NEW ULM Some people say that defense wins games, but the Martin Luther College offense showed today that sometimes you just have to outscore the other team.
The MLC Knights prevailed over Iowa Wesleyan 68-51 in an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference shootout Saturday.
"It was nice to get some points up on the board this week," MLC quarterback Luke Rothe said. "We had a good game plan coming out and everyone executed it."
Iowa Wesleyan scored on its first offensive play of the game, a 45-yard touchdown pass, to take an early lead and start what would be a barrage of scoring from both teams.
After the Tigers touchdown, MLC went on to score 22 unanswered points on a pair of touchdown passes from Rothe to Dan Rodewald and Micah Plocher followed by a 60-yard run touchdown run by Matt Olson where he ran up the middle untouched the entire way.
Rothe found both Chris Arndt and Plocher for touchdowns before the half and the Knights led 34-28 at halftime.
The Tigers cut the deficit to just one touchdown late in the third quarter, but they were never able to catch the Knights.
Rothe was able to find the end zone three times with his legs in the second half with the latest coming on a 75 yard run on which he ran from sideline to sideline to give himself open running space.
"We were trying to get the ball to the outside all game," Rothe said. "I got some good blocks and everything was flowing to the outside, so I saw a seam to cut it back, and I cut it back and took it to the house."
When the game started, Rothe found himself ranked fifth in all of Division III for points scored with 78 points on seven passing touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns, and six two-point conversions. Rothe boosted his stats in that category Saturday as he was responsible for 46 points today with four passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and two two-point conversions.
Olson added a 1-yard touchdown run for the Knights.
Rothe led the Knights through the air and on the ground with 257 rushing yards and 183 passing yards.
Olson added 130 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Plocher hauled in six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Knights' receiving core.
Freshman Tom Keller led the Knights' defense in tackles with eight. Ben Ewings and Jacob Brohn each added six tackles, while Ewings recorded two sacks and two and a half tackles for loss.
"This was definitely a confidence booster for us after losing the last two weeks," Rothe said. "We came out and put up 68 points and the defense had some big stops. It was a good team win."
The Knights (2-3, 2-2) host Eureka College this coming Saturday.