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Justin Butterfield connected with Tyler Ostrander for a 28-yard touchdown pass with less than four minutes remaining in the game, lifting Carroll (Wis.) University to a 24-17 win over the Lakeland College football team Saturday afternoon in both teams' season opener.
The Pioneers scored 10 points in the final six minutes of the game, upending the Muskies' bid to win their first season opener since 2005. Lakeland led 17-14 heading into the fourth quarter, but ultimately was done in by three turnovers as Carroll defeated the Muskies in the season opener for the third straight year.
Lakeland was stout defensively, limiting Carroll to 279 yards of offense. The Muskies also got a huge defensive play to take the lead late in the third quarter, as Ben Manske (Jr.-Neenah, Wis.) intercepted Ostrander and returned the ball 74 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-14.
The game turned midway through the fourth quarter. After a William Yelverton (Fr.-Oconomowoc, Wis.) punt traveled just 16 yards to set up Carroll with field position at midfield, the Pioneers went 47 yards in 10 plays and tied the score at 17-17 on a 20-yard field goal by Tyler Raymaker with 5:59 left.
Carroll got the ball back two plays following the ensuing kickoff, as Dylan Van Straten (Jr.-Shiocton, Wis.) was intercepted by Zach Rast at the Muskies' 34-yard line with 5:07 left in the game. The Pioneers would score three plays later when on third down when Butterfield lofted a pass to Ostrander, who was ruled to have gotten a foot inbounds just inside the pylon at the goal line.
Lakeland mounted one final challenge, converting one fourth down and getting as far as the Carroll 39 before the drive ended on a pair of sacks, including one by Josh Zank on fourth and 21.
The Muskies gained just 153 yards of offense in the game, including 48 in the second half. Lakeland did score first in the game, getting the ball after an interception by Evan Dieringer (Sr.-Germantown, Wis.) and going 42 yards in nine plays on its first possession with Van Straten scoring on a quarterback sneak to make it 7-0.
Carroll responded with a pair of touchdown drives in the first quarter to take the lead. Butterfield found Matt Sklander wide open in the secondary on a busted coverage for a 49-yard score to tie the game, and Aaron White caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Butterfield to make it 14-7 with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
The Muskie defense would stiffen, allowing just 30 yards total over the second and third quarters. Lakeland would get closer late in the second quarter when Yelverton drove a 40-yard field goal into the wind to make it 14-10, and the Muskies took the lead when Manske recorded his first collegiate interception and returned it all the way.
Kendrick Burks (So.-Pontiac, Mich.) led Lakeland's offense with 57 yards rushing on 22 carries. Chris Jaskulski (Jr.-Greenfield, Wis.) caught two passes for 43 yards, but Van Straten struggled, completing just six of 23 passes for 87 yards and also rushing 19 times for a net of -1 yard.
Bruce Romagnoli (Sr.-Iron Mountain, Mich.) led the Muskie defense with 12 tackles. Dieringer added eight tackles and Patrick Johnson (So.-Pontiac, Mich.) made five tackles and broke up two passes.
Butterfield completed 14 of 27 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns for Carroll. Daniel Arden rushed 15 times for 82 yards and Ostrander posted six catches for 76 yards to lead the Pioneer receivers.
Lakeland is idle next week and next will be in action Sept. 15 against Kalamazoo College. Game time at Taylor Field will be 1 p.m.