SPOKANE, Wash. (csssaints.com) – Whitworth University scored 21 points off of CSS turnovers as the St. Scholastica football team fell to the Pirates 36-7 in the season opener Saturday at the Pine Bowl.
This was the first game out of the central time zone for the Saints in program history and the first time the team took a flight to play a game. CSS is now 2-4 all-time in season openers.
The Pirates had the ball first and drove the ball down the field before the Saints held them on downs after an incomplete pass on fourth-and-one at the CSS 17. On CSS's first possession, the Saints were forced into a third and long and would be intercepted on a pass down the field.
Whitworth capitalized on the turnover and after converting a fourth down this time rushed it in from six yards out to make it 7-0 with 5:27 left in the first quarter. The Saints would be intercepted on their next possession as well and the Pirates scored on the first play on a D.J. Tripoli 14-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
The Pirates began the second quarter with a 38-yard pass play setting up a one-yard Tripoli touchdown to make it 20-0. The Pirates scored one more time just before halftime when Bryan Peterson connected with Devon Lind for a 16-yard reception to make the halftime score 27-0 Whitworth.
The Pirates out-gained the Saints 289-58 in the half, including 101-31 on the ground. CSS had just three first downs in the first 30 minutes, while Whitworth had 14.
The third quarter would go scoreless as the CSS defense had a couple of nice holds, getting to the quarterback twice in the quarter. The Saints had something going offensively at the end of a quarter, but the drive ended on a fumble around midfield.
After Ryan Tollerud recovered a Whitworth fumble, the Saints threw a third interception, which was returned for a touchdown, but the score was negated by holding penalty. However, Whitworth got inside the CSS 5-yard-line on a 33-yard pass completion on its first play. The drive was capped off by Tripoli's third TD score of the day.
The Saints finally got on the board late when backup quarterback Ian Papenheim found Cory Gebhard for a 19-yard touchdown reception. Mike Theismann tacked on the extra point to make it 34-7. The Saints still have not been shutout in program history. The Pirates had a late sack for a safety to make the final score 36-7.
The Saints were out-gained in the game 407-200. The Pirates averaged 17 yards per completion and converted 12-of-22 third downs.
Tyler Harper was 14-for-24 through the air for 72 yards. Jake Jensen was held to 34 yards on the ground and Chris Gassert added 25 yards. Gebhard led the receiving corps with five receptions for 55 yards and had the one touchdown. Nick Murphy had six receptions for 25 yards. Alec French led the defense with 10 tackles. Tyler Zurn had two sacks.
Bryan Peterson threw for 259 yards and Devon Lind had six receptions for 113 yards for the Pirates.
The Saints will have their home opener next Saturday when they host Iowa Wesleyan University at UMD's Malosky Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m.Watch all of the action live on Saints Sports Net.