SOUTHFIELD, Michigan – The Lawrence Technological University football team dropped its first game of its reboot season, falling to Indiana Wesleyan, 38-24, at the LTU Athletic Field on Homecoming Saturday on October 13. The Blue Devils forced four turnovers to engineer a 17-16 lead in the third quarter, but the Wildcats would rattle off 22 straight to steal the decision.
Quarterback Tyler Kulka (FR/Clinton Township, MI) finished the afternoon 27-of-42 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Coming into the contest, Kulka had yet to throw an interception in 87 pass attempts – the Clinton Township native threw three today. Terrel Cunningham (FR/Northsville, MI) was Kulka's top target, hauling in a season-high 10 receptions for 149 yards. Cunningham is the first Blue Devil (5-1) to break the 100-yard barrier receiving this year. He finished the afternoon with one touchdown and leads the team with four on the campaign. Kendyl Williams (FR/Lantana, FL) had three catches, two for scores.
The Lawrence Tech run game struggled to get going against IWU (5-1), as four ball carriers combined for a season-low 57 yards. Tanner Foley (FR/Sebawing, MI) led the attack taking 12 carries for 46 yards.
Despite forcing four turnovers, LTU was unable to score on the defensive side of the ball for the first time since defeating Wisconsin Lutheran on September 8. The Blue Devils defense and special teams had been outscoring opponents over the season prior to this afternoon's homecoming game.
Linebacker Thomas Lappin (FR/Howell, MI) led Lawrence Tech with 12 tackles. Lappin is the first Blue Devil to notch double-digit tackles in a game. This was the third time this season he has paced the team in tackles. Lappin had a game-high 4.5 tackles for loss and LTU's lone sack of the day. Andrew Campbell (FR/Traverse City, MI) anchored the secondary with his first two interceptions of year. Danny Macks recorded eight tackles – one being for loss.
Lawrence Tech's defense surrendered its first touchdown on the ground this year, holding ball carriers out of the endzone for 5 hours-29 minutes-08 seconds before IWU's Amaun Clark scampered across the goal line from 11 yards.
Indiana Wesleyan's Zack Blair completed 11-of-22 for 204 yards to go with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Devodney Alford took 18 carries for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Joshua McKenzie complimented the Wildcats' rush attack with 74 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per touch. Brayden Smith and Seth Hobson both hauled in touchdown catches.
Defensively for IWU, Josh Davidson and Brevin Beard led the way with seven tackles apiece. Massimo Pagnoni, Cameron Lauck and Justin Johnson all jumped in front of a Kulka pass for an interception.
Trailing 16-10 in the third quarter, Kulka found Williams steaking across the back of the endzone for his second score of the day. The touchdown capped an eight play, 71-yard drive that gave the Blue Devils their second lead of the afternoon.
The Wildcats would score on the ensuing possession with a 21-yard strike from Blair to Hobson. That drive for IWU sparked 22-straight points, 15 coming in the third quarter.
Kulka drove Lawrence Tech down the field in the final two minutes to end the game on a high note. He completed five passes to three different receivers to cover 82 yards in just over two minutes. A 25-yard hook up with Cunningham polished off the drive.
The game started on a sour note for the Blue Devils as Williams coughed up the opening kickoff that IWU recovered on the LTU 24. The defense though held strong forcing a 41-yard field goal from Ben VonGunten. VonGunten went 1-2 on the day and had an extra point blocked by Cam Mitchell (FR/Mount Clemens, MI).
Lawrence Tech struck back later in the opening frame. Kulka found Cunningham for 23 yards to put the Blue Devils in the redzone. Just two plays later, Kulka hit Williams in the corner of the endzone to put LTU up 7-3.
After a Brad Gibson (FR/Livonia, MI) 20-yard field goal to make the score 10-3, IWU tallied a pair of second quarter scores to take a 16-10 lead into the locker room.
The Blue Devils hit the road next week, traveling to Marquette, Michigan, to square off with one of coach Jeff Duvendeck's former posts, Northern Michigan. Kickoff from the Superior Dome is slated for 1 pm. The Wildcats of NMU are 1-6 this season and 0-5 in the GLIAC.