/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

Nov. 10: All times Eastern
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Coast Guard 26, at Merchant Marine 12
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at Catholic 20, Maine Maritime 14
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at Amherst 45, Williams 14
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at Stevenson 34, FDU-Florham 0
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Westfield State 27, at Western Connecticut 13
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Hamilton 38, at Bates 13
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Husson 21, at Plymouth State 10
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SUNY-Maritime 34, at Gallaudet 7
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at Nichols 39, Curry 29
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Union 34, at RPI 10
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at MIT 22, Springfield 7
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Framingham State 47, at Worcester State 6
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Fitchburg State 32, at Mass-Dartmouth 29
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Trinity (Conn.) 9, at Wesleyan 0
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Muhlenberg 53, at Moravian 7
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at Johns Hopkins 42, McDaniel 17
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at Dean 19, Anna Maria 13
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King's 45, at Wilkes 0
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Ithaca 24, at Cortland 21
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Denison 61, at Kenyon 7
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Alfred 41, at Rochester 13
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at University of New England 42, Alvernia 27
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Tufts 35, at Middlebury 13
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Salve Regina 47, at Endicott 34
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Brockport 49, at Morrisville State 7
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Montclair State 24, at William Paterson 0
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Lycoming 21, at Misericordia 14
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Westminster (Pa.) 21, at Geneva 7
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Averett 22, at Methodist 13
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Franklin and Marshall 34, at Gettysburg 10
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TCNJ 33, at Southern Virginia 30
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Hobart 42, at St. Lawrence 31
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at Bethany 35, St. Vincent 0
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at Lebanon Valley 30, Albright 24
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at Ursinus 31, Dickinson 0
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Hope 33, at Adrian 14
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Shenandoah 27, at Washington and Lee 24
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at Castleton 21, Alfred State 3
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at Albion 35, Olivet 19
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Washington and Jefferson 33, at Waynesburg 14
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Randolph-Macon 48, at Hampden-Sydney 35
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Trine 48, at Kalamazoo 18
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Wittenberg 27, at Wooster 21
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at Emory and Henry 70, Guilford 27
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at Ohio Wesleyan 40, Hiram 12
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at Frostburg State 38, Salisbury 35
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at Maryville (Tenn.) 31, N.C. Wesleyan 14
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Utica 75, at Hartwick 14
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at John Carroll 45, Baldwin Wallace 35
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at Louisiana College 45, Howard Payne 13
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at Minnesota-Morris 21, Greenville 13
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at Concordia (Wis.) 21, Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Coe 26, at Luther 7
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 28, Iowa Wesleyan 0
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at MacMurray 34, St. Scholastica 20
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at Aurora 25, Lakeland 22
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Benedictine 54, at Concordia-Chicago 41
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at Chicago 48, Lake Forest 16
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at Washington U. 44, Carroll 6
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at Wabash 24, DePauw 17
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Delaware Valley 33, at Widener 0
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at Allegheny 47, Oberlin 14
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Capital 33, at Muskingum 28
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at Grove City 42, Thiel 15
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at Heidelberg 49, Ohio Northern 17
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Otterbein 34, at Wilmington 24
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at Mount Union 49, Marietta 7
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at Rose-Hulman 70, Earlham 6
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Hanover 23, at Franklin 20
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Manchester 35, at Anderson 6
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at Bluffton 34, Defiance 7
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Alma 37, at Finlandia 0
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Bridgewater 42, at Ferrum 21
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at Huntingdon 42, LaGrange 14
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Carthage 38, at Augustana 9
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Rhodes 21, at Austin 14
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at Southwestern 59, Texas Lutheran 35
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at Hardin-Simmons 83, McMurry 6
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Gustavus Adolphus 29, at St. Olaf 20
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Centre 56, at Birmingham-Southern 20
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at Hamline 27, Augsburg 9
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at Concordia-Moorhead 51, Carleton 14
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Simpson 56, at Buena Vista 7
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Wartburg 47, at Dubuque 28
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at Martin Luther 47, Crown 18
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Central 37, at Loras 34
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 79, Elmhurst 0
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at St. John's 63, Thomas More 23
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at Millsaps 28, Hendrix 21
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UW-Whitewater 49, at UW-Platteville 21
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Illinois Wesleyan 40, at North Park 13
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Cornell 13, at Lawrence 6
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at St. Norbert 10, Monmouth 7
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at Ripon 38, Knox 19
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Grinnell 41, at Beloit 31
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Illinois College 35, at Macalester 28
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at Bethel 21, St. Thomas 15
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UW-Stevens Point 39, at UW-River Falls 25
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, at East Texas Baptist 15
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at UW-Oshkosh 27, UW-Stout 13
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UW-La Crosse 42, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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Cal Lutheran 58, at Whittier 21
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Pacific Lutheran 28, at Lewis and Clark 14
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at Chapman 55, La Verne 34
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at Redlands 52, Occidental 20
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at Linfield 50, Pacific 7
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at Pomona-Pitzer 24, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 19
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at George Fox 62, Puget Sound 48
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Whitworth 52, at Willamette 0
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Carnegie Mellon 29, at Case Western Reserve 23
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Belhaven 8, at Sul Ross State 0
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Union 34, at RPI 10
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Muhlenberg 53, at Moravian 7
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at Johns Hopkins 42, McDaniel 17
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Brockport 49, at Morrisville State 7
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Trine 48, at Kalamazoo 18
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at Frostburg State 38, Salisbury 35
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Wittenberg 27, at Wooster 21
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Washington and Jefferson 33, at Waynesburg 14
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at John Carroll 45, Baldwin Wallace 35
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Delaware Valley 33, at Widener 0
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at Mount Union 49, Marietta 7
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 79, Elmhurst 0
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at Trinity (Texas) 21, Berry 17
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at Hardin-Simmons 83, McMurry 6
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at St. John's 63, Thomas More 23
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UW-Whitewater 49, at UW-Platteville 21
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at North Central (Ill.) 55, Millikin 12
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Illinois Wesleyan 40, at North Park 13
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at Bethel 21, St. Thomas 15
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, at East Texas Baptist 15
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at Linfield 50, Pacific 7
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Whitworth 52, at Willamette 0
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Carnegie Mellon 29, at Case Western Reserve 23
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