September 28, 2013

North Central Defense Stands Tall, Gives Coach Thorne 100th Win

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

After the offense turned heads in its first two wins of the 2013 season, the North Central College football team turned to its defense to seal the deal on Saturday, as the Cardinals recorded a historic 27-7 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

The win was the 100th for head coach John Thorne, who became the second-fastest coach in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) to hit triple digits in the victory column.

The Cardinals' defensive unit was tested early and often, but continually found ways to keep Stevens Point (2-1) out of the end zone. The Pointers advanced into North Central territory six times and were turned away on the first five. The Cardinals had built up a 20-point lead before the visitors secured their lone score midway through the fourth period.

"Our game plan was great this week," said North Central linebacker Nick Slezak, who finished with a career-high 14 tackles. "Coach (Mike) Murray did a great job of sending pressure. We all bought into it this week and it showed on the field."

After averaging more than 600 yards of offense in their first two contests, the Cardinals got the game started with a bang by lighting up the scoreboard on the first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Spencer Stanek fired a pass to the left side to wideout Demarco Tillman, who outraced the UWSP defense for a 75-yard touchdown catch. 

The Pointers threatened to counter with a score of their own, driving 56 yards in 15 plays and advancing to the North Central 12-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs. The Cardinals followed with their longest drive of the day, an 18-play, 71-yard jaunt, but came up empty when a 34-yard field goal attempt was off the mark.

The teams traded punts before the Cardinals' defense came up with the first of three interceptions, as linebacker Michael Monterrubio picked off UWSP quarterback Mitch Beau's pass at the North Central 33.

On the ensuing play, Stanek found Chad O'Kane for a 32-yard completion, and after two runs by Zack Pattat, O'Kane came up big again by hauling in a a 23-yard TD catch in the front right corner of the end zone. The Cardinals headed into halftime with a 13-0 advantage, owning a 278-166 advantage in total yards.

Monterrubio came up big on the first drive of the second half as well, ending an 11-play, 65-yard Pointer possession by intercepting Beau's pass at the North Central goal line.

"All the pressure by the defensive line and the coverage by the secondary was huge," Slezak said, "and Michael Monterrubio came up with two big interceptions to bail us out."

The Cardinals were forced to punt on their next possession, but got the ball back three plays later when Connor Douglas intercepted a third-down pass and returned it 36 yards to the Pointer five-yard line. Stanek lofted a TD pass to A.J. Thomas on the next play to extend the Cardinals' lead to 20-0 with 4:43 left in the third period. 

The North Central defense forced the Pointers to turn the ball over on downs once again at the Cardinals' 12 eearly in the fourth quarter, but the visitors broke up the shutout on their next drive after a short punt left UWSP just 32 yards from the goal line. Beau found Logan Taylor for a nine-yard TD pass with 7:56 to play. 

The Cardinals answered with an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Ryne Rezac and capped off by an eight-yard scoring pass to Thomas with 4:03 to go. Thomas has caught three of North Central's nine scoring passes in the early going this season.

Despite a disadvantage in time of possession by more than five minutes, the Cardinals outgained UWSP, 405-329. Stanek established a career high with 364 passing yards, completing 27 of 37 attempts, and found Peter Sorenson nine times for 98 yards. Pattat was the team's leading rusher with 31 yards on eight carries.

Shane Dierking put up eight tackles and Monterrubio totaled seven, while cornerback Jordan Dean stepped up in support of the team's run defense with three tackles for loss.

North Central opens CCIW play next Saturday at Elmhurst College (1-2). Kickoff at Langhorst Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
Box Score
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
Box Score
Final
MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
Box Score
Final
at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
Box Score
Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
Box Score
Final
at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
Box Score
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
Box Score
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
Box Score
Final
at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
Box Score
Final
Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
Box Score
Final
at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
Box Score
Final
at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
Box Score
Final
at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
Box Score
Final
at Springfield 28, WPI 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Denison 45, Wooster 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
Final
at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
Final
at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
Box Score
Final
Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
Box Score
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
Box Score
Final
at Centre 49, Chicago 27
Box Score
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
Box Score Recap
Final
Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
Box Score
Final
at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
Box Score
Final
at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
Box Score
Final
Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
Box Score
Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
Box Score
Final
Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
Box Score
Final
at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
Box Score
Final
at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
Final
Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Final
Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
Box Score
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
Final
at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
Box Score
Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
Final
Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
Box Score
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
Box Score
Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
Box Score
Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
Box Score
Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
Box Score Recap
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap