Late rally not enough in St. Norbert defeat
BY DAN LUKES
ST. NORBERT COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR
EAU CLAIRE – The St. Norbert College football team mounted a furious rally late in the fourth quarter but dropped a hard-fought 30-23 double-overtime game to UW-Eau Claire in a non-conference game on a beautiful late summer evening at Carson Park.
It marked the second-straight year St. Norbert lost on the road in double overtime to a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foe. Three of the Green Knights last four losses dating back to the start of 2017 have been overtime defeats.
The Green Knights (1-1) trailed 16-6 with 2:13 left when Joe Peterson intercepted an Eau Claire pass and returned it to the St. Norbert 31. St. Norbert needed eight plays to march 69 yards to get to within 16-13 on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Drew Rhodes to Drew Chevarria with 48 seconds to play.
Jeff Allen’s ensuing onside kick bounced perfectly to a leaping Samuel Staehling at the Eau Claire 47. St. Norbert got to the Blugold 12-yard line with six seconds left and Spenser Thompson-Meyers’ 29-yard field goal was true to knot the score 16-16.
Jadon Sackman’s plunge from four yards out put St. Norbert ahead 23-16 after its possession to open overtime. Eau Claire faced a third-and-9 situation at the St. Norbert 24 but an offside penalty moved the Blugolds ahead five yards. Eau Claire would convert and fourth-and-3 and eventually scored on a 9-yard run on a naked bootleg by quarterback Scott Procter to retie the game.
Eau Claire opened the second overtime with possession and needed five plays to score on a 9-yard run by Brian Kulaga to push back ahead. St. Norbert eventually advanced to a third-and-goal at the Eau Claire 2. A run netted no gain and a fourth-down pass was batted down in the end zone to end the game.
St. Norbert’s defense kept the Green Knights in the game early, stiffening three times to hold the Blugolds (2-0) to three Brad Goetsch field goals of 35, 35 and 22 yards for a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter. Eau Claire pulled ahead 16-0 on a 19-yard touchdown run by Kulaga to complete an 89-yard drive with 4:32 left before halftime.
The Green Knights got the first score in the second half when Eau Claire tried jumping a route but came up empty, resulting in Staehling rupturing a reception into a 62-yard touchdown. The two-point try failed leaving the score 16-6 with 8:07 left in the third quarter.
Eau Claire (2-0) outgained St. Norbert 367-319 in total offense. Rhodes completed 15 of 41 passes for 212 yards and two interceptions. Staehling caught three passes for 83 yards, while Chevarria caught three passes for 54 yards. Sackman rushed 11 times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Procter completed 13 of 26 passes for 160 yards for Eau Claire. Kulaga rushed 28 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while Austin Belot ran 17 times for 74 yards.
Editor’s note: The Green Knights are now off until Sept. 22 when they host Grinnell College at 1:00.