Despite the look of the final score in the Lawrence University – Monmouth College matchup last Saturday, Oct. 30 in Monmouth, Ill., there were a few glimmers of hope for the Vikings as they look forward to Saturday’s game against Grinnell at the Banta Bowl.
The final score ended up 31-7 in favor of Monmouth, but there were some highlights for the Vikings. The defense for the Vikings played well against a well-oiled Fighting Scots offensive force. Senior standout, Sam Wagner, collected a total of 14 tackles, including 10 solo tackles. This was the second straight 14-tackle game for the safety. He was also able to generate a key turnover with his interception in the fourth quarter, which he returned for 20 yards, setting up an eventual Viking touchdown.
The defense took a while to figure out the offense of the Fighting Scots, but by the second half, the Vikings were able to make several key stops. “We have struggled this season getting off to a good start when we are playing away from home, and that was again the situation this past weekend,” commented head coach Michael Barthelmess. “Despite giving up many yards on the ground, the defense fought hard, especially in the second half.”
The Vikings scored their only touchdown of the day on a Luke Barthelmess pass to senior Dan Dubnicka for 23 yards. Barthelmess, a senior, was able to capitalize for Lawrence on the Sam Wagner interception and a 15-yard pass interference penalty on Monmouth the play before. As has been the case for the Vikings recently, the quarterback was responsible for much of the offensive production, accounting for 200 of the team’s 222 total yards—106 through the air and 94 on the ground. Dubnicka led the team in receiving yards with seven catches for 58 yards.
Looking forward, the Vikings (0-7, 0-6 MWC) will be playing the Grinnell Pioneers (1-6) at home at the Banta Bowl this Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1:00 pm. Coach Barthelmess has a few things he’s watching for from his team to be competitive on Saturday: “To continue to improve in all aspects of the game,” comments Barthelmess. “[We need to] play aggressive defense, run the ball and possess it on offense and have our special teams make a positive impact on the outcome.”
Saturday’s competition will be the first of a two-game home stand against lower-ranked MWC teams.