Second-half key in Bethel's 12-7 win over Toms

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Senior tailback Logan Flannery rushed 38 times for 190 yards as Bethel controlled the second half en route to a 12-7 victory over host St. Thomas in Saturday's NCAA football quarterfinal game at UST's O'Shaughnessy Stadium.  

The 14th-ranked Royals (12-1) have won three road games in three states over 15 days by a combined 18 points, and become the lone team in the Final Four which didn't win its conference championship.

The Royals advance to a semifinal round game next Saturday at Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio., and a rematch of the 2007 semifinal playoff game won by the Raiders.  

"We love to travel," said Flannery. "We don't go into these trips thinking it's a disavantage. We stay poised and we have fun on the bus and enjoy being with each other." 

Bethel also ended UST's 15-game home win streak and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Tommies.   

No. 4-ranked St. Thomas (12-1) was held to two first downs and 61 yards in the second half.  UST's seven points was its lowest output in 36 games under three-year coach Glenn Caruso. It also was the first time in the last two seasons (26 games) that the Tomes were held scoreless in the second half of a game.

"Bethel executed very well, and when they needed to make a couple of big plays they made them," Caruso said.

The Tommies scored on the opening drive of the game in just two minutes. Colin Tobin's 46-yard run preceded his 2-yard scoring run.

Bethel's defense was tough enough, but St. Thomas hurt itself with several penalties and the lack of a big play in its passing game. UST also was hurt by the absence of injured All-Americans Fritz Waldvogel and Ben Wartman.  

"We needed the game to come back to us," BU coach Steve Johnson said of the early deficit. "I'm proud of our guys that we didn't get affected by the early hole. By the second quarter things had turned. That felt like us again. We were down 7-6 at the half, but it felt like we were winning." 

Bethel gained 177 of its 303 total yards and had a 20:14 to 9:46 edge in possession time in the second half. The Royals had an 11-play, 96-yard scoring drive in the third quarter to erase the Toms' 7-6 halftime lead.

Flannery had 124 of his yards in the second half and broke the conference career rushing record by eight yards. The old record was 5,335 yards set in 2007 by another Bethel rusher, Phil Porta.  

Tobin rushed 28 times for 122 yards, but UST's eight first downs and 220 total yards were both season lows.

Tommie QB Dakota Tracy rushed nine times for 44 yards and completed 7-of-18 passes for 54 yards.

"Our defense is kind of irritating for the other team," Johnson said. "It's just a disciplined, obedient group."

For the UST defense, Tommy Becker had 10 solo and 10 assisted tackles. Bryan Villar had an interception and six tackles and a two-point conversion interception. Willy Baregi batted down the first two-point try and had a sack among five tackles.

"This hurts a lot, it's been an unbelievable ride," Villar said of his 46-game Tommie career which included a 2-8 record in his first season. "The journey to get here has been unbelievable. It has been a blast."

Bethel's David Vavra had nine tackles and intercepted a fourth-down halfback pass near midfield.

For BU, Kevin Lindh added 62 yards on nine rushes, including a 25-yard burst on the go-ahead scoring march.

Wartman, a 4,000-yard rusher on his career, was injured in last week's playoff game and didn't play on Saturday. He closed his career with 50 touchdowns, 21 100-yard rushing games and 4,086 rushing yards.

Waldvogel tied a school career record with his 217th reception but injured his hip and missed the game's final 52:00 on the clock. He has more than 5,000 career all-purpose yards and has been injury-free prior to Saturday in all 36 career games.

UST also lost its starting punter Garrett Maloney to an injury as he was hit on the knee after a second-quarter punt.

Both teams played without injured starting offensive lineman -- UST's Chad Vandergriff played in the previous game after coming off surgery but sat out Saturday. BU's sophomore guard Jared Penz went out late in the second quarter and didn't return.

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