HOLLAND, Mich. - Hope out-scored the Wisconsin Lutheran College football team 34-0 in the second half to overcome a halftime deficit for a 37-7 MIAA/NACC Challenge victory Saturday at Smith Stadium. WLC fell to 0-3, while Hope improved to 3-0 on the season.
The Warriors used a strong defensive effort to build a 7-3 lead at halftime. After a scoreless first quarter, Hope drove down to the WLC five-yard line but stalled, settling for a 22-yard field goal by Evan Finch for a 3-0 lead with 6:45 remaining in thte first half.
Wisconsin Lutheran had a three-and-out on its next possession and Hope took over after the Warriors punted. The Flying Dutchmen recorded two first downs and were on their own 48-yard line when quarterback Michael Atwell had his pass intercepted by junior Aaron Allister (Lake Mills, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) who returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. The extra point gave the Warriors a 7-3 lead at halftime.
Hope trimmed the lead on a safety early in the third quarter. A poor snap on a punt went into the Warriors' own end zone and the Flying Dutchmen pulled to within 7-5.
Hope took the lead back on its next posession on a four-yard touchdown pass from Atwell to Taylor Brynaert. Atwell passed to Jake Helm for a two-point conversion to make it 13-7 with 9:17 left in the third.
The Flying Dutchmen extended the lead just over a minute later. After returning a punt to the Warriors' 41-yard line, Hope needed just two plays and 30 seconds to strike on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Atwell to Matt Kroll. Shawn Jackson ran in the two-point conversion to increase the lead to 21-7 with 6:13 to go in the quarter.
Atwell hit Helm for a 16-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. Vincent Boddy corralled Atwell's pass for a two-point conversion to make it 29-7, as Hope outscored WLC 26-0 in the third quarter. Hope capped the scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter on Jackson's 25-yard touchdown scamper. Evan Finch ran in the two-pointer to make it 37-7 with 14:49 remaining in the game.
WLC starting quarterback Drew Dyrssen (Vista Calif./California Lutheran) was 11-for-20 with 62 yards passing. Donavin Tucker (Brookfield, Wis./East) was the Warriors' leading rusher with 12 carries for 49 yards. Brad Nemetz (Denmark, Wis./Denmark) led the Warriors with two catches for 31 yards. Jordan Rabe (Oshkosh, Wis./West) recorded a team-high eight tackles and four pass breakups.
Atwell was 22-for-46 for 279 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Jackson racked up 120 rushing yards and a touchdown and Brynaert reeled in six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Cody Lindemulder recorded 11 tackles, two and a half tackles for loss, and a sack.
The Warriors were ougtained 473 yards to 180 yards on the day. Hope picked up 27 first downs to just 11 for WLC. The Flying Dutchmen won the turnover battle 3-1.
WLC (0-3) is off next week before its Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference opener at Lakeland (1-2) October 5.