/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

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at FDU-Florham
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Final
at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at FDU-Florham