September 7, 2013

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