Saints Contain Durley to Win Conference Opener
DULUTH, Minn. (csssaints.com) – The St. Scholastica football team secured its first win of the season as it defeated its first Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) opponent of the year in the Eureka Red Devils by a score of 35-10 on Saturday at Public Schools Stadium.
Eureka came in with a highly touted aerial attack as Sam Durley, who threw for over 700 yards last weekend to set the single game NCAA record. The Red Devils would take the opening kickoff and on the first play of the game Durley was sacked by Chas Lemon for 15 yards. After an unsportsmanlike penalty the Saints would need only three more plays to get off the field and get the ball into the hands of the offense.
CSS and Eureka would each have the ball for less than two minutes on their next possessions before punting it away. On the Saints' second drive of the game, Tyler Harper would connect with Cory Gebhard for a 52-yard touchdown. The PAT from Mike Theismann was good to make the score 7-0.
The Saints defense would hold strong on Eureka's next possession that would have the Red Devils with the ball for only six plays before a sack from Jordan Rasmussen and Jake Turkowski would halt the drive and force the Red Devils to punt it away.
Tyler Harper's 40-yard scramble was the highlight of the Saints third drive. The play set up a Thomas Fragale 1-yard touchdown run. Theismann's PAT was good to make the score 14-0.
The high octane offense of the Red Devils would finally get on the board with their second drive of the second quarter. Zach McCoy capped off an 11 play, 63 yard drive from two yards out. Travis Huber's extra point was good to make it 14-7.
CSS would take the momentum right back as Harper connected with Nick Thiry for a 43-yard pass and catch touchdown. Theismann's extra point was good to make the score 21-7.
CSS and Eureka would stall on their next few drives before the Saints started the two minute drill with 1:37 left on the clock and 63 yards to cover. Harper would go 5-for-8 on the drive for 53 yards passing with his second touchdown pass to Thiry on the day from eight yards out. The PAT from Theismann was good to make the score 28-7 going into halftime.
After a CSS fumble that was recovered by Craig Wilson, the Red Devils would take over on the Saints' 11 yard line. The defense would hold strong and force Eureka into a 35 yard field goal to make the score 28-10.
The Saints defense would be the story of the third quarter as they would hold Durley to zero yards passing on seven attempts. Offensively, the Saints would hold the ball for over 10 minutes in the third session, getting in the end zone on their final possession with a 1-yard run from Travis Nehowig to make the score 35-10 with Theismann's PAT. Nehowig's touchdown was the last scoring from either team.
Durley was 21-for-49 for 228 yards and zero TD's. Zach McCoy rushed for 71 yards on 19 attempts with the lone touchdown for the Red Devils. Matt Dawson caught seven balls for 81 yards to lead the receiving corps for Eureka.
Eureka graduated their all-time leading tackler last year in Mike Minehan and were led this game by Jacob Carls with 16 tackles, two of which came for a loss. Carls also forced the fumble that set up his team's field goal.
Offensively the Saints were led by quarterback Tyler Harper who out dueled his NCAA record holding counterpart by going 13-for-24 for 220 yards and three TD's. Nehowig led the ground attack by gaining 104 yards on 19 attempts with his one touchdown. Thiry caught three balls for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Gebhard had a strong showing as well with two catches for 72 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively the Saints were led for the second week in a row by junior Alec French who had 11 tackles on the day. French also had one of four sacks by the defensive unit.
The Saints (1-1, 1-0 UMAC) welcome Greenville College (Ill.) to town next week for their fifth homecoming and 100th school anniversary. Greenville is the slight preseason favorite in the UMAC this season. The game will be played at Malosky Stadium at UMD. Kick-off is set for 4:30 p.m. and can be seen live on Saints Sports Net.