With the exception of two minutes late in the first half, UW-Stout played toe-to-toe with sixth-ranked Wartburg College. In the end, it was those two minutes that made the difference as the Knights came out of Don & Nona Williams Stadium with a 41-33 win on Saturday night.
Wartburg (3-0) scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half. The first came on an 11-yard pass from Logan Schrader to Jake Haberman with 1:58 remaining. The second was a two-yard Schrader run that gave the Knights a 28-12 lead just 16 seconds before the intermission.
Coming out of the locker room, the Blue Devils (1-2) answered with a 12-play, 67-yard drive, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown pass from Hank Kujak to Brian Alvarez with 9:47 on the clock to pull within 28-19.
Wartburg opened up a 35-19 lead after a 71-yard drive concluded with a Brandon Domeyer touchdown run with 6:29 remaining in the third.
On the ensuing drive, Kujak picked up 27 rushing yards and threw twice to brother Reggie Kujak, including an 11-yard TD with 3:10 left to bring Stout within 35-26.
Domeyer scored again on the following Wartburg possession, but the extra-point attempt was blocked by Iyen Ogbomoh, his second block of the game, and Wartburg led 41-26 with 13:57 left in the fourth quarter.
Neither team would score again until Stout drove Kujak hit Alvarez for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 56-seconds left. Wartburg recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve the 41-33 win.
The first half was just as back-and-forth as the second.
Wartburg scored on their opening drive of the game, going 75 yards in 15 plays, finishing it off with a Schrader touchdown run.
Stout stormed down the field, but a missed field goal kept the Blue Devils off the scoreboard. Javauhn Staley intercepted Schrader on the next drive, but the teams would trade punts into the second period.
The Blue Devils put together a scoring drive in the second quarter. Kujak led off the drive with a 47-yard scamper, and Adolfo Pacheco sealed the deal with a 2-yard touchdown run. Taylor Pahl’s extra-point attempt was just wide, breaking his consecutive PAT streak at 24.
Wartburg grabbed a 14-6 lead on their next drive, when Schrader found Robbie Anstoett for a 21-yard touchdown. The Blue Devils picked up a couple of first downs on their next drive, but were forced to punt.
Wartburg could not move the ball and the Blue Devils proved opportunistic.
Ogbomoh crashed the end to block a Wartburg punt, allowing Tuttle to recover the ball and take it to the end zone. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and Stout trailed 14-12 with 2:07 left in the half.
The teams combined for more than 900 yards of total offense. Wartburg picked up 543 yards, 300 through the air and 243 on the ground. Stout would finish with 441 yards, 212 passing and 229 rushing, the third consecutive game Stout recorded more than 400 yards of offense.
Wartburg’s Domayer carried the ball 24 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Schrader completed 19-of-31 passes for 300 yards and two scores. Anstoetter pulled in nine receptions for 197 yards.
Kujak completed 19-of-38 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
He also led Stout in rushing, finishing with 97 yards. Chris Pica-Anderson had four receptions for 76 yards.
The Blue Devils are off next week and return to action Saturday, Oct. 3 when they host UW-Oshkosh at 2 p.m. in the annual homecoming contest.