GREENVILLE, Ill. – The Greenville College football team ran their all-time best start to 7-0 as they rallied in the second half to defeat Northwestern 37-23. Northwestern led 20-0 midway through the second quarter, but three Jacob Stull touchdown runs in the final 28 minutes allowed the Panthers to maintain their undefeated season and 6-0 conference mark.
The Eagles' couldn't have been much happier with how the ball was rolling in the bulk of the first and second quarters. Northwestern's Luke Couwenhoven scored the game's first points as his eight-yard touchdown grab from Jacob Fletcher and a Kevin Langmade point-after kick gave Northwestern a 7-0 lead midway through the first period. Joe Sutton added a pair of scoring catches of his own in the second quarter. Langmade's third PAT try of the game was blocked.
Greenville answered for the first time after the second Fletcher-Sutton scoring connection as Panthers quarterback Brendan Chambers drove his team downfield in a lengthy 14-play, 85-yard drive of its own, capped by a touchdown pass from Chambers to Michael Green to cut Northwestern's lead to 13.
A quick Panthers strike after Northwestern went three-and-out made that buffer a little less comfortable. Greenville got the ball back on its own 47-yard line, and Chambers hooked up with Nicholas Newton for a 44-yard completion on third down to put the Panthers on the one-yard line with precious seconds remaining in the half. An unsportsmanlike penalty against Greenville pushed the spot of the ball back to the Northwestern 15-yard line, but Chambers then found Nathan Butler in the end zone on Greenville's final play of the half. Josh Frewin's kick attempt was good, and the scoreboard read 20-14 at the break.
A fumble on the Eagles' second play of the second half fell into the Panthers' hands, and Greenville made good on the turnover in Northwestern territory. Stull earned his first touchdown of the day just four plays later and another successful Frewin point-after meant a Panthers lead at 21-20.
Northwestern answered with another scoring drive that ended with Langmade kicking a 32-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Eagles back their lead.
Stull was hardly finished for Greenville as the sophomore found the end zone again just as the page turned to the fourth quarter. Stull added his third score of the day on a 17-yard scamper midway through the same period to put the Panthers up by 14 after Greenville had blocked a Langmade punt and turned it into a safety between the two touchdown runs.
The Panthers' option scheme produced 254 yards on the ground, with Stull picking up 105 on 22 carries. Chambers was 18 of 31 for 173 yards and two TDs with the quarterback throwing an interception.
Greenville returns to the gridiron next week when they travel to Iowa Wesleyan in the first matchup between the two schools in over 20 years.