In one of the wilder games in Lawrence University’s storied football rivalry with Ripon College, the Red Hawks pulled out a 56-55 Midwest Conference victory in the season finale in the Banta Bowl.
In the 112th meeting between the teams, Ripon (5-5, 5-4 MWC) scored a touchdown with 33 seconds left to rally from a 13-point deficit in the final 9:53.
Lawrence (2-8, 2-7) rolled up 583 yards of offense, and the Vikings were led by senior wide receiver Tyler Mazur and senior running back Ben Hartman. Mazur caught six passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, and Hartman ran 14 times for 125 yards for a hefty 8.9-yard average and two touchdowns.
Max Herrmann paced Ripon with 21 carries for 140 yards, and quarterback Tom Sawyer had 22 carries for 107 yards.
Lawrence grabbed a 55-42 lead when quarterback Luke Barthelmess connected with Mazur for a 64-yard touchdown pass with 9:53 remaining in the game. The Lawrence defense then forced a three-and-out, but Dominique Dirden muffed Marshall Zahn’s punt and Ripon recovered at the Lawrence 10-yard line.
The Red Hawks scored two plays later on Michael Crusan’s six-yard run to trim the lead to 55-49 with 8:17 left.
After a penalty forced Lawrence to start at its own three-yard line on the ensuing drive, the Vikings moved to their own 26. Barthelmess then ripped off a 41-yard run but the play was called back by a holding penalty. Lawrence was forced to punt, and Ripon took over at its own 43.
Ripon moved 57 yards in 10 plays with Hermann plunging in from a yard out. Jacob Gahart added the extra point to give Ripon the 56-55 lead.
Lawrence got the ball back at its own 32 after the kickoff, but Ripon forced a fourth-down interception to end the game.
The Vikings scored on three of their four possessions in the opening quarter. Lawrence got a 59-yard touchdown catch from Mazur, a 21-yard scoring run from Hartman and a 17-yard touchdown run from Scott Vandeloo and led 20-7.
The teams then traded touchdowns as Mazur caught a 28-yard scoring pass, and Vandeloo added a five-yard touchdown run. Lawrence, which missed two consecutive extra points, went for two after Vandeloo’s touchdown as Mazur ran it in for a 34-21 lead at the half.
After a missed Ripon field goal, Lawrence took its opening possession of the second half and scored on Hartman’s five-yard touchdown run. The key play in the drive was Mazur’s 35-yard catch to the Ripon nine-yard line.
The teams then traded touchdowns as Dirden caught a 46-yard scoring pass, and Lawrence led 48-35 after three quarters.
Junior defensive end Andy Paider made a career-high 16 tackles, including a sack, for Lawrence. He also forced and recovered a fumble. Freshman defensive back Alex Opgenorth added 13 tackles and an interception for the Vikings.
The 111 combined points is the most in a game in Lawrence football history. The previous high was 105, which was done last week at Knox College.