SNC gets revenge on Lakeland
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – After three games, the St. Norbert College defense is proving it’s here to stay.
For the third consecutive contest, the Green Knights’ defense allowed 14 points or less.
The end result in Week 3 was a 35-12 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference victory over Lakeland University on Sept. 24 at Schneider Stadium.
With their no-huddle offense, the Muskies ran 33 more plays than St. Norbert and had more total offense, but the Green Knights’ defense didn’t allow many big plays.
The defense allowed only two explosive plays (20 yards or more) in the entire game.
“I’m proud of the guys,” St. Norbert coach Dan McCarty said. “We had two weeks of preparation, so it was good to play. I don’t particularly care for bye weeks because it takes you out of your rhythm — it took forever to get to Saturday. We played well in all three phases of the game.”
The Green Knights lost to the Muskies last season, 40-8.
“Last year’s loss didn’t sit well with us,” McCarty said. “For us to come back, clean that up and get the win was nice.”
Before this week, St. Norbert lost a tight game to Ripon College, 13-10, in Week 1 before posting a 21-14 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Week 2.
“Our defense starts with our new coordinator, Charlie Drewek,” McCarty said. “He puts together great game plans, and the guys are understanding. We’re also playing lots of guys — that’s huge. Our guys are locked in, playing fast and know their assignments. We’re happy with things, but there’s still room for improvement.”
Parker Violette and Tyler McCabe paced the Green Knights’ defense with 12 and 11 tackles, respectively.
John Boeke and Jax Carroll each had a sack, while Joe Jung forced a fumble and recorded an interception.
After the Muskies went up 6-0 near the end of the first quarter, Justin Benoit blocked the extra point attempt.
St. Norbert answered right back with a 71-yard drive as time expired in the opening quarter.
John Trinh scored from two yards out for a 7-6 lead after Dan Simon’s extra point.
On the first play of the series, Richie Gilles hit Cameron Krueger on a 39-yard hookup.
The Green Knights put two more scores on the board in the second quarter.
Delton Zuleger rushed for a 3-yard touchdown early in the quarter before Gilles hit Parker Lawrence in the left corner of the end zone with an 8-yard strike with less than six minutes remaining before halftime.
Lakeland drew to within 21-12 at the break with a late score.
In the third quarter, Lawrence, a Hortonville graduate, caught his second touchdown of the afternoon from Gilles — this time, from 21 yards out.
After Simon’s extra point, St. Norbert led 28-12.
It was Lawrence’s first game of the season.
“Parker brings another dimension to our offense,” McCarty said. “We didn’t throw the ball much in the second half because we wanted to run the ball and eat the clock.”
Gilles closed the scoring about five minutes into the fourth quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Gilles, a Sun Prairie graduate, was 11-for-17 passing for 215 yards with two touchdown tosses.
“It’s exciting to beat Lakeland after they beat us last year,” said Gilles, who is a senior. “Our defense is locked down and forcing turnovers and three-and-outs. Offensively, it was nice to have Parker back. The offensive line opened some nice holes for our running backs — they ran hard.”
The Green Knights’ five touchdown drives were all 63 yards or more in length.
St. Norbert rushed for 170 yards as a team and was led by Zuleger’s 101 yards on 19 carries. Trinh added 55 yards on 16 carries.
Krueger nabbed five receptions for 116 yards to lead the Green Knights.
Lakeland’s 394 yards of offense were offset by its 93 yards in penalties.
The Green Knights won’t return home again until Saturday, Oct. 15, for their homecoming game against Concordia University Wisconsin.
St. Norbert has back-to-back road games against Benedictine University on Oct. 1 and Wisconsin Lutheran College on Oct. 8.