Lawrence can't overcome late surge by Ripon

Lawrence football action Wasonu Allen
Lawrence's Wasonu Allen ran 18 times for 78 yards against Ripon.

APPLETON, Wis. -- The Lawrence University football team grabbed the lead in the second half Saturday, but Ripon College rallied for a 44-20 Midwest Conference North Division victory on Ron Roberts Field at the Banta Bowl.

Lawrence scored on the opening possession of the third quarter to grab a 20-17 advantage, but Ripon scored the game's final four touchdowns to pull away for the win. Ripon retains possession of the Doehling-Heselton Memorial Trophy in the oldest college football rivalry in the state.

Lawrence quarterback Billy Wallisch went 16-for-33 for 193 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Nick Pastrone caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Tanner Morris grabbed six passes for 46 yards and a score for the Vikings.

Ethan Simmons ripped off a 49-yard run and led the Vikings with six carries for 80 yards, and Wasoun Allen carried 18 times for 78 yards in his final game for Lawrence (1-8, 0-5 MWC North).

Linebacker Marcellus Giles led the Lawrence defense with 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Eder Bellegarde and Onni Soininen added nine tackles apiece for the Vikings.

Ripon quarterback Cormac Madigan powered the Ripon offense by running 27 times for 259 yards and three touchdowns. 

Ripon (4-5, 3-2) grabbed an early 14-0 lead before the Vikings stormed back. Lawrence went on a seven-play, 70-yard drive to cut the lead in half late in the first quarter. The big play in the drive was a 38-yard Wallisch pass to Pastrone to set the Vikings up at the Ripon 25-yard line. Three plays later, Wallisch connected with Cameron Wicks on an 18-yard scoring pass to trim the lead to 14-7.

Lawrence pulled to within one with another scoring drive midway through the second quarter. After a Ripon fumble gave the Vikings the ball at the Ripon 39, Wallisch found Simmons with a 19-yard pass to the Ripon 16. After Morris grabbed a short pass over the middle at the Ripon seven-yard line, Lawrence scored two plays later on a three-yard pass to Pastrone to cut the margin to 14-13.

Ripon responded with a 28-yard field goal and led 17-13 at the half.

Lawrence had its next two drives, the last of the second quarter and first of the third, snuffed out by interceptions deep in Ripon territory. Lawrence picked up a turnover of its own when Madigan fumbled and Steven Snyder recovered at the Ripon 12. 

The Vikings grabbed a 20-17 lead three plays later when Wallisch found Morris on a crossing route for an eight-yard touchdown strike.

Ripon came right back and hit on a 48-yard pass play to set up a Madigan 21-yard touchdown for a 24-20 lead midway through the third. Ripon then went on a scoring drives of 85, 61 and 54 yards to close out the win.

This marks the end of the season for the Vikings, who will not have an opponent in the Midwest Conference crossover games in the final week.