The Wartburg Knights survived a big second-half comeback by Loras and held on for a 38-30 victory over the Duhawks at Walston-Hoover Stadium in Waverly on Saturday (Oct. 8, 2016).

A crucial red zone defensive stop in the closing minutes allowed the Knights (3-2 overall, 2-1 IIAC) to escape with the win. The stop came after a Wartburg fumble on the Loras 28-yard line provided the Duhawks with the means to complete the comeback.

Loras (0-6, 0-4) converted a pair of fourth downs on its final drive and was facing a fourth-and-11 at the Wartburg 19 with 1:41 left when they chose to go for it again. The Duhawks were unsuccessful on their third try. Wartburg senior Ben Beckman got through the line, rushed the pocket and sacked Loras quarterback Nolan Baumhover to seal the win.

Wartburg owned a 38-14 advantage when Baumhover triggered the rally late in the third quarter. He hooked up with Jon Powers for the second time of the day on a 55-yard pass and the two-point conversion the Knights' lead to 16 points entering the final stanza.

Loras cut the Knights' edge in half with one big play early in the fourth quarter. With 9:28 remaining in the game, running back Zach Minch broke free on an 80-yard sprint to the endzone, then Baumhover hooked up with Brad Boelkow on the two-point conversion to make the score 38-30.

After Wartburg fumbled on the ensuing possession, the Duhawks marched on a 15-play drive to get into position to tie the game. Beckman's defensive play, however, ended Loras' threat.

Baumhover ended the day with 22-33-1 for 227 yards and two touchdowns, while Minch led the Duhawks' rushing attack with 19 carries for 167 yards and two scores.

The victory was the 15th-straight at home for Wartburg, dating to the 2013 season.

The first quarter was a shootout that featured a number of big plays and ended with the Knights' ahead 21-14. Quarterback Matt Sacia hooked up with Griffin Brennecke on a 20-yard scoring pass after Wartburg following a Loras fumble on the opening drive of the game.

Loras responded with a quick two-play drive the consumed 39 seconds. Minch ran to the endzone on a 69-yard rush to tie the score at 7-7.

Wartburg answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped with Riley Brockway's one-yard touchdown run. The Duhawks responded with a two-play that featured a 24-yard scoring pass from Baumhover to Powers.

The Knights took control of the game by rattling off 24 unanswered points. They built a 35-14 lead and halftime and increased their lead to 38-14 on a 29-yard Brayton Brandt field goal with 4:32 left in the third quarter.

Sacia finished the day 18-31-0 for 257 yards and three TDs. Freshman Dylan Binion recorded the second 100-yard game of his career as he led the Knights' ground attack with 100 yards and one score. He also caught three passes for 93 yards and another TD.

Sophomore Payton Imhoff and junior Tony Anstoetter led Wartburg's defense with 11 total tackles each.

UP NEXT: The Knights return to the gridiron next Saturday (Oct. 15) when they host Simpson in their annual Homecoming game. Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m. on Zimmerman Field at Walston-Hoover Stadium.


Courtesy: Wartburg Knights via YouTube