Vikings struggle offensively against Beloit Buccaneers

Jon Mays

Although the Lawrence University football team won the battle this past weekend against Beloit College, the Buccaneers won the war. Despite out-gaining the Buccaneers by nearly 100 total yards and having eight more first downs, the Vikings could not pick up their first win of the season.
The problems that have been haunting the Vikings the entire season came back to haunt them Saturday, including turnovers and converting inside the red zone. Lawrence turned the ball over four times and converted only once in four trips inside the Beloit 20-yard line. Two of those drives ended inside the 5-yard line.
Beloit (4-4, 3-4 MWC) struck first, scoring on the first play after blocking a Lawrence punt in the first quarter. Terence Steward scored on an 11-yard run, putting Beloit ahead 6-0. Steward scored all three touchdowns for the Buccaneers and rushed for 94 yards on 27 carries. His next score was a 4-yard run to push Beloit’s lead to 12-0. The touchdown capped an 11-play, 93-yard drive.
Lawrence (0-7, 0-7 MWC) converted on great field possession after junior Mike Gostisha recovered a fumble at the 38-yard line. A few plays later, junior Viking quarterback Nick Maxam found sophomore receiver Troy McGilligan across the middle of the field for a 10-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead in half. Beloit blocked the extra point to keep the score 12-6 in favor of the Buccaneers. Despite having several chances to put more points on the board, the Vikings were unable to do so.
Beloit came right back after the Lawrence touchdown with a nine-play, 53-yard drive ending in a 3-yard Steward touchdown run. The extra point failed again, and Beloit went into halftime with an 18-6 lead.
Despite only three points being scored in the second half, there was plenty of excitement and intensity from both sides.
The kicking game for both sides was poor until Beloit scored on a 45-yard field goal, making the score 21-6. Before that, Beloit’s kicker had missed both of his extra-point attempts.
The Vikings moved the ball well throughout the game, mostly on the back of a solid running attack supported by the star senior running back Craig Ebert.
Ebert rushed 18 times for 104 yards. This marks his third straight 100-yard performance, and moved him up in the Lawrence record books. Ebert passed Bruce Barkwill for fifth on the all-time Lawrence rushing list. Ebert now has 2,243 yards in his career. Barkwill was an All-American in his time as a Viking, so hopefully similar achievements are in the future for Ebert.
The Vikings failed to score on three possessions within the 10-yard line in the second half. Lawrence turned the ball over on downs twice and threw an interception once in the red zone. The final score was 21-6.
Lawrence plays at Carroll College Saturday, Nov. 1.