St. Norbert Rallies From 20-0 Halftime Deficit to Stun Carroll

From Sports Information Director, October 17, 2009 | Football
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

WAUKESHA -- St. Norbert College rallied from a 20-0 halftime deficit to stun host Carroll University 28-20 in a Midwest Conference contest at Schneider Stadium.

The Green Knights scored touchdowns on their first four second-half possessions to charge past the Pioneers, and in the process head coach Jim Purtill became the school's career football wins leader with 97, passing Howard Kolstad's 96 wins from 1960-78.

St. Norbert had just 83 yards of total offense at halftime before opening the second half with a 14-play, 69-yard drive to get on the scoreboard. The Green Knights converted two fourth downs on the series, one on a fake punt by Rob Berger and a 14-yard pass on fourth-and-5 from Berger to Jeremy Gezella. John Weninger's four-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to 20-7.

The Green Knights held Carroll on the next series and scored on their next series, again needed a fourth-down run from Berger to keep the 14-play, 80-yard drive alive. Berger's touchdown run from the Carroll 1 with 13 minutes 23 seconds left moved St. Norbert to within 20-14.

Carroll then ran the ball three times on its next series and punted, giving St. Norbert the ball at its own 24-yard line. Berger hit Gezella on a go route for a 76-yard touchdown pass to give the Green Knights a 21-20 lead with 10:58 left.

St. Norbert stopped the Pioneers' next series when Drew Oudenhoven's interception of a Chris Casper pass gave the Green Knights the ball at their own 43 with 8:08 to go. The Green Knights methodically advanced downfield, again getting a fourth-down conversion to maintain possession. Weninger's one-yard touchdown run with 2:38 left capped off a 12-play, 57-yard drive that chewed up 5:34 off the clock.

Carroll's final series was stopped when Dan Hansmann intercepted Casper at the Pioneer 43 with 1:33 left.

The Pioneers got off to a strong started when it took the game's opening possession 64 yards on 13 plays, using 7:55 off the clock, finished by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Casper to Matt Cain. The Green Knights fumbled on their first possession, and Casper found Tim Nass on a 36-yard touchdown pass on the Pioneers' first play to take a 14-0 lead almost 10 minutes into the game.

Carroll had a chance to put the game out of reach in the second quarter but had two drives stall inside the St. Norbert 10, settling for field goals of 27 and 24 yards by Ryan O'Laire.

Carroll had the ball for 21:34 in the first half, but St. Norbert turned the time of possession around in the second half with the Green Knights holding the ball 19:27 out of the final 30 minutes.

St. Norbert ended up outgaining Carroll in total offense 370-338, and had 186 yards rushing. The Green Knights converted on 4 of 5 fourth-down conversions in the game. Berger completed 14 of 26 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown and rushed 14 times for 98 yards. Weninger had 23 carries for 75 yards, while Gezella hauled in seven catches for 136 yards.

Casper finished with 213 yards on 18 of 26 passing with two touchdowns and three interceptions after going 13-for-16 through the air in the first half. Drew Volkmann rushed for 95 yards on 22 carries, while Nass had 10 receptions for 133 yards.