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SNC ups win streak to three games

LISLE, Ill. – St. Norbert College held Benedictine University to 41 points under its season scoring average in a 26-12 win in a key Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) game at Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex.

The Green Knights (3-1, 2-0 NACC) were locked in an alley fight through most of the game before pulling away in the fourth quarter. Benedictine (4-1, 2-1) led 9-7 at halftime but the Eagles — who were averaging 53.3 points per game entering play — mustered just a field goal in the second half to spoil their homecoming.

Benedictine looked like it would keep piling up points when it took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 12 plays to score on a 1-yard touchdown run by Nathan Rillo to take a 6-0 lead after a blocked point-after try. The Green Knights promptly responded, needing just four plays to cover 71 yards. They scored on a big 58-yard touchdown pass from Richie Gilles to Parker Lawrence with 8:15 left in the first quarter to take a 7-6 lead.

Neither team would score again until the Green Knights got a stop inside their own 10-yard line. Benedictine converting on a 24-yard field goal from Tanner Mateus with 3:05 left in the second quarter to carry a 9-7 lead into halftime.

Each team had three empty possessions to open the third quarter until Lawrence returned a short punt 26 yards to the Benedictine 33-yard line. Cameron Krueger scored on a 5-yard run with 24 seconds left in the third quarter to cap a six-play drive and retake the lead at 13-9.

St. Norbert’s Justin Benoit forced a Benedictine fumble near midfield with Nolan Wagner recovering at the Eagles’ 46-yard line with 8:29 remaining. The Green Knights scored again on a drive kept alive by a 30-yard pass from Gilles to Lawrence on a third-and-6 when Krueger scored on a run from 2 yards out with 4:14 to go and a 20-9 lead. The Eagles would then mount a drive that led to a first-and-goal at the St. Norbert 3; however, the Green Knights held and the host had to settle for a Mateus 20-yard field goal with 1:41 to go.

The Green Knights would recover the ensuing onside kick, and would score the game’s final points when Gilles found Lawrence on a 25-yard touchdown pass as time expired.

Benedictine outgained St. Norbert 377-336, but the Green Knights had an average starting field position of their own 39 while the Eagles started on average at their own 23. Gilles completed 18 of 29 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Lawrence had a career-high 175 receiving yards on eight catches with two touchdowns. Austin Miller caught five passes for 55 yards.

Benedictine went through three quarterbacks in the game, with the trio completing 24 of 44 passes for 240 yards.

Joe Jung paced the St. Norbert defense with 10 tackles. Michael Creighton had nine tackles, including two tackles-for-loss, one quarterback sack and one forced fumble. Benoit had six stops along with his forced fumble.

St. Norbert will hit the road again at Wisconsin Lutheran College on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. The Green Knights will look to improve to 3-0 in the NACC.

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