MARION, Indiana – The Lawrence Technological University football program concluded its reboot season with a 51-19 loss at Indiana Wesleyan in Marion, Indiana, on Saturday, November 17. The Blue Devils outgained the Wildcats, 441-404, in the effort led by Tyler Kulka (FR/Clinton Township, MI)'s career-high 351 yards through the air.
Kulka finished the outing 22-of-40 with two touchdowns. Kendyl Williams (FR/Lantana, FL) paced the flight crew with 116 yards receiving and a score. Terrel Cunningham(FR/Northsville, MI) hauled in seven passes for 94 yards. Tanner Foley (FR/Sebawing, MI) led the ground attack with 13 touches for 63 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Andrew Campbell (FR/Traverse City, MI) led the way with 10 tackles.
Indiana Wesleyan's run game was in full force, as a trio of ball carriers combined for 250 yards. Devodney Alford was a work horse, taking 26 carries for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Joshua McKenzie finished the day with 61 yards and a score. Under center, Zack Blair was 11-of-25 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Both sides struggled with penalties, combining for 26. Lawrence Tech surrendered 144 yards on 15 flags. Once in the rezone, both the Blue Devils and Wildcats were flawless, converting on 2-of-2 and 6-of-6, respectively.
The first half was a tale of two quarters. After giving up 17 straight in the first frame, LTU roared back with a pair of scores in the second quarter. A 20-point third quarter for IWU, though, would be too much for the Blue Devils to rebound from.
Momentum seemed to be taking a shift toward the Lawrence Tech sideline just as the opening half was coming to a close. Kulka and Cunningham hooked up to move the chains, setting up a long run by Foley to midfield. Following an incompletion intended for Nick Spohn (FR/Phoenix, AZ), Kulka rolled out to the far side of the field and went deep to Jamison down to the two-yard line. Kulka kept the ball on the keeper to bring the contest to 17-13.
Indiana Wesleyan started the second half with the ball near midfield after a long run back by McKenzie. Alford ate up some more field with a 14-yard gain to put the Wildcats in LTU territory. The Blue Devils defense would bend but not break, forcing a 45-yard field goal.
Next possession for IWU, Blair found Smith for just the second time in the effort all the way down inside the five yard line. Blair kept it for Indiana Wesleyan's first rushing touchdown of the game, going up 27-13.
Jamsion took the ensuing kickoff out to the 20-yard line but fumbled, giving IWU great field possession once again. Alford took the handoff 18 yards, giving the Wildcats scores on back-to-back plays from scrimmage.
Alford, who went for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the teams' first meeting on October 13, but took over in the third quarter with a set of long runs to put IWU back on LTU's side of the field up 34-13. An inside give, highlighted by a leap over a would-be tackler, put the Wildcats inside the Blue Devils' five-yard line. VonGunten, already 2 of 2 on the day, came out to knock through a 32-yard field goal.
Looking for some kind of response, Kulka and Cunningham connected for a first down pick up early in the fourth quarter. The big play of the drive came in the form of a 20-yard catch and run by CJ Thompson (FR/Alma, MI). On first down, Jamison would spiral his way inside the five down to the three-yard line. The drive was finished with a play-action pass to the swoll back Wyatt Hillard(FR/Franklin, OH). It was Hillard's first score of the year, second catch of the season.
Lawrence Tech opened the afternoon with possession. After a pair of Higdon rushes, Kulka rolled out to his right and tucked the ball for a pickup of six to move the chains. Kulka spotted Williams on the short route that after a would-be tackler bounced off the spin move, Foley moved the chains once again before the drive stalled.
Starting on their own 36 yard line, the Wildcats handed the ball to Alford who broke one across midfield. Blair then found Dontea Henderson inside the LTU 35. Facing a third and short, Blair connected with his top target, Brayden Smith for IWU's first redzone possession. Out of the shotgun, Blair zipped a ball just over the outstretched arms of the linebacker in coverage and found Henderson in the endzone for a 17-yard score. The drive took just 2:29 and seven plays.
After a return by Higdon across the 30 yard line, Foley took the handoff up the middle and fumbled in the second-level of the defense, giving Blair and the Wildcats the ball inside LTU territory.
The Wildcats ran a bit of trickery, running a double reverse to Henderson who got some blockers down the Lawrence Tech sideline to setup a 28-yard run to the 12-yard line. Blair capped off the short field with a play-action toss to Tyler Thomas.
Kulka and the offense could not string together first downs to truly garner a drive. IWU started on the plus side of midfield once again after LTU's third personal foul penalty. Henderson ran into a soft spot in the zone for his quarterback for a gain of 18 yards. On third down, trying to setup the screen play, IWU was forced to knock through a 45-yard field by Ben VonGunten after Robbie Best(FR/Struthers, OH) broke up the pass.
On the opening play of the second quarter, trailing 17-0, Williams beat his defender on the visitor sideline and hauled in the long ball from Kulka for a 71-yard touchdown. It was Williams' fifth reception of the day.
The Blue Devils conclude their first season in 72 years, 5-3. Lawrence Tech set several program records in its reboot campaign, including points in a single game (68 at Trinity Bible), total yards in a game (555 yards at Trinity Bible, and attendance (3,872 vs. Oakland).