CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The 19th-ranked Coe College football team scored 28-straight points, as they won their ninth-straight game with a 35-7 win over Wartburg. Coe's winning streak, dating to last year, is the third longest in the nation.
The Kohawks got off to a slow start, as a mis-snap on the first play of the game resulted in a five-yard loss. Coe would go three-and-out on the opening drive, but it was all Kohawks after that. The Knights were also held to a three-and-out on their opening drive, as Coe started its second drive on its own 32-yard line.
On first-and-10 from the Wartburg 22-yard line, senior Jared McNutt (Warren, Ill./Warren) found senior Jared Kuehner (Center Point, Iowa/Center Point-Urbana) for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Kuehner outjumped the Wartburg defender before leaping into the endzone.
Coe took the 7-0 lead into the second quarter, as the Knights took over at their own 28-yard line following a Coe punt on the first play of the second quarter. The Knights went 72-yards on nine plays, tying the game on a one-yard touchdown run by Brandon Domeyer with 11:30 to play in the first half. The Kohawks were forced to punt on their next possession. The Knights marched 52-yards on eight plays before senior Bryce Sampson (Roland, Iowa/Roland-Story) forced a fumble at the 21-yard line that junior Jordan Atwater (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Linn-Mar) recovered.
The Kohawks then went 80-yards on seven plays, as senior Brendan Leiran (Waukon, Iowa/Waukon) scored from eight-yards out with 2:27 to play, giving Coe a 14-7 lead. Wartburg drove to Coe's 44-yard line, but a fumble on the final play ended the first half.
Wartburg took the ball to start the third quarter and moved to the Kohawk 15-yard line. A 32-yard field goal attempt by Frank Loconti sailed wide right, as the Kohawks took over at their own 20-yard line. Both teams exchanged punts on the ensuing possessions.
With 6:48 to play in third quarter, Coe took over at its own 28-yard line. Coe completed two third downs on the 72-yard drive, as Leiran scored for the second time in the game with 3:20 left in the quarter from one-yard out, giving Coe a 21-7 lead. Wartburg punted on its next drive, but junior Ben Schmidt (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) blocked the punt at the 14-yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter, McNutt found Kuehner for their second touchdown of the day, this time from 21-yards out with 15:53 to play.
The Knights' next drive ended on a punt, as Coe took over at its own 29-yard line. Facing third-and-12, McNutt found Leiran in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown, giving Coe a 35-7 lead with 10:14 to play. The touchdown would be the final score of the game.
Coe's 28-point win was the largest in school history against the Knights. Wartburg outgained Coe 134-100 on the ground, while the Kohawks held the advantage in passing 275-191. Coe tallied 375 yards of total offense, while the Knights had 325. Wartburg held the ball for 31:09, while Coe had it for 28:51. Coe was 4-for-4 in the red zone, while Wartburg was 1-for-3.
Leiran carried the load for the Kohawks on the ground, as he rushed 24 times for 108 yards, including two scores. McNutt attempted a career-high 33 passes, completing 22 of them. He threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, tying a career-high for the third time.
Kuehner caught eight passes for 142 yards, including two scores. Kuehner moved into a tie for second with 138 receptions in his career, while he moved into second in career yards receiving (2,378) and touchdowns (23). He also moved into seventh on the single-season receptions list with 46. Junior Keaton Juergens (Elkader, Iowa/Central Elkader) caught a career-high seven passes for 87 yards. Leiran caught five passes for 37 yards, including a score.
Senior Frank Weymiller (New Albin, Iowa/Waukon) led the defense with 12 tackles, including four for a loss and one and a half sacks. His four tackles for a loss are tied for the eighth most in school history. Weymiller now has 50 career tackles for loss, tying Jordan Wilkens (2005-08) for the most in school history. Sampson finished with eight tackles, including his sixth career interception. Senior Zach West (Tiffin, Iowa/Clear Creek-Amana) added eight tackles.
Junior Mitch Montgomery (Lisbon, Iowa/Lisbon) tied his career-high for the third time with seven tackles. He also had two tackles for loss. Sophomore Dustin Elsbury (Byron, Ill./Byron) and junior Justin Snorton (Valley Park, Mo./Desmet Jesuit) had six tackles apiece. It was a career-high for Snorton. Senior Terrance Locket Jr. (St. Louis, Mo./Desmet Jesuit) picked off his first career pass. The Kohawk defense forced three fumbles on the day for the third time this season.
The Kohawks travel to Luther next week. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Decorah. Coe will be playing for its first outright Iowa Conference title in school history and the fourth overall.