WAVERLY - Wartburg College's defense is getting itself into a good habit with the final four weeks of the 2008 season unfolding.
The Knights, a week removed from shutting out Coe in the second half of a 27-21 win in Cedar Rapids, were close to pitching a shutout in a 35-7 Homecoming 2008 win over Loras Saturday, Oct. 18.
Head coach Rick Willis' squad, improving to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the Iowa Conference, surrendered only 286 yards of total offense from the Duhawks. It was the third time this season they had given up less than 300 yards from an opponent.
Three sacks, five tackles for losses, three fumble recoveries and an interception helped lead the Wartburg "D". Senior linebacker Kyle Goodchild of Van Horne led the tackle chart with nine and registered a half-sack and interception. Sophomore defensive back Spencer Policha of Clinton added eight tackles, while the trio of senior defensive backs Jason Lansing of West Union and Josh Faaborg of Cedar Rapids and senior linebacker Ryan Gerardy of Eldridge each recovered a Loras fumble. The remaining sacks went to senior Eric Lauterbach of Harlan (half), junior defensive end Jared Tucker of Strawberry Point, and senior defensive tackle Rodney Stevenson of Cresco.
The Orange and Black offense was also in high gear Saturday, especially through the air. Junior quarterback Nick Yordi fired his 10th straight 200-yard-plus outing, going 13 of 19 for 267 yards and three touchdowns. He also became the fourth member of the program's 4,000-yard club.
Yordi's favorite target, senior wide receiver Justin Vetter of Nashua, reaped the benefits of his teammate's passing. Vetter, going over 100 yards receiving for the third time in four game, finished four receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow senior wide out Dan Bauder of Elkader registered his first touchdown reception during the day, due to some nifty footwork on the Wartburg sideline, juking a defender and taking the ball 51 yards for the first score of the game, less than five minutes into the second period.
Wartburg's rushing attack was guided by junior running back Alex Boom of Manchester. He finished with 43 yards on 10 carries and scored one touchdown. Yordi also accounted for a rushing score, going over from one yard out in fourth quarter.
The Knights, now tied with Buena Vista and Luther atop the league standings as each team has one loss, make their final road trip of the year Saturday, Oct. 25, to Simpson College's Bill Buxton Stadium in Indianola. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
NOTES: Wartburg has now won four Homecoming games in a row...The series with Loras stands at 19-9 with the Knights having won four straight and 13 of the last 15.