This past Saturday, the Lawrence University Football team was defeated by longtime rival Ripon College by a score of 53-7 — in front of an announced attendance of 6153 at Ingalls Field in Ripon, Wis., no less.Coming off a strong and emotional 27-14 win last week against Carroll College, the Vikings were looking to continue their winning ways and bring the Doehling-Heselton Memorial Trophy back to Lawrence for the first time since 1999.
The rivalry, which dates back to 1893, is one of the oldest in college football and is the only “trophy game” the Vikings play. Additionally, upon a Lawrence football victory over Ripon the bell in Main Hall is rung. (The bell is only rung three times annually; the other two times being Matriculation and Commencement.)
The Ripon Red Hawks scored on their first drive on a 25-yard run by Scott Perkins. During the drive, a strong hit by senior captain Jack Peters sent Ripon’s starting quarterback Tygh Walters to the bench for the rest of the game. Backup Matthew Miller replaced him at quarterback.
After Ripon had their second touchdown called back due to penalty, Lawrence’s defense provided a spark when Matt Frelich blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt. However, Lawrence’s momentum was short-lived.
Four plays into Lawrence’s ensuing drive, Ripon’s Joshua Kraemer intercepted Aspenson’s pass to McGilligan. Ripon’s offense took control and scored, and the game stood 13-0. Frelich showed up again to block the extra point.
The Red Hawks delivered two more touchdown scoring drives to make it a 27-0 game. The LU defense would prevent another score on Ripon’s final drive of the first half. Jack Peters sacked Matthew Miller to put the Red Hawks out of field goal range and send the teams to their respective locker rooms for halftime.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, the second half turned out to be not much different from the first half. Lawrence found themselves down by a score of 53-0 entering the final minutes of regulation.
Nick Maxam connected with Derek Micke for a 42-yard pass completion bringing Lawrence to Ripon’s four-yard line. Maxam rushed the ball on the consecutive two plays but couldn’t get into the end zone. The Vikings then called on senior Aaron Walker, who broke through the Ripon defense to score from one yard out and prevented LU from being shutout. Following the Walker touchdown score Lawrence’s defense stalled Ripon’s next drive and forced them to punt.
With 1:17 left on the clock, the Viking offense looked to senior wide receiver Greg Haas, but the pass to him was incomplete. With little time and little hope of a comeback, the Vikes punted the ball away. Following two more Ripon rushes, the score was made final.
It was a disappointing game, given how well Lawrence played last week against Carroll. The Viking defense struggled most of the afternoon and was worn down. The Viking offense didn’t offer much relief picking up only six first downs on the afternoon. Ripon had 28 first downs.
The Vikings record now sits at 4-5 on the season. Lawrence is now 46-54-7 all time in the Ripon rivalry, having lost the last eight meetings.
With the conference schedule now complete, the Vikings will travel to St. Paul, Minn. this weekend to finish the season with non-conference opponent, Macalester College. Macalester comes into this weekend with a 3-5 record.