BELOIT - Ted Soenksen described the two college football teams on a collision course Saturday afternoon in St. Bonifacius, Minn., as young, hungry and ready for an all-out battle.
One of those squads is his very own Beloit College Buccaneers, who opened with a 44-6 loss at home against Concordia University-Chicago last Saturday.
They'll face a Crown College team which opened on the road against St. Olaf in Manitou, Minn., and fell 45-14, suffering its 24th straight overall loss stretching over four seasons.
"They played a very good team and kind of had the same sort of result we had," the first-year Beloit head coach. "We're very similar programs right now. We both have lower roster sizes and we haven't had a lot of wins over the past few years. It's going to be two very hungry teams trying to pick up that first win of the season Saturday."
The Bucs had their hands full with a veteran Concordia team that featured an elite running back in junior Lance Moise. He ran for 169 yards on 23 carries and scored six touchdowns in the contest, which saw the visiting Cougars go up 31-0 by halftime.
"We faced one of the best running backs in the country running behind an offense line that had four returning starters," Soenksen said. "Stopping him from breaking off any real big runs was a point of pride for our defense. They want to make offenses work for their yards and overall I think they did that.
"The game on Saturday was a mixture of not making the plays when we were in position to make them. That was on both sides of the ball and all three phases. Defensively we had guys in position to make tackles who missed and on offense we had guys in position to make plays on third down and didn't."
Soenksen said he didn't see any "quit" in his team, despite the lopsided halftime score.
"We showed we are going to fight all the way to the end of the game no matter what the outcome is," he said. "As a new coaching staff we're excited about that. Now we have to execute better so we're in the game in the fourth quarter."
The Bucs ended up with 66 plays and 257 yards in offense. Juan Reyes was voted the team Offensive Player of the Week after catching five passes for 85 yards and the team's lone touchdown, a 19-yarder from freshman quarterback Alex Alvarez. Nano Reyes added 50 yards rushing on 14 carries and was named the Special Teams Player of the Week.
"We had some nice individual efforts and some group efforts, too," Soenksen said. "We had lots of glimpses and flashes of how well we can play when we all execute and are on the same page. We just need to get more of those. There is a consistency level we need to find a way to get to."
Sophomore transfer Curtis Luther started at quarterback for the Bucs, but left in the third quarter after injuring his throwing elbow when he landed on it as he was tackled.
"He hyper-extended it," Soenksen said. "It looked better (Tuesday) than it did yesterday. Hopefully, he'll be able to go Saturday. The other guys will be prepared. The nice thing is that they stepped in and also got some reps in the first game."
Soenksen said Crown will have some playmakers.
"They have two very good tailbacks and on defense they've got a really good tackle, corner and safety," he said. "At all three levels they have someone who can play on any team in this conference right now. But we can only worry about ourselves and how much we can get better."
• STORMY WEATHER: Crown trailed St. Olaf 45-0 at halftime. The winners had 262 of their 306 yards in the first half.
Head coach John Auer has been with the Storm program since 2000. His most successful years came from 2007-2010 when the Storm posted a 21-17 record and played for conference championships in 2008 and 2010.
Crown was 2-8 in 2016, dropping its last three games. It went 0-10 in 2017 and 2018.
• NOTES: Linebacker Andrei Prikhodko was named Defensive POW with 12 tackles, including 10 solos and one for loss. ...Right tackle Marcus Castro (high ankle sprain) is questionable for Saturday. ...The team will leave Friday morning and stop in St. Paul, Minn., where it will practice at Northfield College, then travel 20 minutes to a hotel.