It's the day many HU players and fans have circled on their calendar for a long time. The Piper football team opens the 2011 home and MIAC season Saturday afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. kickoff against rival Augsburg at Klas Field. It will be the first home game for new head coach John Pate.
Hamline is coming off a season-opening 27-0 loss last Saturday at Pacific Lutheran. Augsburg won their season opener two weeks ago at Concordia (WI), 34-31. So Pate knows his team will be tested today.
"We did a lot of good things last week defensively," he said about the game with the Lutes. The Pipers held PLU under 300 yards and to a mere two field goals in the second half. But they played on offense without starting QB Connor Sathre for nearly two quarters. And they faced a 14-0 first quarter and 21-0 halftime deficit. It was a steep hill to climb on the road against a quality opponent.
But that fact ... and the memory of that tough 42-38 loss last year to the Auggies ... has been placed in the past. Today, the games start for keeps -- conference tilts. Everybody is at the same starting gate -- 0-0 in the MIAC.
Klas Field figures to be hopping. Several alumni and parents are expected on campus. The weather forecast is autumnal -- cloudy, a little breezy but no precipitation expected.. The team had a brisk week of practice. Everything is in place to kick off the 2011 MIAC football season in style.
A link above will allow folks who can't make it to Klas to watch the game on line with Mike Peden on the play-by-play call.
Let the conference games begin.