Touchdowns rushing and receiving by junior running back Alex Adams II and 3.5 sacks from senior defensive end Jordan McInerney led Lake Forest to a 27-15 season-opening victory at Wisconsin Lutheran College Thursday night.
McInerney's sack total matched the second-highest mark in program history and he led the Foresters with 10 tackles overall. His 4.5 tackles for loss on the night raised his career total to 37.0, which ranks tied-for-fifth in team annals. Sophomore safety Anthony Reick was next on the squad with eight stops and sophomore linebacker Dominic Johnson came up with a fumble recovery.
Adams ran for 84 yards on 21 carries and caught two passes for 28 yards. He accounted for the game's first points on a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior Bill Degnan and clinched the victory with a 13-yard run to the end zone with just 1:19 remaining in the contest. Degnan also completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver John Rall and a 2-yarder to sophomore tight end Cooper Tomlin. The Lake Forest signal-caller was 14-for-23 for 143 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in his first career start. Freshman wideout A.J. Jackson led the visitors with six catches and 72 receiving yards.
The Warriors' opening drive of the game ended when Forester sophomore defensive lineman Jacob Fitch tackled the ball-carrier for a 4-yard loss on 4th-and-2 from the Lake Forest 39. The Foresters marched 57 yards on 11 plays and took the lead on Degnan's pass to Adams. Johnson's fumble recovery set up the Foresters on the Warrior 45 and Degnan hit Rall for a touchdown on the seventh play of the drive to make the score 14-0 early in the second quarter. Wisconsin Lutheran answered with a touchdown drive and the teams combined for just 72 yards and five punts during the remainder of the first half.
Wisconsin Lutheran reached the end zone again in the middle of the third quarter but a missed extra point kept the Foresters in the lead by one. Lake Forest pulled away a few possessions later with a 15-play, 55-yard drive that ended with Tomlin's first career touchdown at the 8:06 mark of the fourth quarter. The Warriors were unable to record a first down on either of their next two drives, punting on the first and turning the ball over on downs at their own 19 on the second. Adams scored two plays later and the final two points of the game were scored by the home team on a return of the extra point.
It was the second straight season-opening win over Wisconsin Lutheran for the Foresters, who prevailed 38-30 at home last year.
Lake Forest will play its home opener against Grinnell College next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.