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Geneva wins Victory Bowl

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2002

MINNEAPOLIS — Geneva College won its fourth consecutive game to close the season and boosted its Victory Bowl record to 3-0 by beating Northwestern (Minn.), 19-9, on Friday in the annual NAIA postseason game at the Metrodome.

“We earned some respect today,” Geneva coach Geno DeMarco said. “We played a pretty tough schedule, and to come away with four victories in a row to end the season says something about this group of young men."

The game is sponsored by the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association.

Kelly Lennox rushed for 171 yards and Josh Mullen 128, as Geneva used a punishing ground attack. The Golden Tornadoes built a 19-0 first-half lead and finished with a 397-290 edge in total yards.

“Our defense played extremely well, and I am surprised that we were able to run the ball as well as we did,” DeMarco said.

Northwestern, ranked No. 22 in NAIA, lost for only the fourth time in the past three seasons.

Geneva (7-5) led 12-0 after the first quarter after Ben Swallow fired a 6-yard touchdown pass to Marko Thomas and Mike Schlereth returned an interception 54 yards. The Golden Tornadoes made it 19-0 on a 46-yard run by Mullen.

Northwestern (8-2) cut the lead to 19-6 in the second quarter on a 36-yard scoring pass from Justin Daggett to Tony Naki. Less than two minutes later, Northwestern got a 26-yard field goal from Steve Gibbs, who also missed from 22 and 35 yards.

Geneva's 13-hour bus ride to the Metrodome was rewarded with the victory, DeMarco said.

“It was an awesome atmosphere,” he said. “For our kids to play the way they did, they should be very proud. It will make the ride home so much more enjoyable.”

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