/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

Aug. 31: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Moravian at King's
7:00 PM
Methodist at Campbell
7:00 PM
Alfred State at Coast Guard
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7:00 PM
Allegheny at Thiel
7:00 PM
Stevenson at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Wesley at Delaware Valley
7:00 PM
Mayville St. at Buena Vista
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
McMurry at Okla. Panhandle
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
8:00 PM
Greenville at Millikin
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
7:00 PM
Mount Ida at Mass-Dartmouth
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Curry
7:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Washington and Lee
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7:00 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ
7:00 PM
MIT at Becker
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7:00 PM
Westfield State at Nichols
7:30 PM
Anna Maria at WPI
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7:30 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
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12:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
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12:00 PM
Worcester State at Salve Regina
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12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
Norwich at Morrisville State
12:00 PM
Bethany at Ursinus
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12:00 PM
Brockport at Hobart
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Augustana at Cortland
12:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Buffalo State
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12:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington U.
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12:30 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Mount Union
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1:00 PM
Wilkes at Muhlenberg
1:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Oberlin
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Catholic at McDaniel
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Heidelberg at Olivet
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Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
1:00 PM
Alma at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Castleton at Plymouth State
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Lycoming at Susquehanna
1:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at John Carroll
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1:00 PM
Alfred at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Misericordia at Merchant Marine
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1:00 PM
Albion at Wabash
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1:00 PM
Dickinson at Randolph-Macon
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1:00 PM
Bluffton at Wooster
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1:00 PM
Union at Husson
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1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Westminster (Pa.)
1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Emory and Henry
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1:00 PM
Averett at Hampden-Sydney
1:00 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
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1:00 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
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1:00 PM
William Paterson at RPI
1:00 PM
Franklin at Thomas More
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Greensboro at Apprentice
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Case Western Reserve at Chicago
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Kenyon at Sewanee
1:30 PM
Centre at Hanover
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Mount St. Joseph at Capital
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1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Defiance
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1:30 PM
Earlham at Wilmington
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2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
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2:00 PM
St. Norbert at UW-Stevens Point
2:00 PM
Carthage at Aurora
2:00 PM
Hope at Monmouth
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2:00 PM
Guilford at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at Simpson
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Nebraska Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Rockford at MacMurray
2:00 PM
Finlandia at Concordia (Wis.)
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2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Dubuque at Bethel
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Grinnell at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Hamline at Crown
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at Illinois Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Whitworth at Central
2:00 PM
Coe at UW-River Falls
2:00 PM
Loras at Elmhurst
2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Ripon
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2:00 PM
Presentation at Lawrence
2:00 PM
George Fox at UW-Platteville
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2:00 PM
Lake Forest at Beloit
2:10 PM
UW-Eau Claire at St. Thomas
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3:00 PM
Austin at Bacone
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at La Verne
5:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Hartwick
6:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Adrian
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6:00 PM
North Park at Anderson
7:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Southern Virginia
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7:00 PM
Brevard at Davidson
7:00 PM
Gallaudet at Shenandoah
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7:00 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Marietta at Geneva
7:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
7:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Utica
7:00 PM
Southwestern at Denison
7:00 PM
Martin Luther at Minnesota-Morris
7:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
7:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at Illinois College
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Trinity Int'l at Wisconsin Lutheran
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7:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Texas-Permian Basin
7:00 PM
Luther at UW-La Crosse
7:00 PM
Wayland Baptist at Louisiana College
8:00 PM
Knox at Eureka
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Augsburg
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell
8:00 PM
Robert Morris-Chicago at North Central (Ill.)
8:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Benedictine
8:00 PM
Lyon at Hendrix
8:00 PM
Howard Payne at Southwestern Assemblies
10:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Redlands
10:00 PM
Rhodes at Willamette
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