The colors orange and blue will be in abundance Saturday (Sept. 23) as Hope (1-1) hosts Wheaton (2-0) for the traditional Homecoming football game.
Kickoff at Holland Municipal Stadium will be 2 p.m. EST.
The game will be broadcast on WHTC-AM (1450) and WFUR-FM (102.9). It can also be heard on the internet -- www.hope.edu.
The athletic colors of both colleges are orange and blue. Hope is known as the Flying Dutchmen, but for now, Wheaton is a team without a nickname. For years Wheaton was known as the Crusaders, but that nickname was dropped last year as being out of character for the institution. A new nickname will be announced on September 30.
This rivalry started in 1961. The teams last met in 1995 when Wheaton spoiled the head coaching debut of Hope's Dean Kreps, 48-7. Wheaton holds a 9-5 advantage in the series, including a string of three straight wins. Hope's last win over Wheaton was in 1975.
Wheaton has scored 17 points in each of its two victories, topping St. Xavier, Ill. 17-9 and Wabash, Ind., 17-14. Wheaton presents a balanced offensive attack, averaging 152 yards per game rushing and 217 yards through the air. Sophomore quarterback Neil Anderson has completed 37-of-64 passes for three touchdowns. Wheaton is a relatively young team with just three seniors in the offensive starting lineup and four on defense.
The Flying Dutchmen are coming off a 30-24 overtime victory against DePauw, Ind. Senior linebacker Matt Bride of Petoskey, Mich. was voted the MIAA's Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. Against DePauw he had a key pass interception in overtime. He also had two fumble recoveries. Hope swept Player of the Week kudos as senior quarterback J.D. Graves of Troy, Mich. was honored on offense. Graves accounted for 28 of Hope's 30 points, throwing three touchdown passes, scoring another on a rush, kicking a 30-yard field goal and booting a PAT. He also handled the kickoff chores after Hope's regular placekicker Ian Fish was injured.
Senior wide receiver Brian Adloff is on the brink of becoming Hope's alltime leading pass receiver. Last Saturday against DePauw he caught seven passes to raise his career total to 103. The record is 1-7 by Bill Vanderbilt, Jr. from 1984-87.
Outstanding defense against the opponents' rush has been an early hallmark of both teams. Hope has allowed just 43 yards a game rushing while Wheaton has limited its foes to an average of 67.5.
After Saturday's game, the Flying Dutchmen will be away from home for nearly a month. The next home game will be against defending MIAA co-champion Alma on October 21.