Sun, Oct. 23, 2011 - [Football]
Coe 28, Loras 21
What started as a perfect Saturday afternoon in the Rock Bowl for college football turned into a roller coaster ride between the white lines.
Coe College's 28-21 win over the host Duhawks included an interception returned for a touchdown to swing momentum, a backup quarterback reaching the end zone, multiple penalties, a blocked punt, circus catches, youth football players as guests in attendance on "Take a Kid to the Game" day, and a power outage inside the Rock Bowl.
When it was all said and done, the Kohawks had scored three touchdowns on fourth down and escaped with a 28-21 win over Loras.
The ball went up with the Duhawks receiving the opening kick and the first momentum shift of the game went straight to the visitors when Demetreus Johnson blocked Nick Nunley's first punt of the game to setup a short field. Four plays later (with two Coe penalties sandwiched in the middle of the drive), Coe quarterback Brad Boyle found Joe Langenberg for a 27-yard fourth down touchdown pass to open the scoring.
Loras' second possession didn't end much better than the first, with quarterback Vaughn Gesing throwing an interception to once again setup the Kohawks on a short field.
Coe managed one first down but the Duhawks defense would hold for a field goal attempt that would eventually be missed by Wes Anderson.
The teams would trade three minute drives that ended in punts over the remainder of the first quarter. Loras' final possession of the quarter started on a big punt return from Gavin Kaiser and ended after 11 plays where it started – in the hands of Kaiser. Gesing led Kaiser to the sideline where he brought in Loras' first touchdown.
After trading punts again, the Kohawks reclaimed the lead on an 89-yard drive. Three passes of 20+ yards helped Boyle and the offense into the red zone. Zach Myers stood up running back Brendan Leiran on the goal line on third down before Boyle pushed his way in from one yard following a Loras timeout on fourth, making it 14-7.
This time, the Duhawks answered quickly. Devin Kass ran for 15 yards to start the drive on the first two plays before Gesing again targeted Kaiser. Gesing's pass went about 20 yards in the air near midfield, where Kaiser brought it down and made a quick move, springing him for his second touchdown of the day, this time from 71 yards.
Coe took the ball back with under two minutes to go in the second quarter and earned three first downs and used three timeouts to move their way down the field. That march set up a Boyle touchdown pass on Jared Kuehner's only catch of the day from 18 yards out – this time on a 4th-and-3 play.
With just seconds to go in the second quarter, Loras took the ensuing kickoff and ran one play. That passing play sent Gesing scrambling back to the original line of scrimmage where he was tackled – and injured – to end the first half with the score 21-14 in favor of Coe.
Gesing wouldn't return in the second half and gave way to Sean Brennan for the final 30 minutes.
The first two possessions by Coe in the second half yielded only 42 yards, and two punts, and Loras' first trip with Brennan at wheel didn't provide much more. It was Loras' second possession of the second half that proved the biggest of the game.
A quick passing route was read by Demetreus Johnson who stepped in front of the Brennan pass and returned it 35 yards to make it 28-14 in favor of the Kohawks.
Six Ryan Baez runs allowed the Duhawks to gain two first downs, but the Duhawks' were again forced to punt.
The ensuing Kohawk drive was cut short by Dave Pirkle's team high third interception of the year. Pirkle returned the Boyle pass near the edge of the red zone where Brennan and the Duhawk offense took over. Three straight Devin Kass runs put the Duhawks at second and goal from the nine yard line. Loras called a pass play but Brennan took off from the left hash to the right pylon and after being taken down near the goal line, was eventually awarded Loras' third touchdown of the day.
The Kohawks gained just ten yards on their next possession and were flagged for a costly holding penalty that gave the ball back to the Duhawks with 12 minutes to go. In the middle of that Coe drive, the power in the Rock Bowl and the area immediately surrounding campus went out – shutting off the scoreboard and public address system over the final few possessions.
With everyone's attention focused on the task at hand on the field, a steady dose of Devin Kass helped the Duhawks into Coe territory with the game-tying touchdown in the crosshairs. Back-to-back holding calls on the Duhawks backed them up to the Coe 43-yard line. On 3rd-and-25 the backup QB from Lake Villa, Illinois tried to make a play down the right side line. Unfortunately for the Duhawks and Brennan, the intended receiver and defenders in the area came together and only Demetreus Johnson was able to make a play on the ball – and Johnson made it count with his second interception of the day.
The Coe offense went to the ground for three first downs to ice the clock and hold off the Duhawks, 28-21.
Individually, Gesing went 7-for-12 for 134 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Brennan went 1-for-4 with two interceptions. Kass rushed the ball 28 times for 143 yards. Baez produced his best day of 2011, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Kaiser caught six passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
Among the festivities at the Rock Bowl on Saturday was Loras' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) event, hosting the "Take a Kid to the Game" day with the Dubuque Independent Football League. The NCAA is in its 17thyear presenting the program, which encourages parents to bring their children out to take in an NCAA sporting event.
Loras welcomed members of the Dubuque Colts and Rams and introduced them to the fans at the Rock Bowl at halftime.
Next week, the Duhawks travel to Mount Vernon, Iowa to take on the Cornell College Rams.