/seasons/2011/contrib/20111023ku6z8h

Kicking game, run defense fuels Tommies victory

More news about: St. Thomas

In Saturday's showdown of top-10 ranked teams, the No. 3 Tommies outlasted No. 10 ranked Bethel, 23-13, and moved closer to a third consecutive NCAA playoff trip.

St. Thomas (8-0 overall, 6-0 MIAC) never trailed as it ran its regular-season win streak to 22, its conference victory string to 17 and its road win streak to nine.

Coach Glenn Caruso's Toms avenged their only loss in 21 games over the last two seasons, a 12-7 NCAA playoff quarterfinal defeat to the Royals last December.

With one win in their remaining two games, the Tommies can claim the MIAC's automatic berth into the NCAA playoffs and secure at least a share of the conference title. That would also give St. Thomas its first back-to-back conference football championships since 1948 and 1949.

A crowd of nearly 6,000 saw a nearly even statistical game – UST had 335 total yards to BU's 300, with an 18-14 edge in first downs. But the Tommies outscored BU 11-1 in the kicking game as Tim Albright booted a career-best three field goals and UST also blocked a PAT.

UST senior RB Colin Tobin rushed 31 times for 133 yards and collected his 40th and 41st career touchdowns. Sophomore LB Harry Pitera had two crucial fourth-down stops among his three tackles for loss. Senior WR Fritz Waldvogel had eight receptions for 94 yards and 137 all-purpose yards on 10 touches. He moved into No. 3 in conference career charts in both receptions (265) and receiving yards (3,799).

Bethel (5-2, 3-2) was led by senior QB Josh Aakre, who passes for 163 yards and a TD and ran for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Both offenses came in averaging more than 40 points and 420 yards a game. St. Thomas' rushing defense was ranked No. 2 in Division III at 44.7 yards allowed per game and faced a Bethel running attack that averaged 288 yards a game, 10th best in the country.

But the Royals could only gain 137 yards on the ground, including 32 in the first half, and came up short on three fourth-and-short situations in St. Thomas territory. The Tommies limited the conference's leading rusher, Brandon Marquardt to 10 yards on 10 carries, had eight tackles for loss, two pickoffs and five pass break-ups.

The Tommies jumped to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on a pair of four-yard touchdown runs by Tobin. Bethel picked up two quick first downs on its next series, but on fourth-and-one at the Tommies' 46, Marquardt took a pitch and was tackled short of a first down by Pitera.

St. Thomas took over and drove to the Bethel 31, where Albright kicked the longest field goal of his career – 48 yards – for a 17-0 lead halfway through the second quarter.

Pitera ended Bethel's next series at the St. Thomas 25 with a 10-yard, fourth-and-2 sack of Aakre.

The Royals got on the scoreboard with 1:10 left in the first half on Reese Walker's 33-yard touchdown reception from Aakre, ending St. Thomas' shutout streak at nine quarters. UST quickly marched downfield. Two Dakota Tracy completions of seven and 33 yards to Waldvogel and a 15-yard penalty put the ball at the Bethel 20, but the Royals stiffened at the 3-yard-line, and Albright kicked a 20-yard field goal with six seconds left in the half for a 20-7 halftime lead.

Bethel took the second-half kickoff and drove to the St. Thomas 3-yard-line, but Aakre's fourth-down pass into the end zone went incomplete. The Royals held the Tommies to a three-and-out series and drove 41 yards in six plays, with Aakre running the ball in from the 5-yard-line to narrow the deficit to 20-13. The Tommies blocked the extra-point kick to keep the margin at seven.

Neither team could move the ball on its next three possessions, but St. Thomas salted away the win with 2:55 left in the game on an Albright 25-yard field goal to make the score 23-13. The 13-play drive to the Bethel 8-yard-line chewed up 70 yards and nearly seven minutes on the clock.

Bethel gamely fought back, driving quickly to the St. Thomas 25, where Aakre threw into the left corner of the end zone. UST cornerback Jack Gavin's acrobatic interception sealed the victory.

The Tommies return home Saturday for their last regular-season game in O'Shaughnessy Stadium, facing Gustavus Adolphus. The Gusties (1-6, 1-4) lost 24-16 to St. John's on Saturday in St. Peter, their third loss of eight points or less this season.

Click here for box score:

http://athletics.bethel.edu/custompages/football/2011/stats/ust-fb.htm

Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Box Score Video Recap
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
12:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Mount Union
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Berry at St. Thomas
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Nov. 17: All times Eastern
Final
Merchant Marine 35, at Buffalo State 20
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Photos
Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Muhlenberg 32, at Carnegie Mellon 6
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 21, Widener 7
Video Box Score
Final
Susquehanna 28, at Albright 9
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Box Score Video Recap
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Framingham State 48, Curry 14
Video Box Score
Final
Cortland 35, at Union 28
Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Final
at Ithaca 27, Salisbury 17
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at WPI 17, SUNY-Maritime 3
Box Score Recap
Nov. 19: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Alfred
@ University of Delaware
Video Preview Live stats Audio