GALESBURG, Ill. - Beloit College's second trip to the Banta Bowl at Knox College this season wasn't much more fun than the first.
After dropping the first game, 45-21, in their Midwest Conference opener in September, the Buccaneers fell 27-11 Saturday afternoon during the league's championship weekend in which North and South division teams are matched up according to their positions in the regular-season standings.
Beloit's defense continued its late-season surge, forcing a fumble midway through the first quarter that senior linebacker Andrei Prikhodko recovered at the Beloit 45. The offense then drove to the Knox 11 before stalling and Alonso Casillas booted a 30-yard field goal.
The Bucs' 3-0 lead didn't last long. Beloit's defense forced another fumble at midfield, but the 3-6 Prairie Fire's Tyrese Reese scored on an unusual play. Hunter Lee caught a pass from Graham over the middle, fumbled and Tyrese Reed scooped up the ball and went 50 yards for a score.
Graham completed 8-of-13 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Brendan Powers with a 17-yard TD pass to make it 14-3 at the half. He also hit Ty Straw with a 44-yard TD pass in the third quarter. Andrew Ledezma added a 3-yard TD run in the fourth to make it 27-3.
The Bucs (1-9) finally put together an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive. They converted on a fourth-and-3 thanks to an interference call on a pass from Alex Alvarez to Tyler Assiff. Nano Reyes crashed into the end zone from the 1. Beloit went for two and Alvarez connected with Assiff to make it 27-11.
The Bucs finished with 157 yards in total offense while Knox had 305, The Prairie Fire were 7-of-13 on third down conversions while Beloit was just 3-of-14.
Alvarez was 11-for-29 for 73 yards. Asiff caught five passes for 59 yards.
On defense, Jeff Vazquez led Beloit with 10 tackles, including eight solos. Prikhodko had seven tackles.
• SATURDAY'S BOXSCORE: KNOX 27, BELOIT COLLEGE 11.
Beloit College....3 0 0 8 - 11
Knox College......7 7 7 8 - 27
BC -- Casillas, 30, field goal
KC -- Reed, 50, fumble recovery after pass from Graham (Lade kick)
KC -- Powers, 17, pass from Graham (Lade kick)
KC -- Straw, 44, pass from Graham (Lade kick)
BC -- Reyes, 1, run (Assiff pass from Alvarez)
TEAM STATS: First downs - BC 14, KC 16. Rushing - BC 33-84, KC 45-160. Passing - BC 73, KC 145. Passes - BC 28-11-0, KC 13-8-0. Fumbles - BC 1-1, KC 2-1. Punts - BC 6-35.0, KC 4-39.0. Penalties - BC 5-26, KC 13-112.
INDIVIDUAL STATS: Rushing - BC, N. Reyes 6-29, Hansen 8-20, Smith-Dukes 11-17, Alvarez 5-15, Young 3-3. KC, Auger 16-53, Jackson 6-37, Straw 10-35, Graham 9-31, Ledezma 1-3, Cly 3-1. Passing - BC, Alvarez 28-11-0, 73. KC, Graham 13-8-0, 145. Receiving - BC, Assiff 5-59, N. Reyes 2-13, Roman 2-4, Hansen 1-2, Young 1-(-5). KC, Reed 1-50, Straw 1-44, Shutter 4-17, Powers 1-17, Lee 1-9, Rolph-Jones 1-8.