/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

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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