The Monmouth College football team pulled ahead with a big third quarter and then hung on for a 30-25 Midwest Conference victory over Lawrence University on Saturday in the Banta Bowl.
Monmouth (1-2, 1-1 MWC) scored 24 points in the third quarter but then had to stop Lawrence’s final drive to secure the victory.
Monmouth’s attack was led by running back Nick Law, who carried 24 times for 140 yards and a touchdown. Scots quarterback Brik Wedekind, filling in for injured All-American Alex Tanney, was 11 of 23 for 136 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Lawrence quarterback Tyler Mazur was 13 of 25 for 189 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw four interceptions. Mazur also ran seven times for 96 yards and a touchdown. Luke Barthelmess came on in relief of Mazur and was 8 of 14 for 74 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Lawrence (1-2, 1-1) got on the board first on Mazur’s spectacular 80-yard touchdown run with 8:46 left in the second quarter. Monmouth tied the score at 6-6 on when Wedekind connected with Mike Ridgway on a 3-yard scoring pass with 3:41 left in the first half.
The Vikings then scored twice in the final 2:28 of the first half. Sam Wagner, who caught six passes for 134 yards, grabbed a 50-yard touchdown pass from Mazur to put the Vikings up 13-6 with 2:28 left.
Wedekind was then intercepted by Jeff Nichols, who returned the ball to the Monmouth 48 with 1:50 left in the half. Mazur hit Wagner with a 32-yard pass on the next play, and then connected with Mason Garcia for 11 yards to the Monmouth 5.
Two plays later, Jeremiah Johnson made a nice catch, scooping the ball off the turf, for a 2-yard touchdown grab with eight seconds left to give Lawrence a 19-6 lead at the break.
Monmouth came out strong in the second half and took the kickoff 69 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. Law ran it in from 20 yards out to cut the lead to 19-13.
On the ensuring series, Mazur was intercepted by Adam Hoste, who ran it back 53 yards for a touchdown to give Monmouth a 20-19 lead. Just two plays later, Mazur was intercepted again by Hoste, who returned the ball 29 yards to the Lawrence 15.
The Lawrence defense stiffened, and the Scots had to settle for Matt Batton’s 27-yard field goal for a 23-19 lead. On the next play from scrimmage, Shane Reschke intercepted Mazur at the Monmouth 33-yard line.
The Scots moved 67 yards in eight plays, with Wedekind scoring from 12 yards out, to take a 30-19 lead with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
The Vikings sliced into that lead as Barthelmess led the scoring drive. The Vikings moved 58 yards in six plays for the score. Barthelmess hit Nick Thackston with a 19-yard scoring pass with 4:31 left that trimmed the lead to 30-25.
The Lawrence defense forced a Monmouth punt, but Lawrence was pinned at its own 10-yard line. Nathan VanMetre sacked Barthelmess on fourth down from the Lawrence 16 to stop the final drive. The Scots were then able to run out the clock.
Lawrence returns to action next Saturday when it travels to St. Norbert College.