WHITEWATER, Wis. - St. Norbert College gave four-time national champion UW-Whitewater all it could handle before succumbing 31-7 in a first-round NCAA Division III Playoffs game at Perkins Stadium.
The Green Knights (8-3) trailed 3-0 until late in the first half and trailed 17-7 heading into the fourth quarter. A pair of Whitewater (11-0) touchdowns in the final 8:34 locked down the win for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion.
Whitewater scored on its first possession of the game, getting a 39-yard field goal from Eric Kindler just 3:04 into the game.
The contest turned into a defensive battle the remainder of the first half. The Warhawks looked to extend their lead late in the first quarter but were turned away on a run on fourth-and-goal from the St. Norbert 1. Early in the second quarter, Whitewater had a first down at the St. Norbert 19 but after a 13-yard loss the Warhawks were forced to punt.
The Green Knights threatened two possessions later, but had a play that reached the Whitewater 22-yard line negated by an illegal motion penalty.
A key play came late in the half. St. Norbert faced second-and-14 at its own 49 when James Tringali was intercepted at the St. Norbert 48. The Warhawks needed just six plays and 55 seconds to score on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Matt Behrendt to Tyler Huber for a 10-0 lead with 11 seconds left before halftime.
In the third quarter, Whitewater moved 99 yards on nine plays to score a touchdown on a Ryan Givens 12-yard run with 7:23 left in the period. The Green Knights had Whitewater in a third-and-4 situation from its own 7 on the series, but a 48-yard pass from Behrendt to Givens got the Warhawks on the move.
St. Norbert countered with its only scoring drive of the game, moving 68 yards in 12 plays capped off by a 7-yard touchdown from Tringali to Brian Fliess with 2:01 left in the quarter to cut the deficit to 17-7.
Whitewater closed things out in the fourth quarter, holding St. Norbert to one yard of total offense in the final 15 minutes. The Warhawks got a 33-yard touchdown pass from Behrendt to Jake Kumerow with 8:34 left, and Behrendt found Derric Junakin on a 4-yard touchdown on fourth down with 36 seconds remaining for the final margin.
St. Norbert mustered 169 yards of total offense. Brad Boockmeier rushed 19 times for 61 yards, and added four catches for 23 yards. Tony Ledvina had five rushes for 25 yards, while Fliess caught four passes for 19 yards and one touchdown. Tringali completed 13 of 25 passes for 74 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Behrendt completed 24 of 38 passes for three touchdowns and 279 yards to lead an offense that totaled 414 yards of total offense. Givens led Whitewater on the ground with 123 yards on 25 carries and one score. Justin Howard caught 11 passes for 72 yards.