Saints Take Down Preseason Favorite
DULUTH, Minn. (csssaints.com) – The St. Scholastica football team defeated the coaches' preseason pick to win the UMAC in Greenville College (Ill.) today by a score of 45-3 to win its fourth straight Homecoming game.
The story of the game was the defense. Defensive Coordinator Allen Smith coached his team to the lowest scoring outputs by an opponent in program history. This was the first time a Saints defense has not given up a touchdown. CSS scored 28 points off of five Panther turnovers.
The Saints would score on their first two possessions of the game, while simultaneously halting the vaunted run game of the Panthers and causing a turnover and a three-and-out on those two drives.
Mike LaValley intercepted his first pass of the season and returned it 27 yards to set up an 11-play, 27-yard drive by the Saints that was capped of by a 13-yard scamper from Tyler Harper. Mike Theismann's extra point was good to make the score 7-0.
The Saints defense would force Greenville to a three-and-out and would get the ball at its own 46. The Saints would go 57 yards in 11 plays again to make the score 14-0 by a TD pass from Harper to Cory Gebhard from 10 yards out. The PAT from Theismann was good to make the score 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw a stall from the Saints offense. CSS would get the ball back on the next play as Tyler Zurn forced a fumble from Immanuel Gamble that was recovered by Sherome Milon. CSS would capitalize yet again on a Panther turnover with a Jake Jensen TD run from three yards out nine plays later. Theismann's kick was good to make it 21-0.
The Saints defense would force another three-and-out from the Panther offense and would get right back to their scoring ways. Harper engineered a 12-play, 56-yard drive that was capped off by Theismann's first field goal of the year. The 19-yard field goal was good to make the score 24-0.
Greenville would make it interesting before the halftime by driving the ball 58 yards before coming up short with a 30-yard missed field goal.
Greenville would come out strong in the second half by forcing a fumble on the Saints first offensive possession of the quarter. The Panthers would get their only points of the game as they capitalized on the short field and turnover by kicking a 27-yard field goal. Josh Frewin's kick made the score 24-3.
The Saints next two offensive and defensive possessions would end the same way with a touchdown and an interception. Jensen scored his second touchdown of the game to close out the third quarter from three yards out to make the score 31-3 with Theismann's extra point. 13 plays later, Sherome Milon would intercept his first ball of the year in the end zone to halt the Panthers scoring efforts.
Harper would drive his offensive unit 80 yards in 17 plays eating up over seven minutes of clock on the next possession and would take it into the end zone from one yard out to make the score 38-3 in favor of the home team with Theismann's extra point.
The Saints would cap off its scoring efforts with the longest interception returned for a touchdown as LaValley returned the ball 73 yards to make a final score of 45-3 with the extra point from Theismann.
Chambers was 5-for-13 for 61 yards and three INT's. Immanuel Gamble has 135 yards on the ground to lead his team to a ground attack of 253 yards. Defensively Cody Lopez dominated the field with 18 tackles total.
Tyler Harper led his team to their second win of the season going 12-for-18 for 90 yards and the one touchdown throw to Gebhard. Jake Jensen and Travis Nehowig led the rushing attack for the Saints by combining for 162 yards on the ground to go along with Jensen and Harpers two touchdown runs.
Alec French led the way defensively for the third consecutive week in tackles with nine overall. Keaton Rush and Steven Perry were close behind with eight. The defense forced five turnovers, highlighted by LaValley's two INTs.
The Saints (2-1, 2-0 UMAC) will be on the road for the first time the next two weeks as they take on Martin Luther in New Ulm on Saturday. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game can be heard live on Saints Sports Net.