Knox can block Monmouth's football title chances

Mike Trueblood
Special to The Register-Mail
Knox College (5-4) will host Monmouth College (7-2) in the Knosher Bowl Saturday.

GALESBURG — Winning four of their last five games, the Knox College Prairie Fire are finishing their season on a roll entering their season finale at noon Saturday with rival Monmouth in the Knosher Bowl.

The Fighting Scots (7-2) sit in a three-way tie for the Midwest Conference lead and could emerge with the league title if things fall their way.

But Knox (5-4) would like nothing better than to break up that party, and for the first time in years could prove a threat to do it.

The game will mark the 133rd meeting of the rivals in their history.

Knox College on the rise

At 5-4, the Fire have already guaranteed finishing the season with their most wins in a season since 2017 and have their most MWC wins since 2002. 

Their 31-27 win at Cornell last week was their first win there since 1988.

Since a 3-game losing streak right after the season started Knox has beaten Beloit 34-25, Grinnell 28-7, Lawrence 35-0 and Cornell.

"We're continuing to mature and get healthier as the season wears on," said second-year Knox coach Aaron Willits.

"We're continuing to take steps and growing the program."

More:Nick Sutton: Phil Erickson exuded 'Lombard spirit'

Monmouth College's situation

The Scots are tied with Lake Forest and Ripon, all with 7-1 records in the MWC.

Should all remain tied after action on Saturday, the league crowd would go to the team that has led the most quarters. If Lake Forest manages to do that Saturday, take it would take the title.

Monmouth last took at MWC championship in 2019.

Prairie Fire starters

Quarterback Kaile Williams has led Knox all season offensively by rushing 124 times for 692 yards and 14 touchdowns.

He is 49-98 passing for 635 yards and four touchdowns.

"We're doing a  better job of playing team defense," said Coach Willits. 

"We've made some adjustments and made a few wrinkles."

Scots leaders

Lawrence Devon leads Monmouth is rushing with 516 yards on 95 carries and 10 TDs.

Carter Boyer has passed for 1,627 yards on a 115-for-186 effort b ood for 16 touchdowns.

"We've been a little inconsistent after we'd been really good in stretches," said Monmouth coach Chad Braun.

"We're turning the ball over a little more than I would like.

"And we've got to do a better job eliminating the big play."

A look back

Monmouth won last year's game between the schools 38-7.