November 20, 2010

North Central Cruises to First-Round Win

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

Scoring on their first nine possessions, the North Central College football team leaped into the postseason on Saturday. The Cardinals came out firing on all cylinders, dismantling St. Norbert College (Wis.), 57-7, in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

North Central (11-0), seeded first in the North Region heading into the contest, saw its offense carve up the eighth-seeded Green Knights for 612 yards of total offense, the fourth-highest total in school history and the most the Cardinals have ever compiled in a postseason game. 

The Cardinals needed less than two minutes to establish a lead they would not relinquish. After three straight runs by Jordan Tassio to open the game's first drive, quarterback Spencer Stanek fired his first pass attempt toward tight end Kyle Fiedorowicz, who shook off a pair of would-be tacklers and rambled 41 yards for a touchdown. After the North Central defense forced a punt, Stanek connected with Fiedorowicz for a 45-yard gain that left the Cardinals knocking on the door at the St. Norbert four-yard line. A three-yard TD toss to Jeff Grunwald doubled the home team's advantage to 14-0 with 8:08 remaining in the opening period.

The Green Knights' next drive came to an end at the North Central 29, as Josh McLeod picked off his seventh pass of the season. A series of running plays by Stanek and Nick Kukuc moved the Cardinals into the visitors' half of the field. On second down at the St. Norbert 37, Stanek scurried away from an oncoming pass rush and uncorked a deep pass to Manny Juarez, who eluded a pair of defenders and advanced to the end zone for a 20-0 Cardinal lead.

North Central came up with a second interception on the ensuing drive, as Scott Skuteris made a diving grab at the 50-yard line early in the second period. The Cardinals drove to the 14 and got a 31-yard field goal from Nick Dace, extending the advantage to 23-0. 

Following a Green Knights punt, the Cardinals put together a nine-play, 59-yard scoring jaunt that culminated with a one-yard TD run by Tassio. With 48 seconds left in the half, the Cardinals' offense took the field once again and wound up having just enough time to visit the end zone once again, as Stanek completed a 49-yard TD pass to Joe Antonacci with just 11 seconds on the clock. North Central headed into halftime with a 36-0 edge.

A 38-yard run by Tassio jumpstarted North Central's first drive of the second half, which ended with a one-yard scoring run by Kukuc. Denzel Thompson was the pivotal figure in the following Cardinal possession, carrying four times for 32 yards and scoring on a six-yard TD run. 

Brad Crackel, who came on midway through the third period to see his first action since Oct. 30 at Elmhurst, authored the final North Central score. Facing third-and-long at the St. Norbert 45, Crackel threw a screen pass to Nick Hicks, who darted down the right sideline for the touchdown. 

The Green Knights (7-4) scored on their final possession of the contest, traveling 63 yards on nine plays and scoring on a one-yard run by quarterback Rob Berger.

Tassio finished with 87 rushing yards on 10 carries, while Thompson ran 15 times for 77 yards and Kukuc gained 66 yards on 10 carries. Stanek completed 12 of 14 passes for 262 yards, while Crackel was 4 for 5 for 71 yards. Juarez finished as the Cardinals' top receiver with 67 yards on four catches.

Joey Michals was North Central's top tackler with seven tackles, while Shane Dierking also contributed an interception. The Cardinals limited St. Norbert to 271 yards, 143 of which came in the fourth period.

Berger completed 15 of 33 passes for 192 yards and was the Green Knights' top rusher with 65 yards on 12 carries. Ben Nantell was St. Norbert's leading tackler with nine stops.

The Cardinals host Ohio Northern University (10-1) next week in the second round, with kickoff scheduled for 12:00 noon. The Polar Bears defeated Wittenberg University (Ohio), 37-14, in the opening round.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
Video
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
Audio
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Audio
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
McPherson at Nebraska Wesleyan
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
7:00 PM
Denison at Marietta
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
8:30 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
Video
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Audio
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats