DULUTH, Minn. (csssaints.com) – The St. Scholastica football team set a program record by rushing for 427 yards and Cory Gebhard hauled in three touchdown passes as the Saints cruised to a 47-10 victory over Iowa Wesleyan College in their home opener Saturday evening at Malosky Stadium.
The Saints averaged 8.7 yards per play, while holding the Tigers to just four yards per play. CSS finished with 682 yards of total offense, which is the second-most in a game in program history (700 vs. Presentation, 2011).
This game marked Iowa Wesleyan's first as part of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and its first conference game as a NCAA Division III member. It was also head coach's Tom Parkevich's homecoming to CSS. Parkevich was the defensive coordinator for the Saints from 2008-11.
The Saints got the ball first and drove the ball right down the field and the drive was capped off on a Tyler Harper to Cory Gebhard 29-yard pass connection to make it 7-0.
After the teams traded punts and interceptions, the Tigers got on the board on a 32-yard field goal by Brandon Baker to make it 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. The score was tight despite the fact the Saints out-gained the Tigers in the half 205-57 and ran 13 more plays.
It was the totally the ground game that led CSS's second touchdown to begin the second quarter as Jake Jensen ran the ball five times on the drive and walked in from seven yards out to make it 14-3.
After a three-and-out by Iowa Wesleyan, Harper found Gebhard for a second time this time on 14-yard TD reception to make it 21-3.
The Saints tacked on three more points before the half as Mike Theismann connected on a 42-yard field goal to make the halftime score 24-3 St. Scholastica. The 42-yard field was the second longest in program history.
The CSS defense held the Tigers to just 63 yards of total offense in the first half, while the Saints offense accumulated 373 yards, including 212 yards on the ground. Jensen had 153 yards rushing at the half.
Iowa Wesleyan (0-2, 0-1 UMAC) began the second half by turning it over on downs at the CSS 28-yard-line. On the ensuing possession the Saints converted a third-and-26 when Harper found Gebhard, who made a couple of people miss to gain 27 yards on the play. That drive ended when Harper found Mitch O'Neil for a 20-yard TD reception to make it 31-3.
Harper threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day and the third to Gebhard on CSS's next possession from 19 yards out to make it 38-3 at the end of the third quarter.
A Chris Gassert 73-yard run setup a 32-yard Theismann field goal early in the fourth quarter to extend the CSS lead to 41-3. The 73-yard run was the third-longest rush in program history. Gassert then scored the final Saints touchdown of the day on a 37-yard scamper to make it 47-3. Iowa Wesleyan added a late touchdown to make the final score 47-10.
Harper finished the day 20-of-28 through the air for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Harper also ran for 72 yards on 10 attempts. Gebhard had seven receptions for 121 yards and three scores. His three TD receptions tied a program record. Jensen carried the ball 23 times for 174 yards and a score. Gassert had just four carries for 112 yards and a score.
The defense was led by Alex Mangan, who finished with six tackles. Blake Cedarleaf recorded three sacks on the day, which is the second-most in program history. The CSS defense finished with six sacks, which was one shy of the program record. Mike LaValley had the one interception for the Saints.
The Saints (1-1, 1-0 UMAC) will be at Crown College's new stadium next Saturday in St. Bonifacius. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the action can be heard live on Saints Sports Net.