Preview: Eureka Welcomes Wisconsin Lutheran Saturday

Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
EUREKA -- The Eureka College football team will look to extend its longest regular-season win streak in program history and open a season 5-0 for the first time since 1991 Saturday afternoon when the Red Devils host new Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference opponent Wisconsin Lutheran for a 4 p.m. homecoming kickoff at Pete FioRito Stadium at McKinzie Field.
 
Saturday's game is the first-ever meeting in football between Eureka and Wisconsin Lutheran.
 
 
ABOUT EUREKA
Eureka is 4-0 to begin the season, rolling to non-conference wins over Knox (49-24), Iowa Wesleyan (38-6) and Finlandia (34-12) before notching a thrilling 31-28 NACC victory over Aurora last weekend at McKinzie Field. The Red Devils are one of 32 unbeaten teams remaining in Division III.
 
The Red Devils boast the nation's 28th-ranked offense, producing 472.5 yards per game. Le'Anthony Reasnover ranks 11th in Division III with 644 rushing yards and a fifth nationally with 211.3 all-purpose yards per game. Drew Barth has been dependable at the quarterback position, going 48-for-71 for 688 yards and six touchdowns through the season's first four games. His NCAA passing efficiency of 174.1 ranks 16th among qualified Division III quarterbacks.
 
Led by senior tackles Ryan Barth and Jordan Lamb, the Eureka offensive line has paved the way for the Red Devils' early success. The Red Devils are on pace to challenge last season's school record of 3,033 rushing yards and join Trinity (Conn.) as the only two teams in the country yet to allow a sack.
 
The Eureka defense allows a NACC-best 300.5 yards per game, including just 62.5 yards per game on the ground. Austin McCarty has a team-high 24 tackles, followed by newcomer Cameron Lucas with 20 total stops. Nine different Red Devils have been credited with a sack, including 2.5 for Lucas and Bryson Smith. Colton Fauver has two of the Red Devils' four interceptions and ranks 62nd nationally with 0.5 interceptions per game.
 
In the midst of a major program renassance that culminated in the program's first-ever NCAA playoffs bid last year, Eureka entered the 2018 season with 86 student-athletes on the roster. Thirty-three letterwinners from last season's championship squad have returned for 10th-year head coach Kurt Barth, the winningest head coach in 127 years of Eureka College football.
 
More than 50 newcomers have joined the program for 2018, another massive recruiting haul for Barth, who regularly welcomes large groups of student-athletes.
 
RED DEVILS DUMP AURORA IN NACC OPENER
Drew Barth threw a pair of touchdown passes, Le'Anthony Reasnover scored twice as part of a 242-yard night and the defense made stops when it counted, driving Eureka to a 31-28 NACC triumph over Aurora last Saturday night at McKinzie Field.
 
Saturday's game was the Red Devils' first as an associate member of the NACC. Eureka also notched its first win over Aurora since 1946, ending a string of 13 consecutive losses in the all-time series that included a 10-year rivalry (1998-07) in the Illini-Badger Football Conference. Additionally, Eureka has won 12 consecutive regular-season games, the longest regular-season win streak in the 115-season history of the program.
 
Reasnover ran for 182 yards and added 60 receiving yards in a night in which the Red Devils never trailed the visitors. Barth directed the EC offense with precision, going 14-for-17 for 168 yards and running for 51 yards on nine attempts.
 
Dom Parks and Josh Kuse caught touchdowns for the Red Devils.
 
Austin McCarty paced the EC defense with 10 total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Bryson Smith and Julius Peyton assisted on a sack and Colton Fauver collected his seventh career interception.
 
ABOUT WISCONSIN LUTHERAN
Wisconsin Lutheran is 1-3 overall but will aim for back-to-back wins this weekend after securing a 26-20 overtime win over Rockford last Saturday. The Warriors dropped all three of their non-conference games to Lake Forest (38-30), Lawrence Tech (30-22) and Hope (53-12).
 
The WLC offense ranks seventh in the NACC and 151st out of 247 ranked Division III teams with 336.3 yards per contest. Senior quarterback Patrick Mathieson is the Warriors' top passer and rusher and his 209.3 yards of total offense per game ranks 119th in the country. Chrystyan Woyak is WLC's top aerial target, ranking fourth in NACC with 239 receiving yards.
 
The Warriors allow 449.8 yards per game, 233.0 of which come from the opponents' ground game. Five different players have made at least 20 tackles, led by 22 from junior defensive back Jody Styczynski. WLC has yet to record an interception in 2018 and has a minus-2 turnover margin.
 
Dr. Dennis Miller, a 1977 graduate of St. Cloud State, is in his 19th season and has been the only head coach in the history of the program. He was the 2014 NACC Co-Coach of the Year. He owns prior coaching experience as the head coach at Northern State (S.D.) and as an assistant at BYU and St. Cloud State.
 
Now in its 19th season since the program was founded in 2000, WLC has a 72-111 all-time record and four winning seasons (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014). The Warriors shared the NACC championship with a 5-1 record and 2014 and have finished fourth or better in the league in each of the last eight seasons.
 
Wisconsin Lutheran College, located in Milwaukee, Wis., was originally founded as a junior college in 1973 and currently has a total enrollment of 1,200. WLC is a charter member of the NACC in all sports.
 
HOMECOMING TRENDS
The Red Devils are in search of their third consecutive victory on homecoming weekend. Eureka is 6-3 in homecoming games under 10th-year head coach Kurt Barth and has won seven of its last 10 homecoming games overall since 2008.
 
In the 39 known homecoming games of the Division III era, the Red Devils are 19-20 overall. EC won five homecoming games in a row from 1991 thourgh 1995, the longest homecoming win streak on record.
 
Eureka College will induct former All-Illini-Badger Football Conference defensive back Ryan Brewster into its Hall of Fame Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. Brewster was a standout defensive back on the gridiron for the Red Devils from 1992 through 1995 during their run as a national NAIA powerhouse. Described by former All-American wide receiver and current head coach Kurt Barth as "the best defender I ever went up against," Brewster was a three-time All-Illini-Badger Football Conference First Team selection, as well as a member of Eureka's 1994 NAIA playoff team and the Red Devils' 1995 league championship team.