October 22, 2011

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

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at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
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Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Colby 9, at Williams 7
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at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
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Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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