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St. Norbert Starts Opgenorth Era With Win Over Carthage

From Sports Information Director, September 6, 2014 | Football
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

KENOSHA - St. Norbert College picked up a hard-fought win in Steve Opgenorth's first game at the helm of the Green Knights with a 25-13 win over Carthage College in a non-conference game at Art Keller Field.

The Green Knights (1-0) earned their first win over a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin foe since a 13-7 win over Carroll University on Sept. 21, 1963. Opgenorth is the first St. Norbert football coach to win is first game since Don La Violette claimed a 24-14 win over Monmouth College on Sept. 10, 1983.

St. Norbert, which won its season opener for the first time since 2009, fell behind 13-0 after the first quarter. The Red Men (0-1) scored with 6:56 left in the first quarter on a 2-yard run by Jonnie Evans Jr., and again with 34 seconds left on a 4-yard pass from Nick Anzelmo to Jamahl Wright.

The Green Knights took advantage of a short punt early in the second quarter to score its first points. St. Norbert finished a six-play, 49-yard drive on an 11-yard touchdown pass from James Tringali to Zach Reeves with 9:21 left before halftime. Tringali found Ryan Messer for seven yards on a fourth-and-1 conversion on the previous play.

St. Norbert knotted the score at 13-13 when Elijah Fort returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown just 1:58 into the second half. Randy Hill's extra-point attempt was partially blocked to prevent the Green Knights from taking the lead.

The Green Knights swung momentum their way for good late in the third quarter. On a second-and-18 situation from the Carthage 29, Zach Reeves took a reverse and sprinted to the end zone virtually untouched for a 19-13 edge with 1:33 left in the period. The Green Knights again converted a fourth down earlier in the drive, this time a fourth-and-5 on a 9-yard pass from Tringali to Messer.

Carthage drove to the St. Norbert 20 early in the fourth quarter, with the Red Men being stopped on fourth-and-3 about one foot short of the first down. The Green Knights took over on their own 18 and marched 82 yards in eight players to take the lead.

St. Norbert benefited from a Carthage roughing-the-passer foul on a third-down incompletion. On the next play, Carthage was flagged for offsides and another personal foul. The officiating crew marked off 25 yards on the two penalties to put St. Norbert at the Carthage 40. Two players later, reserve quarterback J.T. Crosby rushed 34 yards to the Carthage 1-yard line. Three players later, Crosby scored on a 2-yard keeper to salt the game away with a 25-13 lead with 2:30 to go.

Carthage outgained St. Norbert 308-266 in total offense. The Red Men gained 102 of their yards in the first quarter, when they were 6-for-6 on third-down conversions. St. Norbert held Carthage to 3 of 14 on third-down chances the rest of the game.

Fort led the Green Knights with 53 yards rushing on nine carries, and finished with 211 all-purpose yards. Tringali completed 18 of 28 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Reeves hauled in six passes for 65 yards.

Anzelmo led Carthage with 293 yards passing, going 28-for-46 with one touchdown with one interception. Hines finished with 10 catches for 110 yards. The Red Men totaled just 15 net yards rushing.

Austin Prusha led the St. Norbert defense with eight tackles - six going for losses - and three quarterback sacks. Dan Egan had seven tackles and one interception. Matt Petersilka, Joe Lorenz and Zach Klarkowski all finished with seven tackles apiece.