Johnnies victorious in home opener
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — Saint John's opened the home
portion of its 2002 schedule with a 56-0 win over Hamline in front
of over 6,200 fans at Clemens Stadium. The game marked the first
collegiate football game played on the new SprinTurf playing field
at Clemens Stadium.
The Johnnies got on the scoreboard five minutes into the game when senior Scott Schmitz caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from senior Ryan Keating. Late in the first quarter, junior Blake Elliott caught a 5-yard pass from Keating for a touchdown and the Johnnies led 14-0 after the first quarter.
The only scoring of the second quarter came at 12:10 when senior Kent Crowley caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Keating.
In the second half, Elliott scored two more touchdowns in the first five minutes of the third quarter as he caught a 37-yard pass from Keating and returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown to give SJU a 35-0 lead. The 86-yard punt return was the third longest in SJU school history. Later in the third quarter, sophomore Lee Clintsman caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from senior Ross Denne.
SJU added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter as sophomore Mike Klobes caught a four-yard pass from sophomore Jordy Ruff for a touchdown and freshman Caleb Turzinski scored from 1 yard out to make the final score 56-0 in favor of the Johnnies. Sophomore Brandon Keller made all eight extra points he attempted in the game.
Overall, SJU out gained Hamline in total offense 474 to 125, including 347 to 84 in the air. The Pipers only had 30 yards total offense in the second half.
Keating was 14-for-25 passing for 182 yards and four touchdown passes for the Johnnies. Elliott had six catches for 92 yards and two touchdown receptions, as well as three punt returns for 98 yards and one touchdown. Junior Josh Nelson was the leading rusher for the Johnnies, with 52 yards on two carries. Keating also rushed the ball 11 times for 46 yards. Senior Jason Pflipsen had two interceptions and five passes defended to lead the SJU defense. Junior Jeremy Hood had nine total tackles and two sacks.
For Hamline, junior Pete Leo carried the ball 13 times for 43 yards, while sophomore Andy Gagnon was 6-for-19 passing for 84 yards. Junior Matt Ruhland had 12 tackles and two tackles for loss for the Pipers.
SJU improved to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the MIAC. Hamline falls to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the MIAC. This is the third consecutive season SJU has shut out Hamline and the Johnnies have now won the last eight meetings between the two MIAC schools. SJU head coach John Gagliardi, celebrating his 50th season at SJU, now has 389 career wins and is 19 wins away from the all-time collegiate record.