APPLETON, Wis. — The Grinnell College football team made three goal-line stands and used that to secure a 24-21 Midwest Conference win over Lawrence University on Saturday at the Banta Bowl.
Grinnell (2-6, 2-5 MWC) won despite rushing for only 14 yards and having the ball for less than 22 minutes. Lawrence (0-8, 0-7) rolled up 25 first downs and 513 yards of offense, but the Vikings were stopped three times deep in Grinnell territory.
Grinnell quarterback Sam Poulos went 20-for-40 for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Jacob Meixler caught 10 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown and Emmi Sandoval caught seven passes for 93 yards.
Lawrence quarterback Luke Barthelmess ran 17 times for 131 yards, and he completed 32 of 50 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Sam Wagner caught six passes for 106 yards for the Vikings.
Lawrence grabbed a 7-0 lead when it drove 45 yards in six plays on its first possession of the game. Barthelmess hit Tyler Lueck with a 27-yard scoring pass. Grinnell tied it on the final play of the first quarter when Poulos found Meixler, who raced 75 yards for the score.
Grinnell made its first big stand on the ensuing possession. Facing a fourth-and-one at the Grinnell five-yard line, Isaac Barthelmess was stopped short and Lawrence turned the ball over on downs. Grinnell drove down the field and Graham Fisher kicked a 21-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead.
Lawrence immediately grabbed the lead back when it drove 65 yards in six plays for a touchdown. Luke Barthelmess found Dan Dubnicka with a 27-yard scoring pass, and Lawrence led 13-10 at the half.
The Vikings appeared poised to stretch the lead when they moved deep into Grinnell territory early in the third quarter. Luke Barthlemess ripped off a 42-yard run on the drive, and the Vikings later had first-and-goal at the Grinnell two. The Vikings ran it up the middle four times, but Grinnell held and took over at their one-yard line.
The Pioneers then took the lead late in the third quarter with a nine-play, 69-yard drive. Two key holding penalties on Lawrence kept the drive alive, and Jacob Bernholtz had a one-yard scoring run to give the Pioneers a 17-13 lead.
Lawrence took the ensuing possession and drove to the Grinnell five-yard line. Facing fourth-and-one at the Grinnell two, Luke Barthelmess was sacked, and the Pioneers got the ball back.
Grinnell tacked on its final score midway through the fourth quarter when Poulos hit Jake O’Polka with a 62-yard scoring pass for a 24-13 edge. Lawrence fumbled on its next possession, but the Vikings got the ball back and moved down the field. Luke Barthelmess hit Isaac Barthelmess with a 10-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 24-21 with 1:26 left.
Grinnell recovered the ensuing on-sides kick to seal the win.