Furious comeback falls short, Football drops NAC road contest
Box Score: WLC 35, CUW 28
MILWAUKEE - Concordia University Wisconsin scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 1:09 after finding itself down three scores in the fourth quarter, but Wisconsin Lutheran College hung on to win, 35-28, in a Northern Athletics Conference football matchup and retain the Luther Cup at Raabe Stadium.
CUW sprinted down the field on a 77-yard drive that was capped when freshman quarterback Austin Damashke (Bristol, Wis.) connected with freshman wide receiver Garrett Wenzelburger (Hartland, Wis.) on 10-yard slant play.
Following a successful onside kick, which Wenzelburger recovered, Damaschke again found his favorite target - the 6-foot-7, 204-pound Wenzelburger - for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Falcons one last gasp at a miraculous comeback victory.
CUW's (3-5, 3-2 NAC) second onside kick in as many attempts didn't find the mark and WLC (4-4, 3-2 NAC) ran the clock out to end the Falcons shot at back-to-back NAC wins.
Damashcke completed 24-of-41 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns, along with three interceptions. He also rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries, a 4.9 yard average. Sophomore wide receiver James Saunders (Riverview, Fla.) hauled in six receptions for a team-high 67 yards.
Wenzelburger was Damaschke's go-to target in the contest as he finished with five receptions for 45 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, junior linebacker Matt Upson (New Berlin, Wis.) and senior linebacker Zac Wielepski (Oak Creek, Wis.) combined to make 24 tackles.
Zach Shaw led WLC with 184 yards through the air on 10-of-17 passing with two touchdowns and one interception. Jesse Muldrow rushed 17 times for 104 yards, a 6.1 yard average. Kinte Collins made four receptions for 94 yards.
Both teams gained 380 totals yard in the matchup with CUW going to the air for 274 of those yards, while WLC gained 196 yards on the ground.
WLC struck the score board first on Shaw 1-yard rushing touchdown. The Warriors drove 80 yards down the field on nine plays in 4:44. Shaw connected on three first-down completions, highlighted by a 45-yard pass-and-catch combination with Collins.
The Warriors went up 14-0 in the beginning of the second quarter after Jordan Rabe intercepted a Damaschke passed that bounced off the pads of Saunders at the CUW 31-yard line. WLC went to the ground game four times behind Donavin Tucker before he found pay dirt on an 8-yard score.
It took CUW just 2:05 to respond behind three Damaschke completions - two to Saunders and one to Erik West (junior, Plymouth, Wis.) - before he scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak to cap a five play, 57-yard drive.
The back-and-forth second quarter continued when WLC returned the kickoff 45 yards. Shaw then found Muldrow for a 16-yard score to give the Warriors a 21-7 lead with 7:36 left in the half.
CUW nearly scored on 54-yard and 51 second drive, but a 28-yard blocked field goal ended the half with WLC leading 21-7.
Damaschke led all players in the opening half with 182 yards - 149 passing, 33 rushing - with one touchdown.
CUW opened the second half with a Justin Rogers (senior, Milwaukee, Wis.) interception and converted the turnover into a Damschke to Wenzelburger 5-yard touchdown toss. The score was the first hookup between the two during the game.
The Warriors responded with an eight-play, 61-yard scoring drive with Shaw throwing to Josh Stodola for a 16-yard score to go ahead 28-14 with 8:18 remaining in the third quarter.
WLC extended its lead to 35-14, the largest of the game, when Shaw scored from one yard out with 7:32 left in the ball game.
CUW continues its two-game road trip next Saturday, Nov. 5, when it travels to Concordia University Chicago for a 12 p.m. matchup at Concordia Stadium.