided underdogs when they host Ripon (2-2) Saturday.

Cornell is currently fourth in the South at 1-3 and Knox fifth at 0-3. Cornell has a bye this week due to Grinnell's suspension of play while Knox is at Monmouth.

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