St. John's 56, Northwestern (Minn.) 10

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COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — Eight different Johnnies scored a touchdown as Saint John's defeated Northwestern 56-10 to open its 100th season on Saturday, Sept. 4, in Collegeville.

SJU out-gained Northwestern with a balanced attack, 503 yards to 255, including a 231-12 advantage in the first quarter alone. The Johnnies ran for a total of 251 yards and threw for 252 in the game.

SJU scored first, on its second possession, with a 22-yard touchdown run by sophomore Stephen Johnson (Mahtomedi, Minn.). Johnson was one of 15 different Johnnies to carry the ball on the afternoon and led the team with 71 yards on 10 attempts. Nine of the 15 ball-carriers averaged five yards or more a carry.

Senior Jakob Reding (Eden Prairie, Minn.) joined the scoring summary with a nine-yard scamper less than two minutes later to make it 14-0 in favor of SJU (1-0, 0-0 MIAC). Sophomore Harry Awe (St. Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) extended the lead to 21-0 with a seven-yard touchdown run with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Northwestern cut its deficit to 21-7 with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Josh Balzer to Eric Baumgartner six minutes into the second quarter.

Sophomore Mike Bonynge (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. The scoring sprint was the first for the Johnnies since Brandon Royce-Diop's 90-yard return against St. Thomas on Oct. 28, 2006.

Senior Joe Boyle (Richfield, Minn./Holy Angels) connected with freshman Nick Schneider (Rockville, Minn./Rocori) on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 3:17 remaining in the first half to make it 35-7 at the break.

Boyle ended his day with an eight-yard touchdown pass to senior Josh Overman (Albany, Minn.) 6:31 into the third quarter. Sophomore John Ries (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) scored on a quarterback sneak two minutes later.

Freshman Joe Johnson (Breckenridge, Minn.) scored his first career touchdown, 16 yards out, on a pass from sophomore Scott Ramey (Baxter, Minn./Brainerd) to end the Johnnies' scoring in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles' Cody Crum made a 27-yard field with 2:19 left to make it 56-10. The Johnnies ended the game on Northwestern's four-yard line as time expired.

Boyle ended the day 14 of 17 passing for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Schneider, a running back, led SJU with three catches for 73 yards. Senior Billy Lawrence (Edina, Minn./St. Thomas Academy) led the Johnnies with nine tackles (eight solo). Bonynge, senior Justin Nilson (St. Cloud, Minn./Tech), sophomore Alex Powell (Hopkins, Minn.), junior Andrew Rotschafer (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and senior John Stanton (San Rafael, Calif./Marin Catholic) recorded an interception each.

SJU's defense forced five interceptions and 10 punts on the day.

Sophomore Jimmie Mattson (Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) was a perfect 7-for-7 on point-after attempts, as was sophomore Mark Verdun (Johnston, Iowa/Dowling Catholic) on his only attempt.

Balzer was 9 of 30 passing for 144 yards and a touchdown, while Baumgartner caught three passes for 50 yards. Luke Delain led the Eagles' defense with 12 tackles (10 solo) on the day.

With the win, SJU head coach John Gagliardi earned his 472nd career victory in 62 seasons and his 448th in 58 seasons with the Johnnies.

SJU travels to face Wis.-Eau Claire next Saturday, Sept. 11. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis.

Notes: SJU did not record a penalty in the game, the first time since Oct. 18, 2008, at St. Thomas…the Johnnies' 56 points are the most since Sept. 15, 2007 (vs. Augsburg, 62-7)…the last time eight different Johnnies scored a touchdown occurred Oct. 29, 2005 (vs. St. Olaf, 63-9)…Bonynge's 88-yard kickoff return for touchdown, the first for SJU at home since Oct. 16, 2004 (Lee Clintsman, 94 yards vs. Concordia), coupled with his third-quarter interception, is SJU's first known instance of a player returning a kickoff for a touchdown and recording an interception in the same game.

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