Football Falls Short in Shootout
NEW ULM, Minn. - The MLC football team put on an offensive display in front of its Homecoming crowd, but was unable to slow down Greenville's high-powered offensive attack in a 46-39 loss Saturday.
The Knights started strong defensively, shutting the Panthers out in the first quarter, but Greenville's no huddle attack put pressure on the MLC defense all day. The Panthers ran 101 offensive plays in the game, and showcased why they were the nation's second leading rushing attack as they ran for 323 yards on 68 carries.
MLC had a number of strong performances from defensive players, as five players finished with at least 15 tackles. Benjamin Olson finished with 25 tackles, the second highest single-game total in program history, while Galen Holzhueter (19), Conrad Dewey (17), Paul Spaude (16) and Derek Loewen (15) each had at least 15 tackles.
The MLC offense was the story early on, as Luke Rothe put the Knights on the board with a nine-yard scoring strike to Micah Plocher to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
After a field goal by the Panthers, Rothe again went to the air and connected with Scott Henrich for a six-yard touchdown pass to give the Knights a 13-3 lead early in the second quarter. Henrich had a big day as a receiver, finishing with nine grabs for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
Greenville closed the quarter well, scoring 16 unanswered points as the MLC defense started to show signs of wear from the 51 Panther offensive plays in the half and taking a 19-13 lead heading into the half.
The second half turned into a shootout. Greenville scored twice more in the third quarter, with an MLC touchdown pass from Rothe to Luke Morrell sandwiched between them as Greenville held a 33-19 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
After a Panther field goal pushed the lead to 36-19, the Knights faced a three-score deficit. They would score three touchdowns in the final quarter (Rothe ran for one score, threw another to Henrich, and then Matt Olson ran one in from 15 yards out), but the Greenville offense proved too strong on this day as it answered with several extended scoring drives to hold off MLC down the stretch.
Rothe finished the game 13-25 passing for 223 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran 13 times for 78 yards and a score, and returned five kicks for an average of 28.6 yards per return.
Other MLC offensive leaders on the day were Matt Olson, who ran nine times for 49 yards and a score, and Plocher, who caught three passes for 60 yards and a score.
MLC dropped to 2-5 on the season and 0-5 in the UMAC with the loss, while Greenville improved to 4-2 overall and 4-1 in league play with the win.
MLC will return to action on Saturday, October 20, when they travel to Northwestern for a 1 p.m. game.