Knox Turned Back by Monmouth in Bid to Reclaim Bronze Turkey

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The Prairie Fire were unable to get on the board until the fourth quarter and fell to Monmouth College 37-10 in the 125th Bronze Turkey game on November 16 at the Knosher Bowl.

Senior tailback Derek Mortensen (Crystal Lake, IL, Crystal Lake South), who became the all-time leader rusher at Knox earlier this season, capped off his fine career with a big game and three more school records.

Mortensen ran for 218 yards and a touchdown and is now the all-time leader in career 200-yard rushing games (4), consecutive games with a rushing touchdown (8), and rushing attempts in a season (297).  He set or tied 20 rushing and offensive records over the past two seasons.

Monmouth (5-5, 5-4 MWC), however, took command in first quarter with a pair of touchdowns 3:20 apart for a 14-0 lead.  The first was an 11-yard pass play at the 10:43 mark, followed by a 21-yard run by the Scots' all-time rushing leader – Trey Yocum – with 3:11 to play in the opening stanza.

Meanwhile, the Prairie Fire (1-9, 1-8 MWC) punted on their first four possessions before moving the football deep in Monmouth territory late in the first half.

Junior cornerback Chaz Benton (Galesburg, IL, Galesburg) picked off a pass by Monmouth quarterback Tanner Matlick at the Knox 17 yard line with 3:55 left in the second quarter.  The Prairie Fire ran 12 plays for 68 yards and had the football on the Scot 12 yard line when Monmouth intercepted a pass by sophomore quarterback Luke Oosterbaan (Palos Heights, IL, Marist) with just 34 seconds remaining to end the threat.

Monmouth outscored Knox 7-0 in the second quarter on a 4-yard TD pass with 8:45 on the clock and led 21-0 at halftime.

The Scots dominated first half time of possession 19:48 to 10:12.

The Prairie Fire moved the football into Monmouth territory on two of their three third quarter possessions, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard after being forced to punt twice and turning the ball over on downs.

The Fighting Scots extended their lead to 31-0 on a 50-yard run by Yocum (8:16) and a 26-yard field goal (2:54) going into the fourth quarter.  Monmouth scored its last touchdown on a 6-yard pass play with 10:25 to play in the game for a 37-0 advantage.

Mortensen prevented a shutout with a 5-yard touchdown run that capped a 10-play, 54-yard drive with 6:15 in the contest.  Senior Phil Tallman (Park Ridge, IL, Maine South) kicked through the extra point.

Tallman gave the Knox contingent something to cheer about when he drilled a 51-yard field goal on the last play of the game to account for the final points. 

The kick established a new career-long for Tallman and is the second-longest conventional field goal in school history behind Joe Metzka's make from 53 yards in 1995.

The win marked the 15th straight for Monmouth against Knox and increased the Fighting Scots' lead in the all-time series to 65-50-10.

Monmouth outgained the Prairie Fire 584 to 315 in total yards, including 436 to 228 on the ground.  The Fighting Scots had the ball nearly 38 minutes of the game and ran 22 more plays (82-60).

Knox sophomore linebacker Mitch Weissenhofer (Homewood, IL, Marian Catholic) led all defensive players with 14 tackles, including one for a loss.  His 116 tackles on the season ranks #10 in school history.  Junior safety Will Ruzicka (St. Louis, MO, St. Mary's) was next with nine stops in the game.

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