NEW ULM - The good news for the Martin Luther College football team was that offensively the Knights cut down their turnovers from eight last week to only one Saturday against St. Scholastica.
The bad news is that the Knights' offense was completely non-existent for four quarters.
St. Scholastica held Martin Luther to 67 yards of total offense and had just enough offense itself to come away with a 21-7 win in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference play.
Cory Gebhard scored two touchdowns for the Saints including a game-clinching five yard pass from quarterback Tyler Harper with just 25 seconds left in the game. Gebhard latched onto a 73-yard scoring pass earlier in the fourth quarter. Tyler Olson latched onto a 12-yard scoring strike in the first quarter.
Luke Rothe provided the Knights'scoring when he returned a kick-off 81 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
"This was as fine of a defensive game as I have seen played by both teams in eight years,"MLC coach Doug Lange said. "We tried almost everything that we had in the pantry on offense and they ate it up. But there is nothing to be taken away from our defense - they were on the short side of the field all day long."
That was due to a Knights' offense that finished with a minus-32 yards rushing in the game and only nine first downs.Three of those came via the penalty.
After a scoreless first quarter and for over 14 minutes of the second quarter,both teams would find the end zone in the final 35 seconds of the first half and within 13 seconds of each other's touchdowns.
The Saints got on the scoreboard when Olson caught a 12 yard touchdown pass from Harper with 36 seconds left in the first half.
But before the Saints were finished celebrating, Martin Luther tied the game when Rothe took the ball on a reverse on the ensuing kick-off and out-ran St. Scholastica defenders for a touchdown at the 23 second mark. Shawn Scherer's kick tied the game at halftime despite the Knights having a negative four yards total offense.
"And we got the ball back to start the third quarter but it went right back to a offensive struggle," Lange said. "And I think those offensive struggles is because we have lost a couple of running backs in the last couple of weeks.That shows because we have a revolving door on who can be back there. We had eight backs to start the season and now we are down to. Next week may be the same way."
CSS broke the 7-7 tie with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Gebhard avoided two MLC tacklers en route to a 73-yard catch and run on a pass from Harper.
Harper and Gebhard hooked up on a five-yard touchdown pass late in the game for the final touchdown.