/seasons/2013/contrib/201309078redk1

Third quarter comeback not enough for Northwestern (Minn.) in loss to St. Olaf

More news about: Northwestern (Minn.)

NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Playing under the name University of Northwestern for the first time, the Eagles made the short trip south to face St. Olaf College on Saturday to start the 2013 season. UNW used a third quarter comeback attempt to nearly draw even with the host-Oles, but St. Olaf scored 16 unanswered points in the final nine minutes to win 37-18.

Northwestern, playing without quarterback Josh Balzer (Shorview, Minn./Mounds View) under center for the first time since the 2009 season, needed a little time to get used to its new personnel before finding a rhythm after halftime. In the meantime, St. Olaf came out strong in the first quarter with a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter. Oles quarterback Nate Penz immediately took advantage of the size difference between the Eagles cornerbacks and his top target in 6-5, 230-pound receiver Jake Schmiesing as the two connected for a pair of lengthy scoring plays that put the home team up 14-0.

Tight end Daniel Schultz (Eden Prairie, Minn.) gave UNW its first score of the year five minutes into the second quarter when he caught a nine-yard pass from new starting QB Jacob Fletcher (Moorhead, Minn./Park Christian)Kevin Langmade (Prescott, Wis./Prescott)'s point-after-touchdown attempt failed, but the Eagles were on the board.

With Northwestern punting on its next offensive possession, St. Olaf needed just one play to strike again as Kelvy Coney ran for a 47-yard score that ultimately put the Oles up 21-6. Neither team was able to find the end zone in the remaining five combined drives of the half.

Fletcher, who didn't play at all in 2012 and completed 16 of 23 passes in his sophomore season of 2011, found himself scrambling behind the line often throughout the first half as St. Olaf's defensive front was able to close the pocket rather quickly. The junior completed eight of his 16 first half attempts including a nice over-the-shoulder toss toJoe Sutton (Minneapolis, Minn./Benilde St. Margaret's) midway through the second quarter. While Fletcher was getting comfortable over the course of the initial 30 minutes, Northwestern's rushing attack wasn't as the Eagles had amassed just six yards on 14 attempts.

A change came in the third quarter as the Eagles began to gain some momentum. UNW took its opening possession of the second half inside the St. Olaf five-yard line, but a pair of offensive penalties left Northwestern with a fourth-and-10 situation from the Oles 16 that resulted in an incomplete pass. Positivity continued to emerge for the Eagles though as the defense forced St. Olaf into three-and-out scenarios three consecutive times. UNW took advantage of its next opportunity on offense when Caleb Couwenhoven (Blaine, Minn./Fridley) caught a nine yard touchdown pass from Fletcher to cap off a nine-play, 37-yard drive. Fletcher was able to create more time and space for himself to make plays in the second half as he intentionally wandered out of the box to fend off pursuing defenders.

Northwestern found the end zone again early in the fourth period when Josh Sinnen (Waconia, Minn./Waconia)crossed the goal line on a nine-yard scamper, but the PAT attempt failed for the third time, leaving the Eagles short of St. Olaf on the scoreboard at 21-18. UNW's consecutive scores flipped a switch for the Oles, who needed just 2:05 and five plays to score their fourth touchdown of the game. A fumble recovery by St. Olaf's Ethan Lunning set up another rather quick scoring drive for the Oles, giving the Eagles' non-conference opponent a 35-18 buffer. To make matters worse for the Purple and Gold, Northwestern's final offensive opportunity ended in a safety as the long snap leading to a punt went over Langmade's head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety to account for the 37-18 final score.

UNW finished the game having rushed 35 attempts for 71 yards, a 2.0 yards per carry average, with 69 of them coming in the third quarter. In the same 15 minute period, the Eagles defense held St. Olaf to -16 rushing yards and just one yard passing. Northwestern, who earned 20 first downs in the game compared to the Oles' 15, controlled possession of the football for 33 minutes while allowing St. Olaf to convert just three of 12 third down opportunities.

