DE PERE, Wis. - St. Norbert College turned in a dominating defensive performance en route to a 20-10 win over Lake Forest College in a Midwest Conference game on Kolstad Field at Schneider Stadium.
The win, coupled with Carroll University's 49-14 win over Illinois College, sends the Green Knights (8-2, 8-1) MWC to the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the 10th time. The win also gave St. Norbert its 14th Midwest Conference title, which was shared with the Foresters - whose season ended 8-2, 8-1.
The NCAA will announce its pairings for the 32-team tournament at 5 p.m. CST on Sunday. St. Norbert is not expected to host a first-round game.
St. Norbert took advantage of outstanding field position in the first quarter, averaging starting at the Lake Forest 32-yard line in the period, to jump out to a 17-0 lead. Lake Forest was held to a three-and-out on the game's opening possession, and St. Norbert's Joe Green returned the punt 51 yards to the Lake Forest 1. Austin Williams plunged in on the next play for a 7-0 edge 2 minutes 23 seconds into the game.
The Green Knights held the Foresters without a first down on the next possession and an 18-yard punt gave St. Norbert the ball at the Foresters' 42-yard line. St. Norbert marched 42 yards in 11 plays, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass from James Tringali to Green for a 14-0 lead with 6:45 left in the first quarter.
Austin Arts intercepted a Pete Scaffidi pass to end Lake Forest's next possession, with the ball returned to the St. Norbert 29. Randy Hill connected on a 37-yard field goal five plays later for a 17-0 lead with 2:24 left in the first quarter.
Lake Forest's best scoring chance in the first half came on its last possession of the second quarter, but Jon Gurchak missed a 40-yard field goal wide left just before halftime to keep the intermission score 17-0.
Gurchak got Lake Forest on the board late in the third quarter with a 38-yard field goal with 3:01 left in the period. St. Norbert put the game away with 7:59 remaining when Hill's 33-yard field goal gave the Green Knights a 20-3 lead.
Lake Forest got a consolation touchdown with 54 seconds left on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Pete Scaffidi to Rocky Al-Mutawa.
St. Norbert finished with 176 yards of total offense, with 85 of those coming in the first quarter. The Green Knights had 37 yards rushing on 39 attempts. Tringali was 13-for-21 for 110 yards and one touchdown pass, while Green caught eight passes for 75 yards and one touchdown.
The Foresters fared worse on the ground, finishing with seven net rushing yards on 27 carries. Scaffidi, who was sacked five times, completed 25 of 47 passes for 234 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Austin Sobey caught eight passes for 113 yards, while Al Mitchell caught nine passes for 77 yards for the Foresters, who finished with 241 yards of total offense.
Petr Bohacek led St. Norbert defensively, posting a team-high eight tackles with three tackles-for-loss and 2 1/2 quarterback sacks. Anthony Parker added seven tackles with one pass defensed.