St. Norbert Battles No. 5 St. Thomas Tough But Falls 20-7

From Sports Information Director, September 3, 2011 | Football
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

ST. PAUL, Minn. - St. Norbert College faced a tough opener in the University of St. Thomas but battled the fifth-ranked team in the nation to a 20-7 loss in a non-conference game at O'Shaughnessy Stadium.

The Green Knights (0-1) led 7-0 and trailed 13-7 at halftime, but couldn't score again to draw closer. A third-quarter touchdown by St. Thomas (1-0), ranked No. 5 by D3football.com, effectively salted the game away.

St. Norbert scored on its second possession of the game, after forcing a fumble and taking over at the Tommies' 36-yard line. Mike Fabrizio hit Joe Green for a 19-yard touchdown on third-and-8 for the game's first score with 7 minutes 32 seconds left in the first period.

St. Thomas got a short field early in the second quarter, and needed just six plays to cover 40 yards to square the game at 7-7. The Tommies converted a fourth-and-5 and the St. Norbert 35 and two plays later Dakota Tracy's 2-yard run tied the game with 10:53 left before halftime.

Later in the second quarter, St. Norbert fumbled on the St. Thomas 38 with the hosts recovering. Tracy then hit Fritz Waldvogel for a 62-yard touchdown on the next play from scrimmage for a 13-7 lead with 4:51 left.

St. Norbert's Sam Mason missed a 41-yard field goal wide left on the opening drive of the second half, and the score remained 13-8 until late in the third quarter. St. Thomas' Jack Gavin returned an interception to the St. Norbert 26, and the Tommies needed four plays to score on a 1-yard Tracy run with 3:46 left in the period for the game's final points.

St. Norbert held possession for 34:19 but had just 180 yards of total offense. The Green Knights were 3 of 18 on third-down conversions and had to punt 10 times. St. Norbert netted 32 yards on the ground, with Adam Gruett getting 39 yards on 18 carries. Fabrizio, making his first collegiate start, completed 13 of 28 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He was also sacked five times. Green caught four passes for 51 yards and one score.

St. Thomas had 402 yards of total offense, but was held to just 55 yards rushing. Tracy passed for 336 yards for the Tommies, completing 18 of 34 passes for one touchdown with two interceptions. Waldvogel caught seven passes for 144 yards and one score.

Defensively, St. Norbert was led by Adam Nitsche and Ben Nantell, who had eight tackles apiece. Ben Lombardi had three tackles-for-loss, and Justin Johnson snared two interceptions in his first collegiate game.