• Travis Oberlin

Comets ready to capture MIAA title

Graphic by Lydia Calderon

Graphic by Lydia Calderon

Defense wins championships.

In this case for the Olivet Comet football program, history would suggest defense plays the most vital role for a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship this year.

Olivet, who comes into the 2015 season tied with Trine for third in the MIAA preseason poll, exploded offensively in 2014, totaling an outlandish 34.7 points per game.

Since 2000, the Comets have played a minimum of 10 games each season (except in 2002). In that era, only one team in school history has manufactured more offense: the 2004 Comet program shattered expectations when it rushed for more than 4,100 yards and dropped on the scoreboard 46 points per game.

Only one could think, how the hell did that roster fail to attain a playoff bid?

The defensive statistic you are looking for is 28.4 points per game allowed.

Olivet finished the year 5-2 in the MIAA. The two losses coming against Alma, 21-18, and Hope, 41-24. Alma would secure the conference title later that season finishing 6-1.

The key in both losses came from a lackluster performance on the offensive side of the ball. Eighteen was the lowest amount of points Olivet scored in 2004.

Does it sound selfish that an offense which dominated all season fell short in back-to-back weeks? Or was it an unreliable defense that was needed at the most opportune time?

So why does protecting the end zone hold so much significance in the MIAA?

Since 2002, only four times has the conference champion allowed 20 points per game or more in the entire season, including non-conference opponents. Albion won the title in 2013 when they gave up a staggering 27.7 points per game. But in conference play, the Britons defense only allowed 13.1.

Let’s switch perspectives.

In the last 13 seasons, five of those MIAA champions surfaced 20-plus points per game.

That means roughly 72 percent scored 30 points or greater on average. Only once has the conference titleholder boasted a favorable 40-point average. Trine accomplished that feat back in 2010, unleashing an absurd 47.5 points per game.

In that same season with that same group of individuals, the Thunder devoured offensive egos, holding opponents to a whopping 10.7 points per game.

Behind a lightning quick and flashy offense came a controlling defense that helped neutralize opponents. But, we as fans, are always entertained by an energetic, high-powered offensive attack over a robust, old-fashion defensive beat down.

Olivet accompanied the other 28 percent in 2007, leading the way with 25.3 points per game. But thanks in part to a sturdy defense: 17.7 points allowed on average, and the Comets captured an MIAA title.

I believe the time has come once again for this senior-oriented football squad.