-Season-opener for MacMurray
-The Saints improve to 6-0 all-time vs. MacMurray
-CSS' Bloomquist records 10 tackles, three sacks and an interception
-The CSS defense has held its first two opponents to 14 punts
-22nd straight UMAC victory for St. Scholastica
DULUTH, Minn. (csssaints.com) – The St. Scholastica football team held MacMurray College (Ill.) to 46 yards of offense in the second half to win its home and conference opener at Public Schools Stadium on Saturday 22-10.
The Saints would be forced to punt on its opening possession, but Jason Senger pinned the Highlanders at the 1-yard-line with a 43-yard punt. However, the Highlanders drove into CSS territory thanks to a 46-yard scamper by Patrick Hall, who finished third in the conference in rushing last season. Later on the drive, John Mike intercepted a MacMurray pass in the end zone on a fourth-and-4 as the Saints kept the game scoreless.
After another CSS punt, the Saints recorded another interception as Mason Bloomquist snagged a deflected ball out of the air and returned it to the MacMurray 9-yard-line. On the very next play, Preston Robinson ran it in for a 9-yard touchdown. The point-after would be blocked as the score stood at 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Highlanders put together a solid drive on its next possession, converting three third downs, but would have to settle for a 26-yard field to make the score 6-3.
St. Scholastica responded with a 20-play, 62-yard drive that consumed 9:14 on the clock. However, like MacMurray, the Saints had to settle for three points when Donovan Blatz drilled a 30-yard field goal to make it 9-3 with four minutes remaining in the half.
After the CSS forced a three-and-out, Dakota Paulson found Nick Murphy for a 19-yard touchdown reception with minute to go before the break. The point-after attempt was once again blocked and the score stood at 15-3.
In the final minute before halftime, MacMurray got a fortunate bounce off a Hail Mary attempt where the ball was deflected into the hands of Seth Stanton who was tackled at the 3-yard-line. On the final play before the half, Dervon Francis plunged in from a yard out to make the halftime score 15-10.
MacMurray, who won the coin toss, but deferred to the second half had all the momentum leaving the locker room and was receiving the ball first. However, head coach Kurt Ramler had other plans as Blatz executed and recovered his own onside kick.
Later in the third quarter, the Saints put together an 11-play, 76-yard drive that culminated in a Preston Robinson 11-yard touchdown run to make it 22-10. A key play on the drive was a 13-yard completion to Hunter Thompson on a third-and-long.
The Saints defense held it from there as the Highlanders recorded only 14 yards of offense in the fourth quarter as the Saints prevailed 22-10.
Key Team Stats
Total Yards: CSS-321, MacMurray-277 (140 in the first quarter alone)
Rushing Yards: CSS-220, MacMurray-165
Sacks: CSS-4, MacMurray-0
Interceptions: CSS-0, MacMurray-3
Punts Inside the 20: CSS-3, MacMurray 0
Top Performances for CSS
Mason Bloomquist recorded 10 tackles, including three sacks, an interception and a quarterback hurry. Mitch Ejnik led the defense with 11 tackles. Preston Robinson ran for 137 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. Ben Buthe had four receptions for 34 yards. Dakota Paulson was 11-of-20 for 101 yards and also ran for 30 yards.
Top Performances for the Opponents
Patrick Hall ran for 106 yards on 18 carries. Cory Farneti had led the Highlanders with 13 tackles.
The Saints will be on the road at Eureka College (Ill.) for a 1 p.m. kickoff next Saturday.