/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
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
Video Box Score
Final
at Dean 25, Becker 10
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
Box Score
Final
MIT 38, at Catholic 21
Video Box Score
Final
Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
Video Box Score
Final
at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Albright 9, Widener 7
Video
Final
Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
Video
Final
Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Williams 24, at Colby 7
Video Box Score
Final
Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
Video Box Score
Final
Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
Video Box Score
Final
Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
Video
Final
at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
Video Box Score
Final
Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
Video Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Union 17, at Curry 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 44, at King's 41
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Western New England 21, Husson 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
Video
Final
at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
Video Box Score
Final
Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
Video Video Box Score
Final - OT
at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
Video Video Preview Box Score
Final
at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Eureka 44, Crown 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
Box Score
Final
at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
Video Box Score
Final
Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
Video Box Score
Final
at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
Video Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
Video Box Score
Final
at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
Video Video Box Score
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
Video Preview Box Score Live stats
Final
at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
Video Box Score
Final
Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Simpson 38, at Coe 33
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Knox 13, Ripon 6
Video Box Score
Final
at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
Box Score
Final
Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
Video Box Score
Final
Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Springfield 42, WPI 10
Recap Photos Box Score Video Video
Final
at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
Video
Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
Video Box Score
Final - OT
at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
Video Preview Box Score
Final
at Averett 35, Methodist 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 28, Centre 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
Video
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
Final - OT
at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
Video Preview Box Score Photos
Final
Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
Video Video Box Score
Final
at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
Box Score Recap
Final
Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
Video Box Score
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
Video Box Score
Final
at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
Video Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
Box Score
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
Video
Final
at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
Photos Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
Video Box Score Recap