Tommies have record day in first-round victory over Eagles
No. 4-ranked St. Thomas broke five school records in Saturday's 57-10 victory over visiting Benedictine (Ill.) University in NCAA Division III first-round football playoff game at UST's O'Shaughnessy Stadium in St. Paul.
The Tommies (11-0) trailed 3-0 early but scored touchdowns on their first five possessions en route to a 36-10 halftime lead. They ran their home-field win streak to 14 and have won their last eight November games under third-year Coach Glenn Caruso.
St. Thomas, the top seed in its half of the 32-team national bracket, will be home on Nov. 27 for a noon second-round game against the winner of the Linfield-Cal Lutheran game.
Senior All-American running back Ben Wartman broke the school career rushing record and became just the third Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference back to eclipse 4,000 yards. He rushed 14 times for 149 yards -- his 21st career 100-yard perormance and fourth in four career postseason games. Wartman also had TD runs of 14, 3 and 44 yards and now has a school-record 50 career touchdowns.
Junior running back Colin Tobin rushed seven times for 154 yards and broke a school record with his 91-yard scoring run in the second quarter. The longest previous UST rush was 89 yards set by two different players in 1989.
Junior QB Dakota Tracy improved to 14-0 on his career as a starter and ran an offense that had no turnovers, no punts, gained a school-record 644 yards of total offense, averaged nearly 10 yards per rush attempt, and ran up a school postseason-record for points.
Tracy played three quarters and set a school record for single-game passing efficiency. In just his second career postseason start, he completed 15-of-16 passes for 232 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. His .938 completion rate broke a 15-year-old UST record of .913 held by Chris Esterley. That also broke the Division III plaoff record of .917 (11-of-12) by Wittenberg's Aaron Hoffman set last December in a loss to UW-Whitewater. Tracy's only incompletion was a "Hail Mary" heave towards the end zone with under 15 seconds left in the first half.
UST senior safety Brady Ervin collected the game's only turnover with his second-half pickoff. That was his 16th career interception. Junior LB Tony Danna, who missed the 2009 season with an injury, had 11 tackles in his first career postseason game.
Benedictine (8-3), playing in its first NCAA postseason game after winning the school's first conference championship in 76 seasons, had a seven-game win streak halted. The Eagles' senior QB Preston Earl completed 22-0f-33 passes for 156 yards and one tochdown, a slick play-action toss to tight end Bryan Wiesemann from 11 yards. That extended his school season record for TD passes to 25.
BU collected 16 first downs and 241 yards of offense. Sophomore John Borsellino had 130 all-purpose yards on 24 touches. Tim Shanahan and Eric Rickert were each in on 10 tackles. John Stolarski drilled a 38-yard field goal into the wind five minutes into the action for BU's only lead.