Monmouth shut down
Alex Tanney was sacked four times and averaged less
than 6.0 yards per passing attempt.
Playing its first game since the graduation of longtime starting quarterback Nick Yordi, Wartburg's defense turned out to be the story. The opening game of Wartburg's 75th season of football turned out to be a memorable one. A tenacious Wartburg defense forced three turnovers from No. 17 Monmouth, returning one for a touchdown, en route to a 27-7 win in front of a Community Night crowd of 3,000 fans at Walston-Hoover Stadium.
The Knights limited Monmouth quarterback Alex Tanney to 25-for-40 passing for 224 yards and the Scots got just 2 yards rushing on 21 attempts thanks in part to four sacks.
After a Tanney 60-yard touchdown pass cut Wartburg's lead to 20-7 with 12:00 left in the game, Wartburg sophomore defensive back Garrett McGrane returned an interception 51 yards to the end zone in the final five minutes to put a wrap on the victory. Senior linebacker Blake Suckow's eight tackles, two and a half sacks from junior defensive lineman Matt Tschetter, and an interception from senior defensive back Andrew Creary and fumble recovery by junior defensive back Josh VanDenHul, keyed the Wartburg defense.
Dan Stiefel got the call at quarterback for the Knights and completed 14 of 25 passes for 124 yards and a score, while sophomore running back Reese Thompson had 122 yards on 38 carries. Wartburg ran 50 rushing plays, controlling the ball for just under 38 minutes. Brandon Sims added seven carries for 60 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown.
The Scots held the Knights to two first half field goals before Wartburg could get into the end zone in the second half.
Tanney's night set the Midwest Conference career passing record, giving him 10,382 yards in his career, breaking the record of 10,200 set by Grinnell’s Troy Daugherty. Adam Hoste led the Monmouth defense with 11 tackles.