Green Knights Move Into Second Place in MWC With Homecoming Win

From Sports Information Director, October 24, 2009 | Football
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE -- St. Norbert College scored on seven of its first nine possessions en route to a 41-28 Midwest Conference win over Ripon College on a brisk Homecoming afternoon at Minahan Stadium.

The Green Knights (7-1, 6-1 MWC), who won their 11th straight Homecoming game, held a 31-7 lead midway through the third quarter to jump ahead in the battle for second place in the MWC. Ripon (5-3, 5-2) lost its fifth-straight game in Minahan Stadium.

St. Norbert took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Green Knights received the opening kickoff and marched 54 yards in nine plays to score on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rob Berger to John Weninger. St. Norbert converted a fourth-and-1 at the Ripon 20 on the series.

The Green Knights picked up a big 27-yard pass play from Berger to Adam Gruett on their next series, which set up a 35-yard Roger Nault field goal with 5:12 left in the quarter.

A promising Ripon drive was halted at the St. Norbert 35 by a fumble on the Red Hawks' next series, but St. Norbert was forced to punt. Ripon appeared stopped deep in its own territory, but Kurt Roeder's 36-yard sprint around the left side on a fake punt on fourth-and-16 from its won 15 set up the Red Hawks in St. Norbert territory. Ripon quarterback Matthew Miller rushed 33 yards for the visitor's first points with 12:03 left in the second quarter.

St. Norbert answered on its next series, getting a 34-yard run by Berger to the Ripon 2. Todd Sheedy's two-yard plunge put St. Norbert ahead 17-7 with 8:18 left in the half.

Ripon fumbled at the St. Norbert 42 on its next series, enabling St. Norbert to score again. The Green Knights faced a fourth-and-10 at the Ripon 22, with Berger finding Brian Peterson for a 21-yard gain to the Ripon 1 with 29 seconds left. Berger hit Nick Glass for a touchdown on the next play for a 24-7 halftime lead.

St. Norbert forced Ripon into a three-and-out series to open the second half. The Green Knights moved 71 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 10-yard run by Weninger for a 31-7 lead with 8:49 left in the third quarter.

Ripon would score a pair of touchdowns sandwiched around a 25-yard field goal by Nault early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 34-21, but Berger's 20-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Gezella with 2:20 left gave St. Norbert a 41-21 lead.

St. Norbert piled up 428 yards of total offense, and held the ball for 31 minutes against Ripon's option attack. Berger had 355 yards of total offense, rushing 11 times for 93 yards and completing 19 of 28 passes for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Weninger rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown and also caught four passes for 26 yards and a score. Logan Krueger hauled in four passes for 69 yards.

Ripon had 362 yards of total offense, with 321 coming on the ground. Miller ran 22 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns, while fullback T.J. Pierce had 90 yards on 18 carries and one score. Miller completed 6 of 16 passes for 41 yards.