MORRIS, Minn. – The St. Scholastica football team held the University of Minnesota-Morris Cougars to a record 154 yards of total offense on its way to 28-7 triumph on Saturday at Big Cat Field.
The 154 yards of total offense and 82 yards passing are fewest given up by a Saints defense in the program's history. The Cougars (4-3, 4-2 UMAC) completed just four passes on the afternoon. The Saints (4-3, 2-2 UMAC) match last year's win total with three more games left in the regular season.
The first quarter would go scoreless as each team failed fourth down conversions in each other's territory and the Cougars were forced to a three-and-out on its next possession.
The Saints then took the ensuing possession and went 53 yards on nine plays as Alex Thiry ran it in from three yards out on the opening play of the second quarter. Taylor McGinnis' extra point gave the Saints a 7-0 lead.
Morris would tie the game up with 43 seconds left in the first half when Derrick Foss connected with Daniel Camacho for a 27-yard touchdown to make it 7-7 at halftime. The Saints had an interception on the drive, but it was negated thanks to a roughing the passer penalty.
After a Sean Graskey interception in the third quarter, the Saints had a 12-play, 80-yard drive, which was capped off on Alex Thiry's second touchdown rush of the game, this time from 11 yards out to make it 14-7 CSS. That was the score at the end of the third quarter.
Another interception led to the Saints' third score as Chas Lemon picked off his third pass of the season. That led to a Don Anderson 18-yard touchdown reception from Thiry to make it 21-7 with 12:38 left in the game.
The Cougars would fail to convert a fourth down attempt around midfield on their next possession and the Saints took to the ground game, rushing six straight times all the way to the end zone, finishing with a Matthew Johnson seven-yard scamper to make it 28-7. Johnson had 43 yards rushing on the drive.
#Alec French# sealed the game with 53-yard interception return with a little over a minute to go as the Saints went on to win their second straight over the Cougars 28-7.
St. Scholastica ran the ball for 176 yards, with Matthew Johnson leading the way with a career-high 77 yards on 13 carries. Alex Thiry rushed for 48 yards to go along with his 120 yards through the air on 12-of-21 passing. His favorite target was Don Anderson, who had a career-high six receptions for 50 yards and one score. Jonny Bennett also had a 50-yard kick return at the start of the second half, the longest kick return in the program's young history.
The Saints defense, which came into the game with 11th best turnover margin in the nation, had four takeaways on the day. Sean Graskey led the defense with 12 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, an interception, and a pass breakup.
The Saints will take part in their third UMAC Dome Day next Saturday at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The Saints will face MacMurray College (Ill.) at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be heard live on ESPN Radio 560-WEBC. It can also be seen live on the internet, courtesy of the UMAC.