Ron Ernst has coached 263 games during his time at the helm of the Ripon College football team.

   So when he says that last week Saturday’s game “certainly is in the top five,” that’s saying something.

   Trailing the University of Chicago 29-14 entering the fourth quarter, the Red Hawks scored 22 unanswered points to defeat the Maroons 36-29 at Ingalls Field.

   The win improves their record to 2-2 in conference and 3-5 overall.

   “Going into the fourth quarter, we’re down by 15 points and really had not shown much that would give anybody the confidence that we had done this in the past; we really hadn’t proven anything,” Ernst said about the comeback. “I think the big thing that I really talked to our kids about last week after the Macalester game and all week was. ‘What was going to define us as a football team? What defines you as a man? What will people say about us or you when it’s all over said and done with?’ We really challenged them to try to define what our identity was going to be. They really took that to heart and we had a great week of practice and I really think our kids took a step ... to defining what this team can be all about.”

   The rally began late in the third quarter, when Ripon began a 13-play, 73-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard quarterback keeper by Julian Patton two minutes into the final quarter.

   That score, which cut the deficit to 29-21, breathed life into the Red Hawks and their defense.

   “That’s when we really started to see what we were capable of and the offense just did a great job,” Ernst said. “That’s a long ways to go and we hung onto the ball for a long time, so a lot of credit to the offense and those kids for getting that done the way that they did. It gave the defense a chance to rest a little bit, and then we just kind of fed of each other. The offense made some huge big plays, the defense made some huge big plays. The offense helped the defense and the defense helped the offense, which is the way it is supposed to be.”

Read the full story, which includes information about an opportunistic "D" in the fourth quarter. as well as how the Red Hawks scored their game-winning touchdown, in the Nov. 2, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.