A key defensive stand at the end of the first half allowed the Carroll University football team to head to the locker room with the lead on Saturday at the Banta Bowl, and the Pioneers made that lead stand up for a 21-14 Midwest Conference win over Lawrence University.
Drew Volkmann paced Carroll with 16 carries for 94 yards, and quarterback Chris Casper completed 18 of 30 passes for 223 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Luke Barthelmess was 19 of 41 passing for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
Lawrence (1-5, 1-4 MWC) had a touchdown taken off the board by an offensive pass interference penalty with 15 seconds left in the first half. Three plays later, on a fourth-and-goal play with seconds left in the first half, it looked as though Tyler Mazur was interfered with in the end zone, but no flag was thrown, and Carroll took over.
Carroll (5-1, 4-1) got deep into Lawrence territory only once in the second half, but the Pioneers missed a 37-yard field goal.
The first half was filled with scoring and Carroll took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. The Pioneers moved 73 yards in 10 plays, with Joe Beckstrand scoring on a 3-yard run.
Lawrence tied the game early in the second quarter. Barthelmess hit Jon Bruehl with a 13-yard pass and then connected with Jeremiah Johnson for 39 yards to the Carroll 16-yard line. Barthelmess then found Mazur in the end zone on the next play to tie the game at 7-7. Mazur caught five passes for 78 yards for the Vikings.
Volkmann did nearly all the damage for Carroll on its next possession to set up a touchdown. He ran four times for 29 yards and Casper then hit Beau LeFevre on a 28-yard scoring pass for a 14-7 Carroll lead.
Lawrence countered on its next drive to tie the game again. Bruehl caught a long pass from Barthelmess, dodged a Carroll defender and scored from 47 yards out to tie the game at 14-14. Bruehl finished the game with four catches for 77 yards.
Carroll also scored its next possession to take the lead for good. The Pioneers moved 60 yards in nine plays, with Beckstrand scoring from five yards out with 2:01 left in the first half.
After Carroll missed the field goal late in the fourth quarter, Lawrence couldn’t move the ball and was forced to punt. The Vikings forced a three-and-out, but Barthlemess was sacked on the first play of the final drive and Mike Dziewit recovered to seal the win for Carroll.
The Lawrence defense was paced by Sam Wagner, who recorded a game-high 13 tackles, and Jeff Nichols, who had 10 stops.
Lawrence returns to action next Saturday when it travels to Grinnell College.