KENOSHA -- The Millikin football team lost at Carthage College Saturday 45-27, snapping a four-game CCIW winning streak. 

The Red Men jumped out early, grabbing a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and added a field goal to lead 17-6 midway through the second quarter.

Millikin rallied with two straight touchdowns to take a 19-17 lead with 1:55 left in the half.  

Quarterback Nicco Stepina connected with Jordan Smith for the second time in the first half on a one-yard touchdown pass. 

On Carthage's next possession, Millikin's Demetreeus Loper scooped up a Red Men fumble and raced 45 yards for a touchdown. It was senior Isaiah Blumenshine hard hit that forced the fumble.

Then, the game then turned in favor of the Red Men.

Carthage scored a touchdown just before the half and controlled the third quarter by scoring three times to blow open the game.

"We just didn't play well on defense, in any way shape or form," Millikin coach Dan Gritti said. "We could do all right on first and second down but on third down we just couldn't get off the field. Carthage was 9-of-10 at one point on third down conversions."

Millikin finished the game with 355 yards of total offense, but allowed Carthage to gain 605 yards. 

Three Millikin turnovers were also a factor.

"We turned the ball over too much on offense and that's the ball game," Gritti said. 

"It was an all-around horrific performance by our team. We really showed our youth and inexperience today. We expected our defense performance to just it to change on its own but it didn't."

Stepina finished 15-of-31 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Wide receiver Gerald Perry had seven catches for 148 yards. 

Jazontae Howard added 63 rushing yards for the Big Blue.

Carthage's Kyle Friberg was 25-of-31 passing for 375 yards and three touchdowns. Manny Jones had nine catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

"We are back to the drawing board and with our focus on Elmhurst next week," Gritti said.

Both teams are now 6-2, 4-2 on the season.

Millikin will host Elmhurst College next Saturday at 1 p.m.


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