DECORAH, Iowa - Coe College won its 10th-straight game Saturday, as it locked up its first outright (fourth overall) Iowa Conference football championship with a 35-7 win over Luther.
Neither team was able to score in the first quarter, as Coe's big opportunity for points resulted in a blocked field goal. The Kohawk offense turned it on in the second quarter, scoring 21-straight points. On the first four plays of the second quarter, senior Brendan Leiran (Waukon, Iowa/Waukon) carried the ball. On On third-and-goal, senior Jared McNutt (Warren, Ill./Warren) threw a seven-yard touchdown pass senior Jacob Workman (Chadwick, Ill./Milledgeville). JuniorWes Anderson's point-after attempt with 12:04 to play in the first half gave Coe a 7-0 lead.
Two drives later, junior Jordan Atwater (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Linn-Mar) intercepted his third career pass, returning it 20-yards to the Luther 24-yard line. After three rushes by Leiran, McNutt found sophomore Colin Ferring (Waukon, Iowa/Waukon) for a six-yard touchdown pass, as Coe took a 14-0 lead with 6:15 to play in the first half.
Coe forced another Norse three-and-out, as Coe took over at its own 44-yard line. On the first play, McNutt found seniorChase Cooling (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Xavier) for a gain of 23-yards. On the ninth play of the drive, Leiran plunged in from a yard out, as Coe went up 21-0 with 1:52 to play in the half. Coe once again forced a three-and-out and started the final drive of the half at its own 29-yard line with 1:22 to play in the half. Coe marched to the Luther 20-yard line, but McNutt's fourth-and-10 pass into the end zone was dropped before being intercepted by Dustin Hines.
On the third drive of the third quarter, the Kohawks scored their fourth touchdown of the game. Starting at their own 18-yard line, the Kohawks went 82-yards in five plays. On the third play of the drive, McNutt found Leiran for a gain of 14-yards. After a six-yard run by Leiran, junior Carvin Thompson (Dallas, Texas/Life Charter) busted the longest run of his career, a 49-yard touchdown score to put Coe up 28-0 with 3:35 to play in the third quarter.
The final points of the game for Kohawks came on the first drive of the fourth quarter. Facing third-and-21, freshmanMark Atwater (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Linn-Mar) rushed for 19-yards. On fourth down, Thompson ran for six yards to gain the first down. On third-and-eight from the Luther 24, Atwater completed a 24-yard pass to sophomore Alex Christenson(Oskaloosa, Iowa/Oskaloosa). On the final drive of the game for the Norse, they drove 68-yards on 12 plays, as Kody Moore found Adam Bohr for a 23-yard touchdown pass with :16 to play.
Coe gained 24 first downs, while the Norse had just 11. Coe won the battle on the ground with 223 yards, while the Norse rushed for 32. Coe outgained Luther 257-169 in the passing game, as Coe held a 480-201 advantage in total offense. Coe held the ball for 35:08, compared to Luther's 24:52. Coe was 8-of-16 on third down, while the Norse were 1-for-13.
Leiran led the rushing attack with a career-high 32 carries for 135 yards. Thompson rushed nine times for 70 yards, while Atwater had four carries for 35 yards. McNutt completed 17-of-26 passes for 233 yards. Atwater was 1-for-3 for 24 yards. McNutt became the 12th player in school history to throw for over 2,000 yards in a season. Leiran went over 3,000 yards rushing in his career, just the fourth player to do so at Coe.
Workman caught a career-high six passes for a career-high 65 yards. Senior Jared Kuehner (Center Point, Iowa/Center Point-Urbana) caught four passes for 85 yards, while Leiran caught four passes for 46 yards. Kuehner moved into second on Coe's career receptions list with 142.
Cooling had four punts for 133 yards, including two inside the 20. He became the first player in school history to surpass the 5,000 yards punting mark. Anderson became the sixth player with over 100 points kicking in his career.
Atwater led the Kohawk defense with eight tackles, including a fumble recovery and interception. Senior Frank Weymiller(New Albin, Iowa/Waukon) had six tackles, including three for a loss and 1.5 sacks. Weymiller became the ninth player in school history with 200 career tackles and became Coe's all-time leader with 53 tackles for loss. SophomoreDustin Elsbury (Byron, Ill./Byron), sophomore Mitchell Berendes (Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead) and juniorMitch Montgomery (Lisbon, Iowa/Lisbon) each recorded five tackles. Junior Mike Schneidermann (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington) recorded a career-high two sacks and two tackles for loss.
Coe will look to finish the undefeated season next week, as they host Central in the regular season finale. With the win today, Coe guaranteed itself a spot in the NCAA Division III Playoffs on Nov. 17. Next Saturday's game against Central is scheduled for a 12 p.m. kickoff at Clark Field. A link for live video and stats can be found at CoeAthletics.com.