Saints Pull Away in the Second Half to Spoil Northwestern’s Homecoming

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ST. PAUL – The St. Scholastica football team scored 28 second half points to break open a close halftime score to defeat Northwestern College on the Eagles' Homecoming 35-7 on Saturday at Reynolds Field.

The punters were the story in the first quarter as the first two possessions for each team resulted in punts. The Eagles got inside the CSS 30-yard line on their third possession, but the Saints defense would get a stop on fourth down to hand the ball back to St. Scholastica.

In the second quarter, following another CSS punt, Northwestern would get inside the red zone, but once again the Saints forced the Eagles to turn it over on downs.

It wouldn't be until a Justin Bosman 57-yard to punt to the Northwestern 2-yard line, that Saints got some momentum as the field position finally flipped. Four plays into the Eagle drive, Mike LaValley intercepted Josh Balzer and returned it 17 yards to the Northwestern 9-yard line. On third-and-goal, Alex Thiry connected with his cousin Nick Thiry for a 3-yard touchdown for the first score of the game. A Mike Theismann point after made it 7-0 CSS, which would be the halftime score.

The Saints got the ball first to start the second half and got 33-yard touchdown pass from Thiry to Keegan O'Neill to make it 14-0. On the second play of the ensuing possession, Zack Dubanoski forced and recovered a Northwestern fumble at the Eagles' 34-yard line. CSS capitalized again as Thiry threw his third TD pass of the afternoon to a third different receiver, this time Jonny Bennett for a 3-yard reception to extend the lead to 21-0.

A St. Scholastica penalty on fourth down extended Northwestern's next drive and the Eagles took advantage for their only score when Josh Young plunged in from a yard out to cut the lead to 21-7 after three quarters.

The Saints drove down the field again on their next possession and on fourth-and-four from the Northwestern 28-yard line, Thiry hit O'Neill for the second time for a 28-yard TD reception to make the score 28-7.

After a Jake Turkowski interception, the Saints got one final score on the day as Jake Jensen ran threw some tacklers for an 18-yard TD run to make the final score 35-7.

Jensen had another 100-yard rushing day, running for 148 yards on 29 carries. For the second consecutive week, Thiry, the nation's most efficient passer, threw just four incompletions, going 12-for-16 for 150 yards and four touchdown passes with no interceptions. O'Neill had five receptions for 116 yards and two scores.

The CSS defense controlled the game, holding the Eagles (3-3, 3-2 UMAC) to 186 yards of total offense for the game and only 55 yards in the second half. The Saints had just 63 yards of total offense in the first half, but finished with 296 for the game.

Sean Graskey, Zack Dubanoski, and Jordan Rasmussen all led the team with 10 tackles. Dubanoski led the team with two tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 1.5 sacks. CSS once again had the edge in turnovers with a +3 margin.

The Saints (5-0, 4-0 UMAC) will have their fourth Homecoming game next Saturday at Malosky Stadium when they host Westminster College (Mo.) The kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and can be seen live on GameCentral at csssaints.com.

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