MEQUON, Wis. – Big hits thrilled the crowd on Saturday afternoon and the Luther Cup slipped away from Concordia University Wisconsin, as Wisconsin Lutheran College earned a hard-fought 23-20 double overtime victory to close the season. The Falcons had a chance to win the game in the first overtime and failed to tie the game in the second overtime with a missed field goal.
Final Score: Wisconsin Lutheran 23, Concordia Wisconsin 20 (2OT)
Location: Tomasini Stadium (Mequon, Wis.)
Records: Wisconsin Lutheran 5-5 (4-2 NACC), Concordia Wisconsin 3-7 (3-3 NACC)
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Falcons nearly scored a touchdown in the first overtime to put pressure on the Warriors, but the ball slipped through a receivers hands on fourth down with the ball at the five yard line. Wisconsin Lutheran missed what was a game-winning 41-yard field goal that sent the game into a second overtime.
- WLC moved the ball 20 yards before Matt Grams kicked a 23-yard field goal to give the visitors a 23-20 lead. CUW couldn't get much offense on its possession and settled for a 38-yard field goal attempt that was missed wide left to end the season.
- Defense was the story of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference matchup between the rivals. Each team was held below their season scoring average and a combined seven turnovers were committed, with four interceptions thrown.
- The Warriors struck first with an Anthony Rodriguez 1-yard touchdown run one minute and 30 seconds into the game, which was followed by a Mitch Skarban 17-yard touchdown grab from Anthony Rodriguez on their next possession to go ahead 14-0.
- CUW answered less than two minutes later when junior Derrick Estfan (Phoenix, Ariz.) hauled in a 2-yard pass from sophomore Aaron Nixon (North Prairie, Wis.) to cut the deficit in half. The Warriors ended the first quarter with a 23-yard field goal by Grams to own a 17-6 advantage.
- Estfan hauled in another touchdown pass, this time from three yards out from Nixon for the only scoring play of the second quarter.
- Senior Andrew Gatz (Adell, Wis.) continued an impressive three-week stretch of running with a 5-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter. At the time it gave the Falcons a 20-17 lead, their first of the game.
- Anthony Rodriguez led a six-play, 44-yard drive that put Grams in position for a 35-yard field goal that he kicked down the middle of the uprights, and the scoreboard was knotted at 20-20 with four minutes to play.
- The Falcons twice had possessions after the score was tied and failed to capitalize. If you count the two possessions in overtime they end the season by moving the ball 62 yards in 18 plays with the result of zero points.
- Statistics were even across the box score, with the one difference being WLC's 3-of-4 on field goals compared to CUW's 0-of-2.
- Nixon finished 23-of-41 for 314 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked four times.
- Gatz had his third-consecutive 100-yard rushing game after amassing 136 yards on 16 carries (8.5 average). He didn't have a negative running play all game.
- Estfan was again the go-to target, as he finished with seven receptions for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore Kevin Folker (Milwaukee, Wis.) caught six passes for 58 yards and freshman Jameson Radke (Racine, Wis.) had five catches for 46 yards.
- Defensively, junior Bryan Thomas (Lowell, Ind.) and junior Michael Ledesma (Glendale, Ariz.) each had 11 total tackles. Junior Kevin Kern (Arlington Heights, Ill.) added 10 total tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss. Senior Austin Kaatz (Pewaukee, Wis.) ended his career with nine total tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Nixon set the program's single season record for completions with 260. He ended the season 260-for-414 for 2,760 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was also one touchdown shy of tying the program's single season record.
- Punter Jacob Mason (Hartford, Wis.) set the program's single season record for average at 38.8 yards. He punted 49 times for 1,903 yards and boomed eight over 50 yards while pinning the opposition inside the 20-yard line six times.
- Gatz's 136 rushing yards were not only a career high, but also tied for the sixth most during head coach Greg Etter's tenure. It was also the most rushing yards by a Falcon this season. Gatz averaged 8.99 yards per rush this season (73 attempts for 656 yards).
- Ledesma's 3.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss were both career highs and the best performance statistically in those categories by a defensive Falcon this season.
- The Warriors were perfect in the red zone (5-of-5), while the Falcons ended the game 3-for-6 inside the 20-yard line.
- CUW had 10 possessions during regulation that last four plays or fewer.
- Anthony Rodriguez completed 25-of-43 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown. He threw two interceptions and was sacked three times.
- Jared Bruemmer ran for 79 yards, while Rodriguez had 73 rushing yards and a touchdown.
- Mitch Skarban hauled in eight passes for a game-high 132 yards and a score. Chris Norvilus caught seven passes for 72 yards.
- Tanner Behnke and Jake Engels were the leading tacklers for the Warriors with nine total, respectively. Behnke and Trevor Seewald each picked off a pass and, in all, WLC had seven passes defended.