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After a disappointing non-conference showing, the Muskies look to start Northern Athletics Conference play with renewed confidence.
Lakeland (0-3) is playing for its first win this season when the Muskies host the Spartans of Aurora University on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Spartans (1-2) are coming off a 28-0 loss to Illinois Wesleyan University. Aurora totaled 170 yards of offense, including 49 rushing and 121 passing. They were led by quarterback Noah Martin, who completed 10 of 21 passes for 121 yards. He was also the team's leading rusher with nine carries for 29 yards. Steve Rivera added 12 rushes for 25 yards as the team's second leading rusher. Wide receiver Jordan Peterson led Aurora with four catches for 47 yards, while fellow wide-out Evan Hackbarth added three catches for 59 yards.
In last year's loss to Aurora, the Muskies limited the Spartans to 206 total yards of offense, 31 rushing and 175 passing. They were able to force three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble), but the Lakeland offense committed seven turnovers themselves and couldn't return to the end zone after an early first quarter score. The defense will look to play fundamentally sound football and put pressure on the Spartans balanced attack.
The matchup to watch when Aurora has the ball will be the Muskies young defensive secondary against the experienced wide receivers of the Spartans. "We need to limit their big play offense and play sound, fundamental football," said Bruton.
Lakeland is still searching for a complete game. Last week was a tale of two halves for the Muskies as they scored 14 points on 177 yards of offense, including 124 yards rushing, in the first half, but added just 96 yards of offense in the second. Sophomore quarterback Dylan Van Straten (Shiocton, Wis.) rushed for a team-high 57 yards on seven carries and scored twice while also completing three of six passes for 53 yards in the first half. He completed just three of nine passes for 61 yards and threw one interception in the second. "Our offensive line fell apart in the second half," said offensive coordinator Peter Hahm. "They reverted back to their old tendencies and it showed,"
The key matchup when Lakeland has the ball on Saturday will be the Lakeland tackles Jaryn LaBine (Crandon, Wis.) and Sam Spaeth (Appleton, Wis.) against Aurora defensive ends Derek DiNino and Jerome Christmas.
Lakeland head coach Kevin Doherty feels the biggest matchup on Saturday will be in the trenches. He also knows that if his team does a few things right, they have a great chance to get their first win of the season.
To hear what Bruton has to say about this Saturday's game, click here.
To hear what Doherty says are his keys to winning this week, click here.
To hear what Hahm says is the key to offensive success, .