ELMHURST, Ill. - The Elmhurst College football outscored Loras College 30-3 in the second half on its way to a 50-24 victory in its 2011 season-opening contest.
Things didn't start well for the Bluejays, as Loras raced out to a quick 14-0 lead. The Duhawks recovered a Scottie Williams fumble and Aaron Strong returned the loose ball 45 yards for a touchdown less than a minute into the opening quarter.
After an Elmhurst punt, Loras went up 14-0 when Vaughn Gesing hit Gavin Kaiser on a 42-yard scoring strike.
The Bluejays battled back in the second quarter, Andrew Tubek capped a 12-play, 61-yard scoring drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge to bring Elmhurst to within a touchdown. The Bluejays knotted the score at 14 when Joe Furco connected with a wide open Joe St. Peter for a 52-yard touchdown off of a flea-flicker.
Loras reclaimed the lead at 21-14 when Devin Kass found the end zone on a 13-yard touchdown run. The Bluejays answered back with an eight-play, 59-yard drive capped by a two-yard touchdown pass from Furco to Josh Schmidt. The extra point was missed, and Elmhurst trailed 21-20 at halftime.
Loras punted on its opening possession of the second half, but before the Bluejays could run a play on offense, the game was delayed for over an hour due to lightning in the area. After play resumed, the Bluejays wasted little time in retaking the lead. Furco connected with St. Peter for a 61-yard touchdown pass to put Elmhurst up 27-21.
A Trevor Spaulding 32-yard field goal midway through the third quarter gave Elmhurst a 30-21 edge. The Bluejays made it 37-21 when Williams topped off a 70-yard scoring drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
The Bluejays offensive assault continued in the fourth quarter when Furco found Griffin Gibson open for a 19-yard touchdown pass to give Elmhurst a 44-21 lead.
Loras finally answered Elmhurst's 24-point scoring streak with a 36-yard Tyler Wilker field goal. The Bluejays sealed the win with a two-yard touchdown run from Tubek with just under two minutes to play.
Elmhurst rolled up 547 yards of total offense, including 319 yards in the second half. The Bluejays rushed for 189 yards and passed for 358 yards. After totaling 233 yards of offense in the first half, Loras was held to only 73 yards in the second half.
Furco completed 24-of-31 passes for 358 yards and four touchdowns. Rodney Payton hauled in five passes for 75 yards, while St. Peter had four receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Tubek and Williams combined for 146 yards on the ground. Tubek rushed for 74 yards and two scores while Williams ran for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Gesing finished 14-of-28 through the air for 237 yards and a touchdown to lead Loras. Kass carried 20 times for 92 yards and a touchdown while Kaiser caught four-passes for a game-high 136 yards.
Elmhurst's defense was led by Wayne Tuckson's 11 tackles. Tuckson also forced two fumbles and recorded a sack. Jon Janus added nine tackles while John Gruchot, Ryan Johnson, and Dan Vicari all totaled six stops. Vicari finished with two of the Bluejays' six total sacks.
Eric Meyer and Jasper Henderson had 12 tackles apiece to pace the Duhawks defense.
Elmhurst hosts Olivet College next Saturday (September 10) in the Bluejays' first-ever night game at Langhorst Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.