NEW ULM - Everything that could go wrong for the Martin Luther College football team did go wrong in its 50-14 loss to Eureka College (Ill.) on Saturday.
The Knights (2-4, 2-3 UMAC) fumbled the ball on their first play from scrimmage and then fumbled on a kickoff on the next possession, unable to take their first offensive snap without turning the ball over until 2:41 in the first quarter.
"We've got to control the ball and do a better job at it," said MLC coach Doug Lange.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Martin Luther College fullback Matthew Olson (4) gets past Eureka defensive back Niko Rivera (7) on his way to the end zone during the third quarter of the Knights’ loss Saturday at MLC in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
The Red Devils (5-1, 4-1) started the game with a nine-play, 67-yard drive touchdown drive that concluded with a 9-yard score by Corey Dawson.
A 26-yard field goal by Tyler Winders gave Eureka a 10-0 lead, immediately followed by the Knights' fumble on the kickoff.
Eureka increased its lead to 17-0 after a 21-yard pass from Blake Robles to Nate Louis early in the second quarter. In that span, Eureka scored 10 points off MLC turnovers.
"Their o-line was really solid, I thought," said MLC defensive end Ben Ewings, who had 10 tackles in the game. "Apparently we were doing a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback, but their quarterback was good and their wide receivers were open a lot."
The Eureka defense held MLC to 21 total yards in the first half.
In the first half, the Red Devils dominated the time of possession with 18:27 to the Knights' 8:32 with the ball.
"It's such a mental game that it just snowballs," Ewings said. "It just keeps getting tougher and we're such a young team that we need to be able to respond and get in the mindset that we are going to stop them."
The Knights did not get going offensively until the second half, when running back Matthew Olson broke multiple tackles en route to scoring a 47-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the half.
"We just went to a little different formation, tried to run some of our more base things because you have to go back to what your basics are when things are tough," Lange said. "We got it going a little bit better in the second half. It wasn't great, but we need to be much better than that."
Quarterback Luke Rothe finished 4-for-12 for 64 yards passing with one touchdown, which was a 13-yard strike to Josh Rathje midway through the fourth quarter. At that point, the Red Devils had already put 50 points on the board.
"I told the guys that they obviously can play much better than this," Lange said. "We're going to try to fix this by next weekend and give it a much better effort both physically and mentally."
EC 10 27 7 7 - 50
MLC 0 0 7 7 - 14
E - Dawson 9-yard TD run (Winders PAT good), 10:09, E 7-0
E - Winders 26-yard FG good, 6:06, E 10-0
E - Robles to Louis 21-yard TD pass (Winders PAT good), 12:42, E 17-0
E - Baugh 1-yard TD run (Winders PAT good), 10:21, E 24-0
E - Robles to Bray 15-yard TD pass (2-pt. conv. no good), 1:33, E 30-0
E - Robles to Followell 11-yard TD pass (Winders PAT good), 0:10, E 37-0
M - Olson 47-yard TD run (Reinemann PAT good), 13:14, E 37-7
E - Robles to Duffy 8-yard TD pass (Winders PAT good), 5:37, E 44-7
E - Marquez 1-yard TD run (Winders PAT blocked), 13:35, E 50-7
M - Rothe to Rathje 13-yard TD pass (Reinemann PAT good), 7:39, E 50-14