September 28, 2013

North Central Defense Stands Tall, Gives Coach Thorne 100th Win

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

After the offense turned heads in its first two wins of the 2013 season, the North Central College football team turned to its defense to seal the deal on Saturday, as the Cardinals recorded a historic 27-7 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

The win was the 100th for head coach John Thorne, who became the second-fastest coach in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) to hit triple digits in the victory column.

The Cardinals' defensive unit was tested early and often, but continually found ways to keep Stevens Point (2-1) out of the end zone. The Pointers advanced into North Central territory six times and were turned away on the first five. The Cardinals had built up a 20-point lead before the visitors secured their lone score midway through the fourth period.

"Our game plan was great this week," said North Central linebacker Nick Slezak, who finished with a career-high 14 tackles. "Coach (Mike) Murray did a great job of sending pressure. We all bought into it this week and it showed on the field."

After averaging more than 600 yards of offense in their first two contests, the Cardinals got the game started with a bang by lighting up the scoreboard on the first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Spencer Stanek fired a pass to the left side to wideout Demarco Tillman, who outraced the UWSP defense for a 75-yard touchdown catch. 

The Pointers threatened to counter with a score of their own, driving 56 yards in 15 plays and advancing to the North Central 12-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs. The Cardinals followed with their longest drive of the day, an 18-play, 71-yard jaunt, but came up empty when a 34-yard field goal attempt was off the mark.

The teams traded punts before the Cardinals' defense came up with the first of three interceptions, as linebacker Michael Monterrubio picked off UWSP quarterback Mitch Beau's pass at the North Central 33.

On the ensuing play, Stanek found Chad O'Kane for a 32-yard completion, and after two runs by Zack Pattat, O'Kane came up big again by hauling in a a 23-yard TD catch in the front right corner of the end zone. The Cardinals headed into halftime with a 13-0 advantage, owning a 278-166 advantage in total yards.

Monterrubio came up big on the first drive of the second half as well, ending an 11-play, 65-yard Pointer possession by intercepting Beau's pass at the North Central goal line.

"All the pressure by the defensive line and the coverage by the secondary was huge," Slezak said, "and Michael Monterrubio came up with two big interceptions to bail us out."

The Cardinals were forced to punt on their next possession, but got the ball back three plays later when Connor Douglas intercepted a third-down pass and returned it 36 yards to the Pointer five-yard line. Stanek lofted a TD pass to A.J. Thomas on the next play to extend the Cardinals' lead to 20-0 with 4:43 left in the third period. 

The North Central defense forced the Pointers to turn the ball over on downs once again at the Cardinals' 12 eearly in the fourth quarter, but the visitors broke up the shutout on their next drive after a short punt left UWSP just 32 yards from the goal line. Beau found Logan Taylor for a nine-yard TD pass with 7:56 to play. 

The Cardinals answered with an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Ryne Rezac and capped off by an eight-yard scoring pass to Thomas with 4:03 to go. Thomas has caught three of North Central's nine scoring passes in the early going this season.

Despite a disadvantage in time of possession by more than five minutes, the Cardinals outgained UWSP, 405-329. Stanek established a career high with 364 passing yards, completing 27 of 37 attempts, and found Peter Sorenson nine times for 98 yards. Pattat was the team's leading rusher with 31 yards on eight carries.

Shane Dierking put up eight tackles and Monterrubio totaled seven, while cornerback Jordan Dean stepped up in support of the team's run defense with three tackles for loss.

