/seasons/2012/contrib/20120901131qai

New QB leads late comeback win for Toms

More news about: St. Thomas

Tommie sophomore quarterback Matt O'Connell made his first collegiate start a memorable one.

O'Connell contributed to two late fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 52-second span as No. 8-ranked St. Thomas (1-0) rallied for a 27-24 victory over UW-Eau Claire (0-1) in non-conference football play Saturday in Eau Claire, Wis.

St. Thomas ran its regular-season win streak to 25 but needed to overcome a rash of penalties and mistakes to post a rare fourth-quarter comeback victory.

The UST defense allowed 283 total yards but limited the Blugold offense to just 10 yards on 14 plays in the game's final 14:00.

The Tommies trailed 24-13 with 6:00 to play before O'Connell and Dan Ferrazzo connected on a short slant play that Ferrazzo turned into a 49-yard TD reception. O'Connell hit Logan Marks for a two-point conversion to cut the Blugold lead to 24-21.

UST's onside kick attempt was unsuccessful and Eau Claire took over at the Tommie 44-yard line with 3:44 left to go. But Tyler Erstad's interception on the next play gave the Tommies the ball at their own 45-yard line.

Three plays later, O'Connell broke free for a 32-yard go-ahead touchdown run. The PAT kick failed but St. Thomas led 27-24 with 2:54 remaining.

The Tommies appeared to stop UWEC on downs but a fourth-down holding penalty kept the final drive alive. Four plays later Sean Hamlin's interception in the final 60 seconds iced UST's comeback victory.

The Tommies rolled up 420 total yards and 163 return yards but were hurt by 13 penalties, two lost fumbles -- including one in the red zone -- two missed field goals and a 2-of-12 third-down conversion rate.

After scoring on a 22-yard O'Connell to Dan Noehring TD pass in the game's first three minutes, the Tommies were held to just two Griffin Snyder field goals over the next 50 minutes on the game clock. The Toms only punted once all day but still needed the furious rally to pull out a win.

St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso said on his WCCO Radio post-game show that his team overcame periods of sloppy and ineffective play with perseverance.

"There was a lot tears and a lot of pride on that field today but what you saw today was a program win, a University of St. Thomas win. That game was won on mental toughness," Caruso said. "On that last drive, our guys were very calm and cool. If you want to talk about a warrior, I'll talk about Matt O'Connell all day long. I'll go to war with that kid forever."

O'Connell completed 19-of-37 passes for 266 yards and rushed 13 times for 46 yards. Noehring and Ferrazzo each had four catches. Sophomores Ryan Toney and Aaron Terrell-Byrd combined for 201 all-purpose yards. Byrd rushed 13 times for 70 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards. Toney had three returns for 60 yards, one catch for nine yards and six rushes for 35 yards. Freshman Jack Gilliland had three kick returns for 100 yards including a 63 yarder.

For Eau Claire, Joel Sweeney rushed for 104 yards on 27 carries and tight end Austin Goetsch had seven grabs for 86 yards. QB Austin Neu completed 20-of-32 passes for 196 yards but had the two late fourth-quarter interceptions.

Senior Mike Valesano had 11 tackles and senior Ayo Idowu added six tackles and one sack for the UST defense.

St. Thomas opens its home season next Saturday against UW-River Falls while Eau Claire is home to face St. John's.

Box score:

http://www.blugolds.com/stats/fb/2012/12-01.htm

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Westfield State at Framingham State
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12:00 PM
Moravian at Juniata
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12:00 PM
Endicott at Salve Regina
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12:00 PM
St. Vincent at Thomas More
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12:00 PM
Hobart at Union
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1:00 PM
Colby at Hamilton
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1:00 PM
William Paterson at Christopher Newport
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1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Ithaca
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1:00 PM
Kenyon at Allegheny
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1:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Mount Ida
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1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bates
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1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
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1:00 PM
Wesleyan at Amherst
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1:00 PM
Bowdoin at Trinity (Conn.)
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1:00 PM
Husson at Gallaudet
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1:00 PM
Wabash at Oberlin
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1:00 PM
Buffalo State at Utica
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1:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Muskingum
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1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
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1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
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1:00 PM
Albright at Stevenson
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1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
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1:00 PM
Alma at Albion
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1:00 PM
Shenandoah at Guilford
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1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Massachusetts Maritime
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1:00 PM
Wooster at Hiram
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1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Hampden-Sydney
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1:00 PM
Alfred State at Anna Maria
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1:00 PM
Bridgewater at Emory and Henry
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1:00 PM
Wilkes at FDU-Florham
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1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Misericordia
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1:00 PM
Rochester at St. Lawrence
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1:00 PM
RPI at Alfred
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1:00 PM
Nichols at Curry
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1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Salisbury
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1:00 PM
Ferrum at Brevard
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1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Apprentice
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1:00 PM
Ursinus at Susquehanna
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1:00 PM
Cortland at Morrisville State
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1:00 PM
Hope at Trine
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1:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-River Falls
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1:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Sewanee
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1:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
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1:30 PM
Dickinson at Franklin and Marshall
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1:30 PM
Tufts at Williams
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
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1:30 PM
MIT at Coast Guard
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1:30 PM
Maine Maritime at Norwich
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1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
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1:30 PM
Franklin at Rose-Hulman
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1:30 PM
John Carroll at Capital
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1:30 PM
Bluffton at Manchester
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1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Anderson
2:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
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2:00 PM
Greensboro at LaGrange
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2:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Worcester State
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2:00 PM
Muhlenberg at McDaniel
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2:00 PM
Western New England at Becker
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2:00 PM
Methodist at Maryville (Tenn.)
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2:00 PM
Adrian at Kalamazoo
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2:00 PM
Denison at Ohio Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
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2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
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2:00 PM
Olivet at Benedictine
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2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Austin
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2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at UW-Stout
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2:00 PM
Eureka at MacMurray
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2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Buena Vista
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2:00 PM
Lakeland at Wisconsin Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Rockford at Aurora
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2:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Concordia-Chicago
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2:00 PM
Carleton at St. Olaf
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2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
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2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Greenville
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2:00 PM
Coe at Loras
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Cornell
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2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at North Park
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2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Martin Luther
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Grinnell at Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Carroll at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Macalester
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2:00 PM
Lawrence at St. Norbert
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2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Crown
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2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Iowa Wesleyan
2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
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2:30 PM
Merchant Marine at WPI
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2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
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2:30 PM
Hanover at Earlham
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2:30 PM
Beloit at Chicago
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Simpson at Dubuque
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3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
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3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Bridgewater State
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4:00 PM
Chapman at La Verne
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4:00 PM
Pacific at Lewis and Clark
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4:00 PM
Pacific Lutheran at Willamette
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4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Whitworth
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4:00 PM
Redlands at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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5:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
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6:00 PM
Dean at Castleton
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6:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
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7:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Otterbein
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
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7:00 PM
Knox at Illinois College
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10:00 PM
Whittier at Cal Lutheran
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Recap Box Score Video
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
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1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
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1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
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1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
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1:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
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1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
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2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
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2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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