Bird Is The Word; Muskies Soar Over Aurora
Oct. 25, 2003
By: Corey Kempf
The offense and defense were firing on all cylinders for the Muskies (6-2, 4-1) against Aurora University (3-4, 3-2) in an impressive 34-10 victory Saturday afternoon in Sheboygan.
Despite their troubles early in the game, both offense and defense came alive to overpower the Spartans.
Aurora capitalized on a botched snap by senior quarterback Brent Luebke on the first play from scrimmage to jump out to a quick lead. Spartan wide receiver Kevin Rynne caught three of his four passes on the 21-yard drive, including the drive-capping four-yard touchdown reception, making the score 7-0.
Both offenses would be shut down for the rest of the first quarter until the Muskies received the ball at their own three-yard line late in the first period. Marcus Denham was the workhorse for Muskies on the drive, carrying the ball seven times for 44 yards. By the end of the quarter, Lakeland pushed the ball across the 50-yard line for the first time in the game, and after switching sides, Luebke connected on a 43-yard strike to Shaun "Bird" Behrend, tying the game at seven.
On the Muskies next possession, they drove the ball down the field again, chewing up over six minutes off the clock. However, Jeff Taffs spectacular end zone catch was called incomplete and the Muskies would end up losing possession after going for the first down on fourth and 23.
After another great stop by the Muskie defense, the offense would get one more shot at scoring before halftime. With 44 seconds left, Luebke threw two beautiful passes to Courtney Gatlin and Behrend to set up Gerald Starners 28-yard field goal, making the game 10-7 entering the half.
After Starner and Spartan kicker Ryan Glab exchanged field goals to make the game 13-10, Luebke would find Behrend again, this time from 70 yards out on the first play of the drive. Behrend made a terrific catch on the play, adjusting to the ball that was thrown a bit behind him. He then shook off the tackler and ran it the rest of the way to make the score 20-10.
The score would remain the same until the fourth quarter when Luebke found Travis Gervais for a three yard score one play into the period to make it a 17 point advantage for the Muskies.
It would only take Lakeland two more minutes to add their final points of the game as they capitalized on a fumble by Spartan quarterback Kyle Daniels at the Aurora 21 yard line. When the Muskie offense took the field, they would give Kenneth Grundy two rushes, the second being the 15-yard scamper that gave the Muskies a 34-10 lead.
The Muskies would run out the clock two possessions later, ending the game at 34-10. It was fitting that two seniors would carry the Muskie offense to victory on Senior Day. Brent Luebke finished the game 19 for 34 with 314 yards and three touchdowns. His main receiver was Behrend, who finished with a spectacular seven catches for 191 yards, including two touchdowns.
The Muskie defense would have just as good of a game, doing a terrific job of shutting down the run. They held the Spartan rush attack to a whopping 22 yards on 30 attempts. Overall, the Muskie defense held the Spartan offense to just 129 yards of total offense, while the Muskie offense put up 472 yards.
Next week the Muskies travel to Greenville, Illinois to face the Greenville College Panthers in an Illini-Badger Conference match-up. Kick-off is scheduled for 12p.m.