A blocked 36-yard field goal during the Eagles' second drive of the game was just the start of Northwestern's special teams woes. In addition to the three failed extra point attempts, two UNW kickoffs went out of bounds, allowing St. Olaf to start from their own 40-yard line.

Fletcher finished 24 of 44 for 214 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his starting debut, connecting with seven different teammates along the way. Couwenhoven and Sutton each caught seven passes, with Couwenhoven's 84 yards and a TD leading the team. Josh Sinnen (Waconia, Minn./Waconia) rushed 18 times for 61 yards.

Defensively for the Eagles, Nathan Van Zee (Moose Lake, Minn./Moose Lake) had a team-high six tackles, followed by five from Cameron Cox (Becker, Minn./Becker) and Cody Kielsa (Howard Lake, Minn./Rogers)Austin Warner (Fridley, Minn./Fridley) picked off Penz in the second quarter after DJ Pyle (Tamarac, Fla./Calvary Christian) forced a fumble to abruptly end St. Olaf's second drive of the game. Penz connected on 19 of his 33 passing attempts for 265 yards in the game. After his two first half scores, Schmiesing added a late-game touchdown to finish with three on the day in addition to his 150 yards receiving.

Northwestern (0-1) returns home next Saturday to face Eureka College in both teams' Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) opening game. Eureka beat Knox College 21-17 on Saturday to retain possession of the Lincoln Bowl trophy. Kickoff at Reynolds Field is scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Massachusetts Maritime at Framingham State
Video Preview Live stats
12:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Juniata
Live stats
12:00 PM
Becker at Dean
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Salisbury at TCNJ
Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
MIT at Catholic
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Maine Maritime
Video Preview
12:00 PM
Endicott at Hobart
Video Video Preview Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Nichols at Morrisville State
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Widener at Albright
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Montclair State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Bethany at Westminster (Pa.)
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bowdoin
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Williams at Colby
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Amherst at Hamilton
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Ursinus at Moravian
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Trinity (Conn.) at Bates
Video Preview Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Brevard at LaGrange
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Geneva at Thiel
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Plymouth State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Southern Virginia
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Union at Curry
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Carnegie Mellon
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Lycoming at King's
Video Live stats Audio Audio Tickets
1:00 PM
Husson at Western New England
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wooster at DePauw
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Allegheny at Ohio Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Wilkes at Misericordia
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Lebanon Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at N.C. Wesleyan
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Ferrum
Video Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Gettysburg at McDaniel
Video Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Buffalo State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Susquehanna
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Denison
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Northwestern (Minn.)
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Crown at Eureka
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Northern
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Defiance at Rose-Hulman
Video Preview Live stats
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Marietta
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Franklin at Bluffton
Preview Live stats
1:30 PM
Anderson at Hanover
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Manchester
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Worcester State at Westfield State
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Coast Guard at Norwich
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Fitchburg State
Live stats
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
Video Preview Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
Video Video Live stats Tickets
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Sewanee at Millsaps
Video Audio Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Rhodes
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Greenville at Martin Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Chapman at Trinity (Texas)
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
Video Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Washington U. at Wartburg
Video Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Hamline at Gustavus Adolphus
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Carleton
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Central
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Simpson at Coe
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Grinnell
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Ripon at Knox
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at MacMurray
Video
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Macalester
Video Live stats
2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
2:30 PM
WPI at Springfield
Video Live stats
3:00 PM
Beloit at Cornell
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Hartwick
Audio
4:00 PM
Carroll at UW-La Crosse
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at St. Scholastica
Video Live stats
4:30 PM
UW-Eau Claire at George Fox
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio
5:00 PM
Salve Regina at Western Connecticut
Video Live stats
5:00 PM
Adrian at UW-Stevens Point
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Tufts at Wesleyan
Video Preview Live stats
6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Centre at Berry
Video Live stats Audio Tickets
6:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
Video Video
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
Box Score Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
Video Preview Live stats
7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
Audio
7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
Video Preview Live stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Arizona Christian at Whittier
Video Live stats
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
Video Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio Audio
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
Video Preview Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
Video Video Live stats Tickets
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio