The Lawrence University Football team played lackluster football for three quarters on Saturday. They came alive in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Vikings fell to Beloit 27-14.The Vikings were victimized by Beloit running back Ed Williams, who scored all four Buc touchdowns in the game. Williams ran three in and took a 55- yard pass from Nate Skelton to the house in the first quarter. Williams finished the day rushing 11 times for 128 yards, and caught two passes for 97 yards.
Viking coach Dave Brown thought a change in quarterback might help his passing offense, but it was the same old story until the fourth quarter. Starting quarterback R.J. Rosenthal was benched for the game, and Brown started freshman Jake VanDerStad.
Early on the plan looked like it might work. VanDerStad completed six of his first seven passes. However, those would be the only ones he would complete in his three quarters. He finished six for 16 for 59 yards.
The Vikings got close, but could not score in the first half. Beloit scored on its first two drives. Williams got his receiving touchdown first, and on their second drive he ran it in from 25 yards out. The score remained 14-0 for most of the first half, but Williams struck again with 47 seconds remaining. He ran a touchdown in form 46 yards out, but Beloit missed the extra point. At the half the Bucs led 20-0.
The Vikings came out to start the second half hoping that VanDerStad would find the magic he had early on. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be. VanDerStad was picked off twice in three drives and was replaced by Rosenthal.
Williams scored on a 26 yard run on Beloit’s drive after the last VanDerStad interception and the Buccaneers led 27-0.
In the fourth quarter, the Vikings offense came alive, spurred by its defense. B.J. Berlowski recovered a fumble on the Beloit 29 yard line, and the Vikes’ offense took over. Rosenthal got the ball down deep in Buc territory and tried a few plays before finally finding his favorite target, Zach Michael, on fourth and goal. The Vikings were once again within 20.
On Beloit’s next drive, Sam Bucket was in the right place at the right time. He recovered a fumble, and the Viking offense went to work again. Rosenthal found Michael again streaking downfield for a 29-yard TD pass and the score was only 27-14.
The next drive, the Viking defense again stuffed the Bucs, stopping them on fourth and one, and the offense took over with a change to bring LU back within six points. Rosenthal led the offense back down the field, completing a key fourth down pass to Michael again. However it was not to be for Lawrence.
Rosenthal threw an interception on the goal line with a minute remaining in the game, and Beloit ran down the clock on another close Viking loss.
The Vikings will have a daunting task ahead of them this weekend as well. Lawrence will travel up Highway 41 for a game against St. Norbert. The Green Knights are ranked 12th in the latest poll, and defeated the Vikings 51-8 last season. The game will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in De Pere.