A pair of trick plays and a failed two-point conversion lifted the Grinnell College football team to a 17-15 Midwest Conference victory over Lawrence University on Saturday in the homecoming game at the Banta Bowl.
Grinnell (5-2, 4-2 MWC) got a touchdown on a fake field goal and another on an option by a wide receiver for its two touchdowns. The Pioneers then stopped a two-point conversion attempt by Lawrence (1-6, 1-5) with 1:37 left to preserve the victory.
Neither team had a stellar day offensively as Grinnell’s two quarterbacks combined to complete 15 of 37 passes for 132 yards. The Pioneers managed only 192 total yards.
Lawrence struggled as well on a very windy day in the Banta Bowl. Quarterback Luke Barthelmess was 18 of 41 for 185 yards and a touchdown. Barthelmess also ran 20 times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Grinnell led 3-0 and took the opening possession of the third quarter to the Lawrence 12-yard line. Lawrence stopped the Pioneers right there and Grinnell lined up for a 29-yard field goal attempt. The Pioneers faked it and holder Kelsey Davis completed a pass to Robert Seer for a touchdown and a 10-0 Grinnell lead.
The Vikings sliced into the lead late in the third quarter. Lawrence took over at its 43 and moved into the red zone when Barthelmess found Tyler Mazur for a 21-yard completion to the Grinnell 18. Mazur finished with five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Barthelmess then ran 10 yards for another first down and scrambled for a five-yard touchdown run two plays later to cut the lead to 6-0. Dyllan Eichhorst, filling in for injured kicker Cody Robel, missed the extra point and Grinnell led 10-6.
Lawrence got a great scoring chance early in the fourth quarter when Andy Paider blocked the punt of Logan Granera and recovered the ball at the Grinnell 20. The Vikings couldn’t move the ball and Eichhorst connected on a 29-yard field goal, the first of his career, to cut the lead to 10-9.
The Grinnell defense then came up with a big play. With Lawrence facing third-and-1 at its own 46, the Pioneers stopped the Vikings twice and took over on downs at the Lawrence 40. The Pioneers moved to the Lawrence eight-yard line and then pulled out another trick play. Operating out of the wildcat formation, receiver Jason Peters took the snap and handed to receiver Trent Baker running right. Baker pulled near the sideline and tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Seer to give Grinnell a 17-9 lead with 1:57 left.
The Vikings came right back and scored two plays later when Barthelmess found Mazur streaking past the Grinnell secondary for a 58-yard touchdown. Trailing 17-15, the Vikings when for two, but Barthelmess was under heavy pressure and his pass attempt was intercepted.
Lawrence’s onsides kick attempt failed to go 10 yards and Grinnell took over and ran out the clock.
Lawrence returns to the Banta Bowl for its final home game next Saturday against Lake Forest College.