The inaugural “Abraham Lincoln Bowl” featured a pair of explosive offensive performances, but it was the Eureka Red Devils that came out on top with a 62-55 victory over the Knox College Prairie Fire at the Knosher Bowl Saturday.
This was the first Lincoln Bowl, a new annual competition between the two colleges, who already have a long history. Their rivalry began in 1893, with Knox leading the all-time series 16-6-1.
Each year, the winning team will be awarded a bust of Abraham Lincoln. The piece was donated by former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar.
Here’s a quick rundown of the game:
How it happened: The game saw 1,290 yards of total offense, including an NCAA record-breaking 736 passing yards from Eureka senior quarterback Sam Durley. It was apparent from the start that the game would be high scoring, as the teams combined to punt the ball just one time in the first half. Knox went into the half 34-28 after a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by senior Mike Schroeder with less than thirty seconds to play. Knox continued to lead throughout the second half, but the Eureka defense stopped Knox on their final two possesions of the game, leading to the game-tying and game-winning drives. When Durley hit junior wide receiver Jake Bane for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left, it was the first time the Red Devils had obtained the lead all day.
Player of the game: Durley in a runaway. He broke former Houston quarterback David Klingler’s record for passing yards in a game, repeatedly torching the Knox secondary for big gains downfield. His performance will be remembered for a long time. But for as much attention as the Red Devils will get for this performance, it should be noted that the Knox offense was equally effective, doing what would have to be considered far more than enough to win the game. Senior running back Derek Mortensen rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries, and the Knox offense tallied 469 yards of offense overall. Junior quarterback Drew Diaz threw for nine completions and 190 yards, targeting senior Dustin Armstrong five times for 116 yards and a touchdown.
What it means: Knox is going to struggle mightily this year if they can’t get the passing defense under control. With spread offenses like Lawrence, Monmouth, Lake Forest and Beloit all still on the schedule, it will be tough to win if they are giving up over 60 points a game. Offensively, it is clear that this team can win games, but it will come down to the defense doing enough to ensure that.
Check back for a full story with reaction from players and coaches.