St. Norbert 30, Grinnell 28
GRINNELL, Iowa - St. Norbert College needed a defensive stop late to hold off a last-ditch charge down the field by Grinnell College to post a wild 30-28 win in a Midwest Conference game at Rosenbloom Field.
Austin Arts' second interception of Grinnell quarterback Mike McCabe at the St. Norbert 24-yard line with 34 seconds remaining preserved the victory.
The two teams combined for 971 yards of total offense, with St. Norbert gaining 497. Grinnell didn't bother trying to run on the Green Knights, with eight of its 12 rushes coming by McCabe - who posted a whopping 470 yards passing but was stymied by four interceptions. McCabe, who also threw four touchdown passes, completed 34 of 54 passes.
Not to be outdone was St. Norbert senior quarterback Kevin Hansen, who passed for 329 yards in his first collegiate start. Hansen completed 22 of 34 passes for one touchdown and one interception.
Arts put St. Norbert on the scoreboard on the third play from scrimmage when he returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 1 minute 18 seconds into the game.
Grinnell then put together an 11-play 83-yard drive that reached a first-and-goal at the St. Norbert 2. The Pioneers could only move a yard, and were turned away at what turned into a pivotal stop for St. Norbert when Grinnell went for it on fourth-and-goal at the 1 and fell short.
The Green Knights then fashioned a long drive of their own, going 84 yards in 18 plays and taking 8:39 off the clock. Sam Mason's 32-yard field goal was good for a 10-0 lead.
Grinnell answered promptly with a 56-yard touchdown from McCabe to Robert Seer three plays later. Kelsey Davis' two-point pass to Jason Peters was good to make it 10-8.
The Green Knights countered just before halftime on a Zach Klarkowski 6-yard run just 2:19 before halftime. Mason's extra point failed and it was 16-8 at intermission.
St. Norbert jumped out to a 23-8 lead on the first possession of the second half, getting a 3-yard touchdown run from Craig Fagan. The Pioneers came right back and McCabe found Seer for a 5-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.
After St. Norbert had a field goal blocked, McCabe hit Peters on a 9-yard touchdown with 1:06 left in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 23-21. Dan Sjoquist returned the ensuing kickoff 25 yards to the St. Norbert 42, and the Green Knights scored two plays later on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Hansen to Klarkowski and a 30-21 edge.
Grinnell needed 6:30 to go 95 yards in 12 plays, and scored on a 5-yard McCabe pass to Seer with 6:04 remaining. The Green Knights got to the Grinnell 14-yard line after a 53-yard run by Fagan and turned it over to the Pioneers on down at the home team's 12 to set up the final drive.
Fagan rushed for 131 yards on 17 carries for the Green Knights, while Joe Green caught 10 passes for 138 yards. Logan Krueger added seven receptions for 118 yards.
Seer caught 14 passes for a whopping 204 yards and three touchdowns for Grinnell. The Pioneers finished with minus-2 yards rushing.