Junior running back Colin Tobin had 80 rushing yards in the
second half, including the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter,
as host St. Thomas edged Bethel, 10-6, in a defensive battle of
unbeatens Saturday at O'Shaughnessy Stadium.
A Homecoming crowd of 6,050 watched the No. 4-ranked Tommies (8-0 overall, 6-0 MIAC) climb to 8-0 in football for the first time since 1956.
The 20th-ranked Royals (6-1, 4-1) got 141 rushing yards from
senior Logan Flannery in 26 carries, but were held of the
scoreboard over the final 24:00. The Toms forced two punts, held on
fourth down, and had a takeaway on BU's last four drives of the
St. Thomas defenders made two pickoffs in UST territory on the game that were instrumental. Brady Ervin had his 15th career pickoff in the first quarter at the BU 14-yard-line, and Tommy Becker pulled down a tipped ball and kept his feet in bounds near midfield with 2:02 to play in the game.
Bethel also had an 8:00, 14-play drive to start the game result
in a shanked field-goal try and no points.
Bethel won the statistics battle but lost the war. BU held the ball for nearly eight minutes longer than St. Thomas, had a 321-253 advantage in total yards and a 19-14 edge in first downs. But the Royals held the lead for only 3:38 on the game.
The Tommies opened the scoring on its first possession as Fritz Waldvogel's 60-yard catch on first down set up Tim Albright's career long 36-yard field goal midway through the first quarter.
The score remained 3-0 at halftime. Bethel took a 6-3 lead six minutes into the second half on a 52-yard run by Kevin Lindh -- BU's 21st rushing touchdown of the season. But the Tommies' Becker blocked the point-after kick. St. Thomas regained the lead 10-6 on the next series, driving 57 yards in nine plays, with Tobin running it in from the five-yard line -- just the second rushing TD allowed this season by Bethel. It was the 20th career touchdown for Tobin, who finished with 86 yards – 80 in the second half.
Waldvogel finished with 151 all-purpose yards on 10
touches. Freshman punter Garrett Maloney averaged 42.3 yards on six
punts to help UST win the field-position battle.
St. Thomas goes on the road next Saturday to St. Peter for a 1 p.m. game against Gustavus Adolphus, which lost 33-13 to St. John's in Collegeville. UST can secure a share of its first MIAC football title since 1990 -- plus the automatic berth into the NCAA playoffs -- with one win or one Bethel loss.