Mike McCabe ’13 (pictured) passed for the second-most yards in school history while nearly leading the Grinnell College football team to its first victory over St. Norbert College since 1998.
But in the end, the visiting Green Knights held on for a 30-28 Midwest Conference victory at Rosenbloom Field.
Despite the loss, Grinnell tallied 13 more points and gained 160 yards more than the Green Knights’ defensive average this season.
McCabe passed for 470 yards, a total only eclipsed by Troy Dougherty’s 510-yard effort in 1994 and equaling another performance by Dougherty in 1998. He completed 34-of-54 passes with four touchdowns, with the 34 completions ranking third-best in Pioneer history.
Robert Seer ’12 caught 14 passes for 204 yards, the latter figure ranking fourth in school history. He had three scores.
Grinnell, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, fell to 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the league. St. Norbert is 5-3 overall and 5-2 in the MWC.
Drew Blumberg ’13 led Grinnell’s defense with 13 tackles, while Kelsey Davis ’12 had eight and Seth Gustafson ’14, Jeremy Wiles ’14 and Brian Taylor ’13 getting seven each. Andrew Clark ’14 added an interception.
St. Norbert grabbed a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when it returned an interception for a score, and made it 10-0 with a field goal early in the second frame.
Grinnell roared back, though, as McCabe hit Seer with a 56-yard scoring strike with 11:36 left in the second frame. Davis passed to Jason Peters ’14 for the two-point conversion.
However, the Green Knights scored again but missed the extra point to make it 16-8 at intermission.
St. Norbert took the opening kickoff of the second half and scored quickly, making it 23-8.
Grinnell followed with two scores, a 5-yard pass from McCabe to Seer at the 7:23 mark of the third period and a 9-yarder from McCabe to Peters at the 1:06 mark. Granera had the extra point after the first score and the two-pointer was no good after the second, making it 23-21.
St. Norbert managed to score prior to the end of the period, though, for a 30-21 edge.
The Pioneers went to work in the fourth period, putting together a 12-play, 95-yard drive that culminated with a 5-yard TD pass from McCabe to Seer with 6:04 left. Granera’s extra point made it 30-28.
Grinnell stopped St. Norbert on its next drive and took over at its own 12-yard line with 2:18 left in the game.
The Pioneers drove down the field, thanks in part to a 22-yard pass from McCabe to Peters. Grinnell got as deep as St. Norbert’s 34-yard line before a penalty and sack pushed the hosts back. That was followed by an interception, and St. Norbert ran out the clock from there.
Grinnell will take on Illinois College at 1 p.m. next Saturday in Jacksonville, Ill.