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Defense Rises to the Fore for Green Knights at Illinois College

From Sports Information Director, September 26, 2015 | Football
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. - St. Norbert College's defense did not allow a point as the Green Knights remained unbeaten with a hard-fought 21-2 win over Illinois College in a non-conference game at England Stadium.

The Green Knights (3-0) led 7-0 at halftime and carried a 7-2 lead into the fourth quarter after the Blueboys sacked St. Norbert quarterback Jack Becker in the end zone for their only points of the game. St. Norbert fashioned two long touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to ice the win.

St. Norbert took the opening kickoff and advanced to the Illinois College 24-yard line before stalling. Spenser Thompson-Meyers' 42-yard field goal attempt was wide right with 8:47 left in the period. The Blueboys then had a long drive of their own, setting up a first-and-goal situation at the St. Norbert 3-yard line. A short run and consecutive quarterback sacks pushed Illinois College back to the 11-yard line, and Logan Uyetake's 27-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Jacob Finegan with 34 seconds left in the period.

The game remained 0-0 until late in the second quarter. Frank Laterza intercepted Brady Huber near midfield and returned it to the Illinois College 32-yard line with 3:08 left before halftime. Becker's 15-yard pass to Elijah Fort opened the drive, and five consecutive Brad Boockmeier rushes climaxed with a touchdown with 43 seconds left for a 7-0 lead at intermission.

Illinois College took the first possession of the second half and marched to the St. Norbert 28 before Ryan Grandlic intercepted a Huber aerial to turn away the scoring threat. Both teams traded punts twice until St. Norbert was pinned at its own 3 with 2:09 left in the period. On the first play of the possession, Becker was sacked in the end zone by Meeko Reddick and Tyree Washington to cut the lead to 7-2.

Following the free kick, the Blueboys could only muster one first down before pinning St. Norbert at its own 10. A pair of personal fouls on Illinois College helped St. Norbert get into Blueboys' territory, and Becker finished the possession with a 26-yard touchdown run with 10:48 to go.

St. Norbert forced another Illinois College punt before taking possession at its own 21 with 8:31 left. The Green Knights melted 6:28 off the clock on a 12-play, 79-yard drive, capped by an Elijah Fort 1-yard plunge with 2:08 to go.

St. Norbert outgained Illinois College 291-289 in total offense. Becker completed 14 of 19 passes for 130 yards. Boockmeier gained 96 yards rushing on 22 carries to top the rushing attack. Brett Olson caught four passes for 58 yards and Zach Reeves made four receptions for 27 yards.

Huber completed 21 of 37 passes for 196 yards and three interceptions for the Blueboys. Bo Davis gained 49 yards rushing on 10 carries.

Grandlic led the St. Norbert defense with 10 tackles, while Tommy Gonzales had two quarterback sacks. Grandlic, Laterza and R.J. Callow all had interceptions. Laterza had three passes defensed in addition to his interception.