APPLETON, Wis. — Lawrence University quarterback Luke Barthelmess found Isaac Barthelmess on a 17-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play Saturday to lift the Vikings to a dramatic 23-20 Midwest Conference victory over Knox College in the Banta Bowl.
The touchdown pass capped a 69-yard drive in the final 49 seconds and was the 59th of Luke Barthelmess’ career, which ties him with All-American Jim Petran for the Lawrence record.
Lawrence (1-8, 1-7 MWC) was staring at a three-point deficit after Derek Mortensen finished an 11-play, 83-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run that gave Knox (1-8, 1-7) a 20-17 lead with just 57 seconds left.
The Vikings took over at their own 31-yard line with 49 seconds left, and Luke Barthelmess hit Sam Wagner with a 13-yard pass. The Lawrence quarterback then really took advantage of what the Knox defense was giving him.
With the Prairie Fire focusing on Wagner, Luke Barthelmess completed three consecutive passes to freshman Trevor Spina along the sideline and he stepped out of bounds to stop the clock each time. Spina caught a 16-yarder to the Knox 40, then caught a 13-yarder to the Knox 27 and grabbed a 10-yarder to the Knox 17 with just three seconds left.
After both teams used their final timeouts, Luke Barthelmess dropped back to pass and scrambled to his right. He threw to his brother Isaac, a freshman running back, near the corner of the end zone for the touchdown with no time on the clock.
Luke Barthelmess completed 30 of 47 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Luke Barthelmess also ran 12 times for 81 yard and a touchdown. Dan Dubnicka caught eight passes for 98 yards to lead the Vikings, and Spina and John Doran both had six catches for 68 and 58 yards, respectively.
Mortensen had a huge game for the Prairie Fire as he carried 42 times for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Knox quarterback Luke Osterbaan was 8 of 19 passing for 96 yards.
Knox grabbed the early lead when it converted after a Luke Barthelmess interception. Will Ruzicka intercepted at the Lawrence 36 and returned it to the 21-yard line. Mortensen ran it in from 14 yards out two plays later, and Knox led 7-0.
Lawrence came up with a turnover of its own when it stopped Mortensen on fourth-and-one at the Lawrence 36 on Knox’s next possession. Two plays later, Luke Barthelmess hit Dubnicka with a 41-yard pass to the Knox 15. He connected with Spina on the next play for the touchdown and the score was tied 7-7.
Zach Eichhorst then intercepted Oosterbaan on the next drive and returned it 13 yards to the Knox 12. The Vikings couldn’t punch it in, but freshman kicker Pat O’Mahoney converted a 30-yard field goal, the first of his career, and Lawrence led 10-7.
Lawrence stretched the lead to 17-7 in the third quarter. The Vikings marched 61 yards in nine plays for a touchdown. Luke Barthelmess finished the drive with an eight-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third.
Knox trimmed the lead to 17-14 with the help of another Ruzicka interception. Taking over at their own 43, the Prairie Fire got a 30-yard run from Mortensen, and he then scored two plays later on a 27-yard run.
Knox looked like it was going to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter when it drove all way to the Lawrence two-yard line. Facing fourth-and-goal from the two, Knox handed the ball to Mortensen, who was tackled for a loss by Wagner.
Wagner led the Lawrence defense with 13 tackles, including 10 solo and 2.0 tackles for loss. Brandon Taylor picked up 12 tackles, including nine solo, and Dan Taylor had nine stops for the Vikings.
Lawrence wraps up its season next Saturday when it travels to Ripon College for the renewal of the oldest college football rivalry in the state.