After two road losses at Washington University and Lawrence University, the Prairie Fire looked forward to coming home. But the familiar turf was just as unkind.
St. Norbert (1-2, 1-1) dominated Knox (0-3, 0-2) on the ground and in the air on their way to a decisive 49-0 victory. Even though St. Norbert entered the game winless, Knox head coach Chad Eisele said he knew the Knights were better than their record.
“We knew they would have a lot of confidence in their ability to win in this conference,” said Eisele. “We knew they would come in ready to play.”
The Prairie Fire, unable to muster any offense, trailed 14-0 early in the first quarter. About to go down three touchdowns, Knox forced a turnover in the red zone, as senior Lucas Motta ripped the ball from St. Norbert’s Jacob Dault and took off down the sideline. Motta’s helmet flew off after he gained possession, forcing the referee to blow the whistle and end the play.
Knox failed to capitalize, and St. Norbert went up three touchdowns on a ten-yard run by Rob Berger. St. Norbert then reached into their bag of tricks for a successful on-side kick. After tacking on two more touchdowns, St. Norbert took a 35-0 lead into the break.
Though the game was out of reach, the Prairie Fire did not relent. The team’s effort impressed Eisele, still looking for his first win as head coach of the Prairie Fire.
“Our guys give great effort,” Eisele said. “Look at that goal-line stand we made in the fourth quarter. We were down 49-0, and our guys were out there and refused to let them score.”
Eisele insists the problem is not effort. The team just needs to believe.
“We’ve got to understand the game is 60 minutes long. We have to play with consistency. That’s something, to this point, we haven’t been able to do.”
The Prairie Fire will look for their first victory this weekend at Beloit College (1-2, 1-1). Coach Eisele knows it will be a challenge.
“Beloit starts more seniors than we have on our entire roster. They’re a good, senior-led team. That’s a challenge for us, in itself. And now we have to go on the road for the third time in four games. We just need to be ready from the get-go.”