The Tabor offense struggled to find its rhythm Saturday, but the defense picked up the slack to propel the Bluejays past McPher?son, 29-14.
?Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy,? coach Mike Gardner said of the game. ?If we don?t get any better than that, it?s not going to happen. It?s that simple.?
The Bluejay offense struggled all day.
?We couldn?t find any rhythm,? Gardner said. ?We need to be able to run the triple option. If we can?t run the option, we can?t score, and right now, it?s not happening.
?We?ve got three weeks left, and we?ve got to be able to find a way to make that thing go. If we do, we?ll be great, and if we can?t, then it?s going to be a struggle every week.?
The Tabor defense stepped up to the challenge, allowing McPherson 101 yards of total offense and limiting the Bulldog rushing attack to -3 total yards.
In addition, the defense earned a safety and returned two interceptions for Tabor touchdowns.
?Defense played the way they?re supposed to play,? Gardner said. ?That?s what we?re supposed to do?not give up big plays and keep battling. I?m pleased about the fact that we were able to get a couple defensive touchdowns.?
After McPherson went three-and-out to start the game, Tabor got on the board with a 34-yard field goal by Jared Slavens.
The Bluejays added a safety on the kickoff for a 5-0 lead with 11:12 left in the opening quarter.
On the next drive, Slavens? 45-yard field goal attempt missed wide left, but the Bluejays managed one more score in the opening quarter when James Monroe capped a 15-play, 83-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown leap over the pile on fourth-and-goal.
Slavens? kick made it 12-0, a lead Tabor held to the end of the first quarter.
After the teams traded punts, Tabor?s defense came up big on McPherson?s next possession.
Dylan Delk and Terach Antoine sacked quarterback Jordan Hoffman on the first play of the drive; two plays later, Matt McElroy intercepted Hoffman and ran the ball back for 6 points. Slavens? kick increased Tabor?s lead to 19-0 with 10:03 left in the half.
The Bulldogs managed a score on a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:33 to go for a 19-7 Tabor lead at intermission.
Tabor?s first two drives of the second half ended with interceptions, but Anthony Daniel returned the favor by intercepting Hoffman and cashing in 6 points for Tabor.
The Bluejays led, 26-7, after Slavens? kick with 10:41 left in the third quarter.
Following a McPherson punt, Tabor drove to the Bulldog 21-yard line, but a fumble turned into 6 points for McPherson, narrowing the gap to 26-14 after the extra-point kick.
Tabor scored once more when Slavens hit a 33-yard field goal with 5:57 left for the final, 29-14, score.
Coming?With the win, Tabor improved to 5-1 in the KCAC, 7-1 overall and moved up four spots to No. 7 in the NAIA Coaches? Top 25 Poll released Monday. Tabor will host Bethany (0-6, 1-7) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.