Monmouth Takes Command of MWC Race With Win Over St. Norbert

From Sports Information Director, October 10, 2009 | Football
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

MONMOUTH, Ill. -- Monmouth College, ranked No. 12 in the NCAA Division III media and coaches' polls, took command of the 2009 Midwest Conference football race with an impressive 52-24 win over St. Norbrt College at April Zorn Memorial Stadium.

The Scots scored points on seven of their first eight possessions to remain unbeaten at 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the MWC. The Green Knights, facing their second ranked team of the season, fell to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the MWC.

St. Norbert forced an Alex Tanney interception on the Scots' first series and had a first down at the Monmouth 21-yard line. The Green Knights had third-and-5 at the 16 when Rob Berger's pass was intercepted by Nathan Van Metre. Monmouth needed just six plays to turn that turnover into points with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Tanney to Matt Shepherd with 10 minutes 27 seconds left in the first quarter.

St. Norbert marched methodically down the field and had a first-and-goal at the Monmouth 4, but had to settle on a 20-yard field goal from Roger Nault. The Green Knights moved 69 yards in 13 plays and burned 6:27 off the clock on the drive.

Following a long kickoff return, Monmouth needed just four plays to move 40 yards to score on a Clay Bricker 1-yard touchdown run with 2:23 left in the first quarter. St. Norbert answered on its next series with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Berger to Jeremy Gezella to cut the deficit to 14-10 with 13:06 left in the first half.

Monmouth scored again however, needing 11 plays to go 50 yards in 2:46, scoring on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Tanney to Keegan Jones. The Green Knights advanced to the Monmouth 24 on their next series but lost the ball on downs.

The Scots then got some separation with a 13-play, 74-yard drive capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Tanney to Nick Wright. Monmouth took a 31-10 lead into halftime when Kyle Tuor connected on a 19-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

Monmouth broke the game open on the second play of the third quarter when Tanney hit Mike Blodgett for a 60-yard touchdown. Berger scored on St. Norbert's next possession on a 32-yard run to cut the deficit to 38-17, but the Scots would score again converting a fake punt on the drive to score on a 1-yard plunge by Tanney to give Monmouth a 45-17 lead with 8:44 left in the third quarter.

Monmouth scored for the final time to take a 52-17 lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tanney to Kyle Wantland with 3:15 left in the third quarter.

St. Norbert scored the game's final points on a 13-play, 89-yard drive in the fourth quarter, with John Weninger scoring on a 1-yard run with 3:54 left to

Monmouth had 29 first downs and 533 yards of total offense. Tanney completed 34 of 47 passes for 36 1 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. Clay Bricker had 114 yards rushing and Shepherd caught 11 passes for 99 yards for the Scots.

St. Norbert registered 22 first downs and 408 yards of total offense. Berger completed 23 of 38 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions, and also rushed 14 times for 75 yards. Weninger led St. Norbert on the ground with 90 yards on 13 carries, while Gezella caught eight passes for 104 yards.

Dan Sjoquist, Drew Oudenhoven and Dustin Gresen all shared the St. Norbert lead in tackles with 11. Oudenhoven registered the game's only quarterback sack, and he also had an interception.