Schuckman: Those criticizing QU’s lopsided victory need to dig deeper to see final score didn’t come from lack of sportsmanship


Quincy University running back Teon Dollard — the Hawks' third-string back — breaks loose for a 54-yard gain in the second quarter of last Saturday's game against Madonna at QU Stadium. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The only way to truly understand how the Quincy University football coaches handled a situation none of them enjoyed would have been to be one of the few on the sidelines or in the coaches’ booth wearing a headset.

Without being privy to those conversations, it’s difficult to claim the Hawks chose to run up the score or decided to show no mercy during last Saturday’s 89-0 lambasting of Madonna University at QU Stadium.

Still, across multiple social media platforms, the Hawks were being taken to task for a perceived lack of sportsmanship

What those critics failed to do is dive into the stats and find the proper perspective.

The deeper you dig, the more you see the Hawks weren’t so merciless. 

The Hawks emptied their bench, playing 73 players total. Three quarterbacks took snaps, five running backs ran the ball, and every wide receiver and tight end played. Defensively, every player in uniform got on the field.

The final four touchdowns of the first half were scored by players who aren’t on the two-deep depth chart and didn’t see action in the season opener against Chadron State. Six players scored their first career touchdowns, only one of which was a starter — punt returner Anthony Gilpin Jr.

Over the final three quarters, the Hawks ran the ball 24 times with 22 of those plays called for runs between the tackles into the middle of the Crusaders’ defense. Still, the Hawks had runs of 61, 57, 54 and 40 yards — three of those came with a full complement of second- and third-string offensive linemen in the game.

QU coach Gary Bass said he continually relayed messages to his offensive coaches to run the ball up the middle. Even when the Hawks did so, the Crusaders couldn’t tackle.

That’s a Madonna problem, not a QU problem.

And to be blatantly honest, a lopsided score wasn’t unexpected.

In the previous two seasons, Madonna went 1-19 with 86-0 and 80-3 losses to Marian, 68-0 and 53-0 losses to St. Francis (Ill.), and two other games in which the Crusaders lost by 63 or more points. Madonna hasn’t been competitive against anyone.

Madonna also opened this season with a 55-0 loss to Olivet Nazarene.

Still, fans familiar with QU’s history may have expected more from Madonna.

The Crusaders are an NAIA program that plays in the Mid-States Football Association, the same league the Hawks played in from 2003-11. QU has been an NCAA Division II program since joining the Great Lakes Valley Conference in 1995.

However, the GLVC didn’t add football as a championship sport until 2012. So the Hawks received a waiver to participate in the MSFA, which put them on a more even par with schools with similar scholarship limitations.

Yet, success was difficult to come by during those seasons. The Hawks went 25-35 in the MSFA over those nine seasons, going winless in the league in both 2010 and 2011 before transitioning back to the NCAA Division II level.

Even though QU is more on par these days with D-II programs when it comes to scholarship money and facilities, it’s not inconceivable a MSFA program could be competitive with GLVC schools. Last weekend, Indiana Wesleyan, which is ranked No. 5 in the NAIA, beat an FCS program, upending Valparaiso 24-22.

That is why the QU coaching staff had to game plan for a tussle.

It happened to be more of a game of tiddlywinks where the talent disparity stretched from the top to the bottom of the roster. That’s how you get a blowout, not because of a decision to be disrespectful was made.

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