College Football: Wisconsin Lutheran downs Aurora
By Bill Kindt For Sun-Times Media October 13, 2012 5:38PM
Updated: October 14, 2012 10:09PM
Wisconsin Lutheran proved to be a rude guest Saturday afternoon at Aurora University’s Vago Field.
The Warriors refused to let the Spartans have the football and went on to a misleading 28-14 victory.
“To be honest, it felt worse than 28-14,” AU coach Mark Walsh said. “I didn’t feel that we were better than them in any phase.”
It would be impossible to disagree, particularly in the first half when the Warriors (4-2 overall, 2-1 in the Northern Athletics Conference), totally dominated.
In that opening half, Wisconsin Lutheran outgained AU 272-63, had 15 first downs to just two for the Spartans and controlled the football for 20 of the 30 minutes.
Oh yes, the Warriors sprinted to halftime holding a 21-0 lead and left the Spartans with questions begging for answers.
“They were more physical than us (and) more skilled than us today,” Walsh said with an emphasis on today. “They were better defensively than us and better offensively than us.”
Wisconsin Lutheran tailback Mike Reeves pounded through cavernous holes in AU’s defensive line to finish with 157 yards rushing on 34 attempts and quarterback Zach Shaw had time to write a thesis as he completed 11 of 15 for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Strangely, the game started with the Spartans (3-3, 2-1) getting a huge break when they recovered a Wisconsin Lutheran fumble at the Warrior 36. It turned out to be fool’s gold with quarterback Jimmy Bevell (15 of 34 for 120 yards) throwing the first of four interceptions.
“Offensively, obviously, we weren’t very good today,” Walsh said. “We are better than that, I’ll tell you that.”
The Warriors took advantage of Bevell’s interception, moving 66 yards in 12 plays to score on a 15 yard run by Taylor Pelot and the Spartans were left playing a game of catch-up.
If there was a bright spot, and it is dim at best, it was that AU played better in the second half, scoring twice to once for the Warriors.
Bevell teamed with tight end Ryan Mizgate on a 15-yard TD pass in the third quarter and back-up quarterback Jace Koerner connected with Matt Snyder on a 5-yard scoring pass with 2:07 remaining.
Really, the outcome of the game was decided in the first 30 minutes.
“I don’t think we broke a sweat on offense (in the first half) because we didn’t have the ball,” Walsh said. “Some of it was our fault because we kept turning it over. They controlled the line of scrimmage and, every time I thought we had something going, we shot ourselves in the foot.”
That was also bitterly true.
A case in point came on the last play of the first quarter when AU’s Darren Harms intercepted Shaw’s pass near the AU goal line and returned to the Wisconsin Lutheran 34.
That drive stalled and Fernando Alberan’s attempt at a 37 yard field goal was blocked.
The Warriors simply owned all the answers.