/seasons/2012/contrib/20121013k6fp9p

Ball-control, defensive pressure fuel big UST win

More news about: St. Thomas
Pete Fitzsimmons finished with just four catches for 44 yards but had a huge grab at the 5-yard line to set up St. Thomas' last score of the first half.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com
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A tight battle and close finish expected of two top-10 ranked and unbeatens never materialized Saturday in St. Paul. The Tommies jumped off to an early lead and never looked back in Saturday's 37-0 Homecoming football win over No. 9 Bethel.

The victory gave No. 4 St. Thomas (6-0, 4-0 MIAC) sole possession of first place at the halfway point in the conference race. It also left the Royals (5-1, 3-1) in a virtual three-way tie for second with Augsburg and Concordia, which also have one loss.

The Tommies now have won 30 consecutive regular-season games, 23 in a row in the MIAC, and 11 in a row at home. Their only loss in their last 27 at home came 12-7 at the hands of Bethel in a NCAA Division III quarterfinal playoff game in December 2010.

It also was St. Thomas' most consistent performance of the year on both sides of the ball.

The UST defense again suffocated an opponent's running attack. The Royals came into the game averaging 135 yards on the ground but could muster only 31 yards on 17 carries, and they finished 1-for-11 on third-down convensions.

The UST controlled the ball for nearly 41 minutes, including a 22:24 to 7:36 advantage in the first half and had only one fumble after six turnovers against Gustavus last week. The Tommies also had a season-low four penalties for 30 yards after averaging 82 penalty yards a game.

Junior linebacker Harry Pitera had four solo tackles, a sack and a partially-blocked punt to lead the balanced defense.

St. Thomas scored on four of its first five possessions while the defense held the Royals to five three-and-out possessions, 16 plays, no first downs and 18 yards from scrimmage in building a 24-0 halftime lead.

Aaron Terrell-Byrd's 1-yard run gave the Tommies a 7-0 lead, the drive kept alive after a Garrett Maloney punt bounced off a Bethel player's foot and Ryan Deitz recovered at the Royals' 14. It was the sixth straight game in which St. Thomas has scored on its first series.

Wide receiver Dan Noehring recovered Matt O'Connell's fumble in the end zone to extend the lead to 14-0. O'Connell had run 14 yards to the goal line, where a defender jarred the ball loose and Noehring fell on it. It was the game's longest run for the sophomore quarterback, who finished with 89 yards on 20 rushes and completed 19 of 31 passes for 163 yards.

The Tommies took more than six minutes off the clock in the second quarter before settling for a Griffin Snyder 32-yard field goal to extend their lead to 17-0, and then O'Connell worked his last-minute magic again.

A week ago against Gustavus, he marched the Tommies 43 yards and completed a touchdown pass with 4.8 seconds to go. Saturday, he rolled out and completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Cole Kelly with 8.8 seconds remaining. That capped a 13-play, 57-yard drive for a 24-0 lead. It was the first career reception for Kelly, a sophomore tight end.

St. Thomas never let the Royals get on track offensively. They didn't record a first down until four minutes into the second half and got no deeper into St. Thomas territory than the 46-yard line.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Tommies added two touchdowns in the fourth. Brenton Braddock finished a 13-play, 79-yard drive with a 1-yard run, and two backup linebackers joined forces to come up with the final six points. Cavan Metzler hit Bethel quarterback Erik Peterson at midfield and Steve Dejewski picked off the wobbly pass and ran it in from the Royals' 49.

St. Thomas goes on the road next Saturday, traveling to Hamline to face the Pipers. They fell to 1-5 (0-5 MIAC) after losing 63-14 at Concordia on Saturday. The UST has back-to-back games with Augsburg and Concordia-Moorhead before closing the regular season against St. Olaf.

Click here for box score:

http://www.tommiesports.com/ftbl/stats/fb-10-13.htm

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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Final
at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
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RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
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Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
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Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
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Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Final
Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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Final
John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Final
Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
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UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
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Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
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at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
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at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
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Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
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Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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Final
at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
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Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
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Final
Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
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Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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Final
at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
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Final
Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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Final
at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
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Final
Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Final
Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
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Final
Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
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Final
at Aurora 28, Rockford 21
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at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
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Final
at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
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Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Final
Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
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at Loras 44, Coe 38
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Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
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Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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Final
at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
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Final
at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
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Final
at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
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Final
at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
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Final
St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
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Final
at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
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Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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Final
at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
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Final
at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
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Final
Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
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Final
at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Final - OT
at Dubuque 28, Simpson 27
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at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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Final
at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
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at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Final
Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
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Final
Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
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Final
Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
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Final
Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
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at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
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Final
Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
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at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
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at Castleton 17, Dean 14
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N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
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at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
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Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
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at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
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at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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