Three turnovers, eight penalties, a blocked punt, missed field goal and a 31 percent third down convergence rate all added up to a 28-point loss to No. 19 Coe, which clinched at least a share of the Iowa Conference championship in Cedar Rapids Saturday.
The Knights gained 325 yards on offense, only 50 yards shy of Coe’s mark, but could not convert the yards into points, losing the turnover battle three to zero.
Coe got on the board first on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jared McNutt to Jared Kuehner with 8:33 left in the first quarter.
Wartburg answered in the second quarter as Brandon Domeyer capped off a 72-yard drive with a one-yard plunge into the endzone to tie the game at seven.
On the Knight’s next possession, quarterback Logan Schrader and company drove the ball all the way to the Coe 20-yard line before the ball flew out of Reese Thompson’s hands at the line of scrimmage and the Kohawks recovered.
The fumble turned out to be a big momentum swing as the game was all Kohawks from that point on.
McNutt completed a 39-yard pass to Keaton Juergens into Wartburg territory. then a 10-yard pass to Jacob Workman and a 21-yard pass to Kuehner.
Brandon Leiran ran the ball eight yards untouched into the endzone to give Coe a 14-7 lead just before halftime.
The Knights drove the ball to the Coe 15 on the first possession of the second half but were forced to kick a field goal, which Frank Loconti missed from 32 yards.
Leiran scored his second touchdown of the game to put Coe up 21-7 late in the third quarter.
The Knights committed two penalties, threw three incomplete passes and rushed for a loss on their next possession, forcing a punt deep in their own territory.
Coe’s punt-block team burst into the backfield and Grant Zimmerman juked around one defender before kicking it straight into another and Coe took over at the Wartburg 14.
Chad Crawford sacked McNutt on 3rd & 8 to bring up a 4th & 17 from the 21-yard line but Kuehner made a sensational one-handed catch in the corner of the endzone on the first play of the fourth quarter to put Coe up 28-7.
The Knights punted again and Leiran ran 49 yards to the Wartburg redzone to set up a McNutt touchdown pass to him and Coe led 35-7.
Schrader and J.J. Hanus each threw an interception in the fourth quarter and Coe walked away with another convincing Iowa Conference victory, one week after a 40-point win over previous co-conference leading Simpson.
Schrader was 15-of-26 for 148 yards and a touchdown while Domeyer ran 12 times for 65 yards. Curt Hruska led the receivers with six catches for 67 yards.
The loss drops Wartburg to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Iowa Conference, meaning they will most likely not be selected to the Division III playoffs.
The Knights travel to Central next Saturday before hosting Loras on Senior Day Nov. 3.
IOWA CONFERENCE FOOTBALL SCORES
Buena Vista 14, Luther 7
Central 27, Loras 10
Coe 35, Wartburg 7
Dubuque 45, Simpson 40
IOWA CONFERENCE FOOTBALL STANDINGS
Coe (8-0, 5-0)
Simpson (3-2, 5-3)
Wartburg (3-2, 5-3)
Buena Vista (3-2, 3-5)
Central (3-2, 4-4)
Dubuque (2-3, 3-5)
Loras (1-4, 2-6)
Luther (0-5, 0-8)