FULTON, Mo. - The Martin Luther College football team finished its season with a 30-27 win at Westminster College Saturday afternoon in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference action.
The Knights started the game strong with a nine-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Luke Rothe to Micah Plocher on third and long to take a quick 6-0 lead.
The Blue Jays responded with a 74-yard touchdown pass on the next play, and then scored again to take a 14-6 lead early in the second quarter.
The MLC defense settled in from there, as Colin Paustian returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-12 as the first half came to a close.
The Knights once again struck quickly in the second half, as Luke Rothe scored from three yards out after Luke Morrell recovered a fumble inside the Blue Jay 10-yard line to give the offense a short field.
MLC added three on a Chester Reinemann field goal to close the third quarter, but the Blue Jays answered with a score to cut the lead to 23-20 early in the fourth.
The Knights scored a needed insurance touchdown with just over two minutes left, as Rothe found Plocher for a second time. Westminster scored quickly to make the score 30-27, and then recovered an onside kick to get a shot to win the game, but Rothe intercepted a pass to finish the Blue Jays' hopes of a comeback.
Defensively, the Knights gave up several big plays, but more than made up for it with big plays of their own. Ben Ewings was dominant up front, finishing with four sacks and five total tackles. His four sacks set a new single-game record for MLC, and also gave him 11.0 on the season to set a new single-season record.
The Knights had six sacks, with Morrell and Nick Kressin adding the other two, and also forced three Westminster turnovers.
Rothe finished the day 17-30 for 205 yards and two scores, and also ran 19 times for 58 yards and one score. Plocher was his top receiver, catching five passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns, while Booker Ruggs finished with 128 yards rushing on 24 carries, giving him his second 100-yard rushing day on the season.
The Knights closed the season with a record of 4-6 overall and 4-5 in the UMAC, while Westminster fell to 2-8 on the season and 2-7 in league play in defeat.