GRINNELL, Iowa - St. Norbert College used two fourth-quarter touchdowns to slip past Grinnell College 20-12 in a Midwest Conference game at Rosenbloom Field.
St. Norbert's win sets up a showdown for the Midwest Conference title next weekend. The Green Knights (7-2, 7-1 MWC) will play Lake Forest College (8-1, 8-0 MWC) in the regular-season finale at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Schneider Stadium in De Pere. St. Norbert can clinch a share of its 14th MWC title since joining the league for football in 1984 with a win. Lake Forest can win its first outright MWC title since 1983 with a win and clinch a berth in the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
The Green Knights found themselves trailing 12-7 at the end of three quarters, but took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Brad Boockmeier on fourth-and-goal. The point-after try was missed to hold St. Norbert's lead at 13-12 with 13:40 left to play.
Grinnell's next three possessions could not penetrate St. Norbert territory, and the Green Knights took over at their own 45 with 5:21 remaining. St. Norbert faced third-and-11 with 3:05 to go at the Grinnell 41 when James Tringali hit Brian Fliess streaking down the right sideline for a 41-yard touchdown pass. Randy Hill's extra point made it 20-12 with 2:58 left.
Grinnell's next possession was a four-and-out, and the Pioneers got one last chance with 0.2 seconds left, but a short pass was incomplete to end the game.
St. Norbert outgained Grinnell 136-42 in the decisive fourth quarter, and the Green Knights had the ball for 10:26 of the final 15 minutes.
Grinnell (2-7, 2-6) got early life when Kevin Hwang returned a St. Norbert fumble 22 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was missed to give Grinnell a 6-0 lead with 6:07 left in the first quarter.
Neither team's offense could muster any scoring until the Green Knights scored just before halftime. Tringali found a seam to find a streaking Joe Green, who ran 62 yards untouched for the touchdown just 1:48 before halftime. St. Norbert carried its 7-6 lead into intermission.
Grinnell took its first second-half possession to the St. Norbert 24-yard line before stalling, and the Pioneers' Graham Fisher made a 40-yard field goal for a 9-7 lead with 8:11 left in the third quarter. St. Norbert went three-and-out on its next series, and a blocked punt gave Grinnell prime field position at the St. Norbert 20.
The Pioneers had first-and-goal at the St. Norbert 5, but three incomplete passes forced Grinnell to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Fisher with 6:15 left in the quarter. The Pioneers would not run another play in St. Norbert territory for the rest of the game.
St. Norbert outgained Grinnell 371-176 and had 15 first downs to the Pioneers' nine. Boockmeier led the Green Knights on the ground with 15 rushes for 101 yards and one touchdown. Austin Williams had 23 carries for 62 yards, as the Green Knights rushed for 193 yards on 49 attempts. Tringali completed 15 of 24 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Green caught there passes for 69 yards and one touchdown, while Fliess caught three passes for 58 yards and one touchdown.
Sam Poulos completed 15 of 36 passes for 127 yards for Grinnell, and added 29 yards rushing on 16 carries while being sacked six times.