Decorah native and Luther senior Eric Ostlie is pictured battling the Wartburg offensive lineman for position. (Photo by Jennifer Bissell)
A 14-point fourth quarter effort wasn't enough Saturday as the Luther football team (2-4, 1-2 IIAC) lost a hard-fought 21-24 decision to Wartburg (5-1, 3-0 IIAC) in Carlson Stadium.
Wartburg held a 10-7 lead at halftime, and that is what remained on the scoreboard entering the fourth and final frame. The fourth quarter saw 28 points and four lead changes, but unfortunately for Norse fans, the final lead change was by the Knights.
Luther took a 14-10 lead with 12:02 remaining, thanks to a 23-yard touchdown run by Tim Ostby. Ostby's scamper capped a five-play, 79-yard drive.
Facing a 3rd and 10 situation from their own 9, the Knights retook the lead on a 91-yard pass from Taylor Jacobsmeier to Brandon Steggall at the 11:37 mark. Luther answered at 10:24, when Matt Jaronik scored on a 37-yard run, making it 21-17. With 5:53 left in the game, Jacobsmeier connected on his second touchdown pass of the afternoon, finding Brandon Domeyer from 17 yards out.
Both teams went for over 400 yards of total offense. Wartburg tallied 454, while Luther was credited with 426. The Knights rushed for 296 and threw for 158. Luther rushed for 326 and threw for a season high 100.
Eight different players carried the football for the Norse, led by Ostby with 81 yards on six carries and Jaronik with 70 yards on two carries. Alex Hain was next with 62 yards on six carries.
J.J. Sirrios threw for a career high 100 yards, connecting with four receivers. Kene Ukabiala led the receivers with two catches for 49 yards.
Defensively, Eric Pittman was credited with 11 tackles. He was followed by Aric Elton and Alex Peterson with nine. Robby Jewell and Matt Larson were next with eight. Elton and Peterson both picked off passes. Elton picked off Logan Schrader's toss on the Luther 9 and returned it to the 39, stopping a Wartburg scoring drive early in the second quarter. Peterson picked off a Jacobsmeier throw on the Luther 42 and returned it to the Wartburg 43 midway through the fourth frame.
The Norse travel to Pella Saturday to face Central College, with a 1 p.m. kickoff.