DE PERE, Wis. — St. Norbert College opened Howard Kolstad
Field at Donald J. Schneider Stadium with great fanfare, but an
experienced University of St. Thomas team claimed a 40-7
St. Norbert (0-1) played its first game in Schneider Stadium after 71 years in Minahan Stadium, and drew a standing-room-only crowd of 3,349 - its largest crowd since the late 1960s.
St. Thomas (1-0), ranked fifth in the pre-season D3football.com Top 25 and a national quarterfinalist a year ago, opened the game with a 12-play, 92-yard drive to take a 6-0 lead. The Tommies converted two short third downs on the drive and scored on Dakota Tracy's 1-yard quarterback sneak.
A long punt return set up St. Thomas' next score, a Ben Wartman 1-yard run for a 13-0 advantage. The Tommies boosted their lead to 20-0 when Brady Ervin returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown with 8 minutes 29 seconds left in the second quarter.
Dale Bishop intercepted a pass at the St. Thomas 41 with 3:01 left in the second quarter to set up the Green Knights only score. Rob Berger found Brian Stoppenbach for a 3-yard pass on a fourth-and-3, and the two connected again for a 6-yard touchdown 50 seconds before intermission and a 20-7 halftime deficit.
Tim Albright's 26-yard field goal was all the points St. Thomas could generate in the third quarter, but the Tommies wore down the Green Knights for 17 fourth-quarter points.
The Tommies rushed for 256 yards and had 246 yards of total offense. Wartman rushed 26 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns, while Tracy added 81 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
St. Norbert had 196 yards of total offense, with Joe Green's three receptions for 64 yards highlighting the afternoon. Defensively, Ben Nantell had 12 tackles, while Josh Vanden Heuvel had 11 total tackles - all solos.