By Jordan Atkins
Lawrence University’s football team lost last Saturday 35-7 while playing host to the Scots of Macalester College. The Scots’ ground game proved to be too much for the Vikings, as LU’s defense surrendered 416 rushing yards. Macalester’s strong defense forced 14 plays that went for no gain or a loss, and the Vikes could only convert on 1 of 13 third downs, while gaining just 160 yards on offense.
Freshman Ryan Butterfield once again took the majority of the snaps under center. He threw for 75 yards and completed a touchdown pass to junior Wes Hetcher. This was not only Hetcher’s first touchdown of the year, but also his first reception. “I got an opportunity and I tried to make the most of it. [Butterfield] threw a good ball,” Hetcher said.
Butterfield has had success so far adjusting to the college game. “It’s good to have a mentor like [Hetcher],” he said.
Sophomore Jacob Berman was Lawrence’s leading wideout for the third time this year, as he collected 44 yards on 5 catches in addition to the 25 yards he gained rushing. Berman leads Lawrence in all-purpose yards this season.
Terrence Simon led the rushing attack for the home team as he collected 29 yards on 5 carries. Simon’s day also included 3 receptions and a 44 yard punt return.
Despite giving up 5 rushing touchdowns, Lawrence was able to lock down the Scot’s passing game, holding them to just 30 yards on 15 attempts. Lawrence junior Tony Harth recorded 2 sacks, and sophomore Jake Gostisha added one as well. Sophomore Dan Rothbauer also intercepted his first pass of the season.
With the loss the Vikings are now 1-6 this year and 0-3 in the North division of the Midwest Conference. However, the Vikes can still finish as high as fourth in the division if they pull out some wins in the next few games of the season. Macalester improved to 4-3 and remains in the hunt for the conference title.
This Saturday, Oct. 31, the Vikings will face arguably their toughest test all year: a road matchup against undefeated St. Norbert College. St. Norbert leads the conference in turnover margin and allows an average of only 10.0 points per game.
The Vikes look to break a 17-game losing streak to the Green Knights. Although St. Norbert has proven to be the best team in the conference so far this season, LU believes they are up to the challenge. “We’re going to have to play hard. We’re going to have to believe that we can win,” said Hetcher. “They have every facet of the game figured out, but we have an offense that can contend with any team.”
“We’re going to go in there and show them that Lawrence University is at a caliber in which we can compete against them,” said junior lineman Jackson Straughan. In preparation, the team will continue to focus on fundamentals during practice. “We [are] really evaluating the little things,” Straughan added. “Once we perfect those little things, then we can start executing to the level that we as a team set goals to do.”
Straughan wasn’t alone in believing that the team is doing the right things in practice. “Our coaches know what they’re doing,” said Hetcher. “We’re going to have successes if we believe that we can be successful.”
With only three games left on the schedule, the team looks to make use of the remainder of its games and practices. “Going forward, having more and more experience, we’re just going to continue to improve,” said Straughan. “It’s going to be a lot of positives in the near future for Lawrence.”
Butterfield’s approach is simple. “I just want to put more points on the board than [the other team],” said Butterfield. “I don’t care how we get that done.”
The full roster will need to match Butterfield’s attitude in order to make a dent in the win column as the season comes to a close.