Vikings struggle against Blueboys

Jon Mays

The Lawrence University football team was unable to put an entire game of quality football together this past Saturday as the Vikings lost 28-16 to the Illinois College Blueboys. The Vikings hung tough in the first half, as they have for each of the past three games, but were unable to continue the fine play after the halftime break.
With Lawrence (0-4, 0-4 MWC) trailing 12-3, Viking junior quarterback Nick Maxam found sophomore receiver Jeremiah Johnson for a 49-yard touchdown pass, cutting the deficit to 12-10. The score would remain 12-10 until the third quarter, when Illinois College (2-3, 2-2) would go on a 16-0 run to put the game out of reach for the Vikings.
The Blueboys opened the second half with a 54-yard, five play drive that ended in a 14-yard touchdown run by Matt Williamson. Illinois College could not convert on the two-point conversion, keeping it a one-possession game with the score 18-10. The Blueboys, however, would build on the lead late in the third quarter when kicker Mitch Brasher connected on a 31-yard field goal. The field goal capped a 66-yard drive and made the score 21-10 in favor of Illinois College.
The Blueboys increased their lead on their next possession when quarterback Mitch Niekamp connected with receiver Michael Jennings for a 61-yard touchdown catch. With the following extra point, the Blueboys led 28-10 and chances of a comeback looked bleak for the Vikings.
However, Lawrence had a chance to cut into the lead and get right back into the game on their next possession. The Vikings put together a nice drive offensively and got to the Blueboys’ three-yard line. Illinois College’s defense forced the Vikings into a fourth down at the goal line. Facing a large deficit, the Vikings were forced to go for the touchdown instead of kicking a short field goal. Maxam’s pass to the end zone unfortunately fell incomplete on the fourth down try, and the ball was turned over on downs to the Blueboys.
The Vikings got the ball back after the defense held the Blueboys on their next possession, and backup quarterback freshman Eric Bohling completed a 23-yard pass to Johnson to bring Lawrence to the three-yard line. From there, freshman Kadeem Holmon ran it in for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 28-16, but it was too little, too late for Lawrence.
The game ended with the score 28-16, which marked another disappointing loss for the Vikings. In each of the past three games for Lawrence, the game has been within a touchdown at halftime, but the Vikings have struggled in the second half, losing the games by an average of 18 points.
The Vikings look to put a complete game together when they play host to Lake Forest College this Saturday at the Banta Bowl.