MLC shut out by Crown 32-0
By Jeremy Reinarts
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM – Crown College beat Martin Luther College 32-0 in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference action on Saturday.
Crown (1-2, 1-1 UMAC) started the game on the MLC 35-yard line, when Jacob Zeitlow’s kick landed out of bounds at the Crown 13. Crown drove the ball 65 yards on 14 plays before scoring on a 1-yard rush by Matt Michaud. MLC had a chance to stop Crown was faced with a fourth-and-2 inside the 10-yard line.
MLC (0-3, 0-2) started the next drive at its own 34-yard line from a return by Jonah Backus for 22 yards. MLC drove the ball deep into Crown territory but could not push the ball into the end zone.
“We are struggling to finish drives,” MLC coach Mark Stein said. “It got better, just putting the ball in the end zone, that has been a struggle for us.”
Crown took over on downs at its own 4-yard line but went three and out. After a short 37-yard punt by Crown, MLC started inside Crown territory but then turned the ball over on downs.
“For me there were some positives, we just didn’t finish drives in the first or second half. We moved the ball effectively,” Stein said.
At 8:59 in the second quarter, MLC’s Nate Lindloff intercepted a pass and returned the ball 8 yards to the MLC 42. MLC was pushed back to the 32-yard line after an illegal block.
Crown ended the scoring in the first half on a 24-yard pass in the end zone. Crown drove the ball 56 yards on seven plays, giving it a 13-0.
A failed attempt at an onside kick to open the second half gave the Knights good field position starting at their own 41-yard line . But they went three plays only moving the ball 5 yards.
The defense came up solid for the Knights, after a 29-yard punt by Ian Paulsen holding Crown to only 3 yards. Crown’s 38-yard punt was moved forward 10 yards due to a holding penalty, giving the Knights the ball at their own 40-yard line.
“The defense has been playing really well and they continue to get better,” Stein said. “Today they caused as many turnovers as they did all year. It was super exciting for me to see that competitive spirit with the defense.”
An MLC drive was kept alive from a great second effort by Josh Wong, who was hit behind the line of scrimmage, carrying the ball 8 yards to complete a fourth down with 4 to go. MLC again found its with a first-and-goal but could not capitalize.
For MLC, Wong had 87 yards from 15 carries and Nate Stein had 78 yards from 24 carries. T.J. Babinec went 6-for-19 passing for 43 yards.
Defensively for the Knights, Josh VonDeylen had 11 tackles, Chris Dean and Tom Keller finished with seven each.
MLC will play Northwestern (Minn.) at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Roseville.