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

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
7:00 PM
Denison at Marietta
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
8:30 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos