Paul Mierkiewicz is still looking for that first signature win as McPherson College football coach.
It appeared on Saturday he and the Bulldogs were going to get it.
The Bulldogs stunned the large Kansas Wesleyan homecoming crowd by sprinting to a 35-14 lead over the 25th-ranked Coyotes in the third quarter.
But as has been the case in so many Bulldog games the last two years, they couldn’t close the deal.
Wesleyan stormed back to tie the game 35-35 by the end of regulation, then scored a touchdown in overtime for a 42-35 victory, keeping alive its hopes for some part of the KCAC title as it’s one game back of conference leader Sterling.
“There's nothing I could tell my guys that was going to make them feel any better," said Mierkiewicz, whose team arrives at the halfway point of the season with a 2-3 record, 1-3 in the KCAC. "They played as hard as they could. Offensively, defensively and special teams — they did everything we asked them to do. We just couldn't make one more play at the end. You can't ask more out of our defense (seven turnovers). There were some opportunities in the first half where we left some points on the board but, in the end, we just couldn't get out of the fourth quarter."
The Bulldogs stormed right down the field on the game’s first possession, with Ed Crouch capping a 13-play, 72-yard drive with a 3-yard run and a Jack Reid PAT made it 7-0.
After KW scored twice in less than 2 minutes, the Bulldogs tied the game before the first quarter ended as the returning Tyrone Campbell took a 25-yard flip from Crouch for a 14-14 tie.
Campbell, who had not played since the opener because of a quad injury, made it 21-14 in the second quarter with a 9-yard run and 6 minutes later, Tanner Williams came up big for the Mac defense with a pick-6, covering 33 yards.
Mac improved on its 28-14 halftime lead when Crouch flashed 19 yards to the Land of Six. But with starting quarterback Kelly Cordova having been knocked out of the game, KW backup Wesley Geisler came on to spark the Coyotes.
He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Demarco Prewitt late in the third quarter to pull the Coyotes within 35-21, then directed two TD drives in the fourth quarter to get the game tied. A 6-yard pass to Alex Kiriluk knotted the score with under 5 minutes to go.
In the OT, the Coyotes had the ball first and Jerrod Ferguson scored on a 10-yard run. Mac had no answer, as Crouch was hurt in the third quarter and played only sparingly the rest of the way.
Crouch finished with 105 yards rushing on 14 carries and Campbell was solid with 90 yards on 23 carries.
The Bulldog passing game managed only 133 yards as Crouch was 10 of 21 for 97 and Jake Tiernan was 7 of 15 for 36. Jackson Goodmiller caught 7 balls for 46 yards.
The Bulldogs had an amazing six interceptions, two by Alwin Crawford. Williams had his pick-6, while Thomas Lanktree, Joey Hale and Cole Calkins also had INTs. Joseph Hunter had a fumble recovery and Lanktree led in tackles with 9.
The Bulldogs will try to even their record at 3-3 on Saturday when they host Ottawa for homecoming. Mac has not lost at home this year as it’s 2-0.