MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin – In a tale of two halves, Lawrence Technological University football rallied from a 22-3 deficit to remain unbeaten in the modern era, knocking off Wisconsin Lutheran, 30-22, at Raabe Stadium on Saturday, September 8. The defense held the Warriors to under 70 yards rushing, causing four turnovers on downs, while the offense scored 27 unanswered, second-half points.
"There were some times in the first half that we weren't clicking," said head coach Jeff Duvendeck. "In the second half we woke up and refocused. The coaches made great adjustments and players did a great job going out and executing in the second half."
Lawrence Tech (2-0) outgained WLC (0-2) 368 yards to 292, highlighted by a 156 to 69-yard advantage on the ground. The defense combined for seven pass breakups, 11 tackles for loss and four sacks. The Blue Devils struggled with penalties, though, committing 18 infractions for 138 yards. Twice LTU converted on fourth down and found the endzone.
Quarterback Tyler Kulka (FR/Clinton Township, MI) finished the day 18-of-38 for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Kulka is up to seven passing touchdowns in just two outings. Kulka scampered for his second rushing touchdown of the season, scrambling from 12-yards out in the fourth quarter.
Running back Tanner Foley (FR/Sebawing, MI) had a game-high 148 yards on the ground. Foley averaged 5.9 yards per carry with a long of 21.
The Blue Devils' Flight Club, also known as the receiving corps, was paced by Nick Spohn(FR/Phoenix, AZ)'s 73 yards and two touchdowns. Spohn hauled in LTU's first score of the day in the third quarter, connecting with Kulka from 26 yards out. Kendyl Williams(FR/Lantana, FL) was on the other end of Kulka's second touchdown pass of the day. Cam Jamison (FR/Burbank, WA) finished with 51 yards and a game-high five catches.
Linebacker Tommy Lappin (FR/Howell, MI) led Lawrence Tech in tackles for the second-straight week, recording eight stops. Lappin and linebacker Robbie Best (FR/Struthers, OH) led the game with three tackles for loss. Best had a game-high two sacks. Linebacker Danny Macks had a forced fumble that was pounced on by defensive back Michael Woolridge (FR/White Lake, MI). Macks ended the day with four tackles. Defensive back Andrew Campbell (FR/Traverse City, MI) had a game-best two pass breakups.
For Wisconsin Lutheran, Pat Mathieson threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing 11 times for 69 yards. Chrystyan Woyak caught two of Mathieson's three scoring throws. Javion Morgan led the Warriors with four catches for 62 yards. Isaac Zatezalo had a team-high seven tackles, one for loss.
The "big mo" flipped in the third quarter when Kulka found Spohn down the visitor sideline on fourth and four for a 26-yard score, cutting the deficit to 22-10.
On the ensuing possession, Foley took a screen pass 16 yards deep into Warrior territory, then added 12 more yards on the ground. The drive was completed with a 13-yard quick pass to Williams, who beat his defender to the inside and scampered across the goal line.
Looking to punch it in for a third-straight possession, LTU drove 71 yards in 12 plays before Kulka was hit in the backfield and fumbled, recovered by WLC. Foley rushed for 20 yards on the series.
The defense stood its ground, forcing a punt on fourth and 13 from the Warriors' five yard line. It was a short punt to the WLC 36-yard line that Kavon Higdon (FR/Shelby Twp., MI) ran back 11 yards to give the Blue Devils strong field position. Higdon took a broken play on second down and made something positive with a rush of eight. With the ball inside the 25-yard line, Lawrence Tech gambled on fourth and nine. The offensive line held long enough on the blitz for Kulka to float one to Spohn behind the secondary for his second score of the game, giving LTU its first lead of the afternoon, 23-22, with 9:10 to play.
Foley took over on the next drive, taking the first three carries for 29 yards down inside the 10-yard line. Kulka put the exclamation point on the drive with a 12-yard scramble to the far pylon. It was Kulka's second rushing touchdown of the season, putting Lawrence Tech up 30-22 with 4:29 remaining.
On fourth and long on the following possession, LTU's defense that stepped up in the second half sealed it with a pair of sacks by defensive end Wallace Tagata (FR/Oxnard, CA) and Best.
The scoring opened on Wisconsin Lutheran's initial possession in the first quarter. A pair of Todd Lehman rushes marched the ball into Blue Devil territory before Mathieson took over. He found Morgan on the sideline and scrambled for eight yards down to the LTU 24-yard line. Facing third and eight, the Blue Devils were flagged for roughing the passes to keep the drive alive, setting up a 14-yard touchdown to Nick Charles-Crowl. Wisconsin Lutheran went for two and converted to jump out 8-0.
Taking over on downs, Kulka found Jamison into Warriors' territory. Foley wheeled off a 21-yard rush that was capped off by a dead ball, unsportsmanlike penalty against WLC to setup up first and 10 on the WLC's 13-yard line. The drive was kept alive on a pass interference call to give the Blue Devils a fresh set of downs inside the 10-yard line. After a pair of Foley and Ahmad Sabbagh(FR/Dearborn Heights, MI) runs, Kulka was unable to find Williams. Conner Grobbel (FR/Berkley, MI) finished the drive off with a 24-yard field goal from the right hash to cut into the deficit, 8-3.
At the close of the half, WLC converted a pair of third-down screen plays to march inside the LTU 40-yard line. Mathieson found Charles-Crowl behind the Blue Devil defense at the 20-yard line. The Warriors' play caller then kept it on a quarterback draw for 19 more yards down to the one. He then found Woyak for the one-yard strike, putting the Blue Devils down 14-7 with :33 left in the half.
Wisconsin Lutheran moved the ball down field at the start of the third quarter with a deep ball from Mathieson to Morgan for a pickup of 36 yards. On the ensuing play, Mathieson found Woyak for his third touchdown pass of the day. The two-point conversion was good, making LTU's deficit 22-3.
Lawrence Tech returns to action on Saturday, September 15, against the University of Pittsburgh's club team. Kickoff is slated for noon from the LTU Athletic Stadium in Southfield. It will be Pitt's opening game of the season.