Passing, defense lift Tommies to openign win
Senior QB Dakota Tracy threw for a career-high 336 yards and the Tommie defense shut out St. Norbert over the last 3 1-2 quarters in Saturday's 20-7 non-conference football win at UST's O'Shaughnessy Stadium. It was the 2011 season-opener for both teams.
Senior WR Fritz Waldvogel became the UST career leader in receptions as he caught seven passes for 144 yards and scored his 30th career touchdown on a 62-yard reception in the second quarter. Waldvogel now has 225 catches for 3,178 receiving yards in 37 career games.
Tracy completed 18-of-34 passes for 334 yards with two intercepted. He threw for one long TD and had two short TD runs and improved to 16-1 on his career as a starter.
Sophomore Dan Noehring caught three passes for 94 yards.
Coach Glenn Caruso saw his No. 5-ranked Tommies win their season opener for the fourth year in a row and improve to 11-1 against non-conference opponents in his four-year Tommie era. UST has won 16 of its last 17 games on campus on Palmer Field.
The Green Knights recovered a first-quarter fumbled reception at the UST 36 after a hard hit by Ben Nantell stripped the ball. Six plays later SNC scored the game's first points on a catch and run from Mike Fabrizio to Joe Green of 19 yards on a slant to take the early lead.
But St. Norbert didn't score on its last 15 possessions of the game and punted 10 times overall. They converted just three of 21 on third- and fourth-down chances. UST limited the Knights to 99 yards in the first half and 180 on the day. SNC had just 32 net rushing yards on 35 carries, including 34 lost rush yards on six Tommie sacks.
St. Thomas also struggled to run against a tough Knights defense with just 55 net yards on 30 carries. UST's passing yards pushed its total offense output to 402 yards on the day.
The Tommies overcame three turnovers and six penalties, including a roughing-the-passer call that negated an interception. Both teams missed a field goal.
UST's Jack Gavin had an interception and 17-yard return, and teammate Josh Carey had a fumble recovery to lead a balanced defense which has seven different players have a hand in a sack.
SNC's Fabrizio completed 13-of-28 for 125 yards in his first career start. Adam Gruett rushed 18 times for 39 yards. Justin Johnson picked off two passes and was in on seven tackles. Nantell and Ben Lombardi were each in on three tackles for loss. SNC limited the Toms to 1-for-13 in third-down conversions.