Lawrence University football kicked off their Midwest Conference play Sept. 10 in Galesburg, Ill. with a force that will hopefully continue. The team set numerous records and received multiple awards, defeating Knox College 62 to 42.
The game got off to a slow start, but an interception by Robbie Ulloa jump-started the Lawrence Vikings at the end of the first quarter. On the Vikings’ ensuing drive, Tyler Mazur caught a pass from Luke Barthelmess for a 92-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 20-14 just 19 seconds into the second quarter. Tay Mandich kept the Vikings’ momentum going with a catch of 12 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, followed by Jon Bruehl with a catch of 30 yards for a touchdown.
As the Vikings entered the second half of the game, they held a lead of 34 to 21 above Knox. Mazur strengthened the Viking lead with three more touchdowns, two passing and one rushing, including a 72-yard reception. Barthelmess ran the ball for 20 yards for the final touchdown, bringing the score to 62 to 42.
“It was a great group effort,” said Mandich about the game. “It starts up front with the offensive line doing a great job blocking, allowing receivers to get open so the quarterback can throw us the ball.”
The Vikings showed what they were capable of in their game against Knox, through records, achievements and, above all, a win. Kicker Cody Robel did not miss any of his attempted kicks, tying the record set in 1981 by Kraig Krueger at eight PATs.
Barthelmess was 28 of 39 for 549 yards, breaking both the MWC single-game passing record of 532 yards and the Lawrence record of 466. His six touchdown passes broke the previous Lawrence record of five.
Mazur caught eight passes for 220 yards (fourth-highest in a game in school history), had four receiving touchdowns, tying the Lawrence record by Zach Michael set in 2003, and had a rushing touchdown, bringing his total to five touchdowns, a Lawrence record. His 92-yard touchdown was the fourth-longest pass play in Lawrence history, Bruehl being third with his 94-yard touchdown against St. Scholastica. Bruehl had four catches for 109 yards, Mandich had seven catches for 92 yards and Sam Wagner had four catches for 43 yards.
The Vikings racked up 656 yards of offense against Knox. Nick Randall lead the team’s defense for tackles with nine, followed by Nick Kerkman at eight and Alex Brewer with seven. Mats Jonsson, Shawn Martin and Ulloa all had interceptions. Alex Schmitt and Brandon Taylor each had a sack.
Following the game, Robel and Barthelmess received Player of the Week awards, Mazur and Barthelmess were named to BSN Team of the Week and Mazur was named to the D3 Football Team of the Week.
After the game, the Vikings head coach Chris Howard said, “The execution we showed in the Knox game gives us good reason to have high expectations for the rest of the season.”
The Vikings played again Saturday, Sept. 17 in Monmouth, Ill. Monmouth defeated Lawrence 56-0.
The offense was held at 190 yards total, 166 yards of that being passing. Mazur had seven catches for 39 yards, Wagner had six catches for 50 yards, and Dominique Dirden had five catches for 57 yards. Defense’s Darvis PridGeon lead the team in tackles at nine, followed by Ulloa, Jonsson and Sam Ausloos with eight.
“I think our victory over Knox is putting us in the right direction,” said Jake Zdrojewski, “but we need to bounce back from Monmouth, eliminate the little mistakes and play well the rest of the season.”
The Vikings will be hosting St. Norbert College at the Banta Bowl Saturday, Sept. 24.