LAKE FOREST, Ill. - St. Norbert College closed its regular season with a deflating 31-3 loss at Lake Forest College at Farwell Field, but its season will continue for at least another week thanks to some help.
The Green Knights (8-2, 8-1 MWC) lost control of their own destiny in regard to the Midwest Conference's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Playoffs, but thanks to Illinois College's 23-21 loss to Carroll University, St. Norbert will be making its 11th appearance in the national tournament.
The 32-team field for the NCAA Playoffs will be announced at 5 p.m. CST Sunday at NCAA.com.
St. Norbert took an early 3-0 lead when it marched 51 yards on 13 plays on its second possession. After having a first-and-goal at the Lake Forest 4-yard line, the Green Knights settled for a 23-yard Randy Hill field goal.
Three plays later, Lake Forest connected on a 78-yard touchdown pass from Mike Lewis to George Vidas for a 7-3 lead.
The Green Knights fell behind 14-3 with 6:19 left in the second quarter when Pat Clark intercepted a James Tringali pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. Lake Forest then took command of the game when it scored with 11 seconds remaining before halftime. The Foresters fumbled on their last two plays of a 79-yard scoring drive, but recovered both - with Mike Peters recovering his own fumble in the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown reception.
Lake Forest (8-2, 7-2) salted the game away with a 32-yard field goal by Jon Gurchak in the third quarter and a 10-yard touchdown from Lewis to Greg Alonso in the fourth quarter.
St. Norbert managed just 181 yards of total offense for the game, with 75 coming on its last possession. Brad Boockmeier had 47 yards rushing on 13 carries and caught five passes for 24 yards. Tringali finished 13-for-34 with 113 yards with one interception, and was sacked five times.
Lake Forest finished with 334 yards of offense, led mostly by the passing of Lewis, who completed 16 of 22 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Vidas caught four passes for 158 yards. The Foresters rushed for just 35 yards.