MEQUON, Wis. (WLCSports.com) – Behind a late fumble recovery with 1:37 left in the game, the Wisconsin Lutheran College football team retained the Luther Cup for the fourth straight year as it defeated Concordia Wisconsin, 22-19, in the Lutheran Bowl on a rainy afternoon at Tomasini Stadium Saturday afternoon.
- Final Score: Wisconsin Lutheran 22, Concordia Wisconsin 19
- Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (2-4, 2-1 NACC), Concordia Wisconsin (1-5, 0-3 NACC)
- Location: Tomasini Stadium, Mequon, Wis.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The wet conditions played a factor from the start as the Warriors fumbled the opening kickoff. The Falcons punched the ball into the end zone two plays later and led 6-0 just :30 seconds into the game.
- WLC took advantage of a CUW fumble on its half of midfield and used a five-play, 44-yard drive capped off by a nine-yard rush from John-Marcus Carruthers (Fayetteville, Ark.) to knot the score at 6-6 after a missed extra point.
- Facing a third down and 10 at the Falcons 12, Pat Mathieson (New Port Richey, Fla.) found J.K. Witkofski (Racine, Wis.) on a quick slant over the middle to give the Warriors a 13-6 lead with 8:20 left in the opening half.
- After a failed fourth down conversion by WLC, CUW used just five plays to march down to the WLC six-yard line, but the Warriors defense stood tall and forced a 23-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired. Wisconsin Lutheran led 13-9 at the half despite three fumbles.
- The Falcons started their opening drive at their own five and were forced to punt, giving the ball to the Warriors at midfield. Wisconsin Lutheran marched down to have a first and goal, but settled for a 20-yard field goal from Grant Fleming (Kaukauna, Wis.) to extend the lead to 16-9.
- CUW responded with a field goal of its own, cutting the score to 16-12 with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
- Fleming drilled another field goal, this one from 25 yards, early in the fourth to push the WLC lead back to a touchdown with 10:52 left.
- Highlighted by a 48-yard completion to Tony Ciufo (Madison, Wis.) down the right sideline, the Warriors pushed their lead to two possessions behind a 26-yard field goal from Fleming.
- CUW responded with a three-yard touchdown pass to cut the WLC lead to 22-19 with 1:56 left in regulation.
- The Falcons recovered the following onside kick. On a long quarterback scramble, Eric Griebenow (Ixonia, Wis.) forced a fumble which was recovered by Brandon Morrissey (Waupun, Wis.). Wisconsin Lutheran was able to run the clock out and secure the Luther Cup for the fourth straight season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- The Warriors finished the game with a season-high of 408 total yards, 241 coming on the ground.
- Carruthers led the Warriors with 174 rushing yards with a touchdown. Mathieson threw for 167 yards and a touchdown on 12 of 19 attempts.
- Tony Ciufo (Madison, Wis.) led WLC's receivers with three catches and 71 yards, and Witkofski had the touchdown reception.
- Cameron Wolf (Oconomowoc, Wis.) recorded a team-high six tackles, four coming for a loss of yards.
- The Warriors defense forced two Falcon fumbles and six punts. The Green and White kept the hosts to just 17 percent (2-of-12) on third down conversions.
- Wisconsin Lutheran held the ball for 11 minutes longer and ran 18 plays more than Concordia Wisconsin.
FOR THE FOES
- The Falcons totaled 308 yards of offense, 140 through the air and 168 on the ground.
- Bryan Gudka threw for 140 yards and a touchdown, completing 13 of 20 throws.
- Gudka also led the rushing attack, tallying 91 yards on the ground on 18 attempts.
- Tyler Perkins had 10 total tackles, seven solo, to pace the Falcons defense.
- The Warriors return to Raabe Stadium Saturday for Hall of Fame Day against defending NACC champion Lakeland (4-2, 2-0 NACC). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The Muskies celebrated their Homecoming Saturday with a 57-21 victory over Benedictine. Links to live stats and video will be available at WLCSports.com.