Defense, special teams lead UST comeback
Sophomore Paul Graupner's 23-yard field goal with 1:21 to go snapped a tie and lifted No. 18-ranked St. Thomas to a 17-14 road win at Augsburg in Saturday's MIAC football action.
Josh Carey's end-zone interception in the final seconds sealed the victory and kept the Tommies' postseason hopes alive.
With the game tied 14-14 and the clock nearing 4:00 to go in the last quarter, Dan Noehring took a cross-field lateral pass from Sean Hamlin on a punt return and raced 40 yards to the Auggie 13 to set up the winning points.
The Tommies (6-2 overall, 4-2 MIAC), who rallied from a 14-7 fourth-quarter deficit, survived five turnovers and a season-low 231 yards of offense.
St. Thomas' defense slowed the Auggies' high-powered attack. UST allowed 348 total yards, had three interceptions, surrendured only 12 first downs and limited the Auggies to 2-of-15 on third downs.
Augsburg (4-4, 4-2) was hurt by nine penalties as it lost its third MIAC game by three or less points.
The Tommies had first-and-goal from the Auggie 2-yard line in the final 2:00 but three rushes were stopped. That did force the Auggies to burn all three of their time outs, and Graupner's clean kick put the Toms ahead.
Augsburg drove to the UST 31-yard line as the clock ticked under 25 seconds, but Carey's pickoff sealed the win.
In a close game when field position was important, Tommie senior punter Garrett Maloney averaged 44 yards on six punts and put three inside the 20.
Tommie sophomore Jack Kaiser had a 25-yard TD run and finished with 88 yards on 20 rushes. Nick Waldvogel had 92 all-purpose yards and scored the fifth TD of his freshman season. On defense, Carey, Matt Larson and Jeff Rada had interceptions for UST, and Harry Pitera had two tackles for loss and a QB hurry. Freshman LB Anthony King-Foreman had his first career sack.
The Tommies are home next Saturday to face No. 21 Concordia-Moorhead, a 35-27 winner at Carleton.