North Central opens CCIW play next Saturday at Elmhurst College (1-2). Kickoff at Langhorst Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Sep. 30: All times Eastern
Final
Randolph-Macon 24, at Shenandoah 19
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Final
at Washington and Lee 49, Emory and Henry 23
Box Score
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
3rd - 14:56
20 Massachusetts Maritime
0 Fitchburg State
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3rd - 12:51
21 Becker
12 Gallaudet
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8:50 3rd
17 Merchant Marine
14 Hobart
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HALF
20 RPI
6 Rochester
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3rd - 14:55
14 Endicott
7 MIT
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3rd - 15:00
10 Juniata
38 Johns Hopkins
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1:00 PM
Montclair State at William Paterson
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2nd - 12:41
0 Hamilton
14 Wesleyan
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2nd - 10:00
0 Bates
3 Tufts
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1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
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2nd - 11:42
7 Middlebury
0 Colby
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1st - 13:14
0 Amherst
0 Bowdoin
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1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Kean
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Start of 2nd
0 Kenyon
17 DePauw
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1:00 PM
Ferrum at Greensboro
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1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Methodist
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1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Wilkes
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0 Anna Maria
17 Castleton
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0 Moravian
9 Ursinus
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1:00 PM
Stevenson at Misericordia
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13:05 left 2nd quarter
0 Springfield
21 St. Lawrence
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1:00 PM
Thomas More at Westminster (Pa.)
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1st - 02:13
14 Alma
7 Kalamazoo
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1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Dickinson
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14 Wesley
3 Southern Virginia
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7 Adrian
7 Albion
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13 Husson
3 SUNY-Maritime
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14 Apprentice
0 Alfred State
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6 TCNJ
14 Salisbury
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Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
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Salve Regina at Curry
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0 McDaniel
14 Gettysburg
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7 Denison
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21 Alfred
0 Morrisville State
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Western New England at Nichols
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King's at Albright
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0 Catholic
35 Guilford
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14 Muhlenberg
10 Susquehanna
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14 Huntingdon
21 N.C. Wesleyan
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Minnesota-Morris at MacMurray
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10 Birmingham-Southern
0 Chicago
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Westminster (Mo.) at Crown
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1:30 PM
Oberlin at Allegheny
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0 Mount Ida
0 Norwich
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1st - 11:01
0 Trinity (Conn.)
0 Williams
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12:43, 1st
0 Baldwin Wallace
6 Marietta
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0 Muskingum
6 Heidelberg
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1st - 10:11
7 Union
0 WPI
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1st - 11:01
7 John Carroll
0 Wilmington
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Ohio Northern
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1st - 12:54
7 Franklin
0 Manchester
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1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Hanover
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1:30 PM
Widener at Lycoming
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1st - 12:48
7 Defiance
7 Earlham
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2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Trine
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2:00 PM
Capital at Otterbein
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2:00 PM
Plymouth State at Westfield State
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2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Wooster
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2:00 PM
Anderson at Rose-Hulman
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2:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater
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Concordia (Wis.) at Lakeland
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Rockford at Benedictine
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Aurora at Wisconsin Lutheran
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Hamline at Carleton
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2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
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2:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Hardin-Simmons
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UW-Stevens Point at UW-Eau Claire
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2:00 PM
Beloit at Lawrence
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2:00 PM
Cornell at Monmouth
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Wartburg at Coe
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Dubuque at Central
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Wheaton (Ill.) at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Augustana
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2:00 PM
Macalester at Ripon
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2:00 PM
Grinnell at Illinois College
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2:00 PM
Howard Payne at Louisiana College
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2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at UW-La Crosse
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2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
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2:10 PM
Augsburg at St. Thomas
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3:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Thiel
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3:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Morthland
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3:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Martin Luther
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3:00 PM
Carthage at Carroll
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3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
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4:00 PM
Willamette at Puget Sound
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4:00 PM
Whittier at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:00 PM
Pacific at Pacific Lutheran
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4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
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5:00 PM
Framingham State at Mass-Dartmouth
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5:00 PM
Averett at LaGrange
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5:00 PM
Whitworth at George Fox
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6:00 PM
Olivet at Hope
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6:00 PM
Bethany at Carnegie Mellon
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6:00 PM
St. Vincent at Case Western Reserve
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6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
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6:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Western Connecticut
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7:00 PM
Berry at Washington U.
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7:00 PM
North Park at Millikin
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10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Chapman
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La Verne at Cal Lutheran
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Occidental at Redlands
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Oct. 1: All times Eastern
8:50 3rd
17 Merchant Marine
14 Hobart
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3rd - 15:00
10 Juniata
38 Johns Hopkins
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2nd - 11:18
6 TCNJ
14 Salisbury
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1:00 PM
Thomas More at Westminster (Pa.)
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1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
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1:00 PM
Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
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1:00 PM
Stevenson at Misericordia
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13:05 left 2nd quarter
0 Springfield
21 St. Lawrence
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2nd - 14:50
14 Huntingdon
21 N.C. Wesleyan
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Ohio Northern
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1st - 12:54
7 Franklin
0 Manchester
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2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Wooster
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2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-Platteville
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2:00 PM
St. John's at Bethel
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2:00 PM
McMurry at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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2:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Hardin-Simmons
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2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
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2:00 PM
Dubuque at Central
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2:10 PM
Augsburg at St. Thomas
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3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
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4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
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6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
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