Senior QB Alex Fenske threw for three touchdowns and 229 yards in just over two quarters and the host Tommies slowed Coe All-America RB candidate Trevor Heitland in Saturday's 55-6 win in round two of the NCAA Division III football playoffs at O'Shaughnessy Stadium.
UST (12-0) improved to 16-1 in home playoff games under Coach Glenn Caruso and handed the Kohawks (11-1) their first defeat of 2016.
The Tommies improved to 6-0 in NCAA second-round games under Caruso and reached the national quarterfinals for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. Caruso's nine-year St. Thomas record climbed to 99-14. UST will play 11-1 UW-Oshkosh next Saturday at noon, most likely at UST's Palmer Field.
Seven different Tommies scored touchdowns, including six different players crossing the goal in a 20:32 span of the first half.
The UST defense limited Coe to 56 net rushing yards on 38 carries. St. Thomas has allowed just three touchdowns in its last 22 quarters since mid-October and has held 12 opponents to 61.9 net rushing yards a contest.
UST senior CB Michael Alada had his 11th interception of the season -- a total that leads all NCAA players at all four levels. It broke a 33-year-old school record of 10 pickoffs held by Neal Guggemos, who went on to a five-year NFL career.
Backup LB Dylan Andrew, a converted quarterback, had his second interception in as many games.
In building a 41-0 halftime lead, the Tommie defense had three interceptions and limited Coe to 2-of-13 on third and fourth downs in their nine first-half possessions. On the game St. Thomas had two sacks among seven tackles for loss as well as 10 quarterback hurries and four breaks ups.
Heitland was coming off a 251-yard rushing day one week earlier against Monmouth but Saturday managed 43 rushing yards on 24 carries and closed with 80 rushing/receiving yards on 29 touches.
The Tommie offense rolled up 605 yards of offense, and just missed getting two 100-yard individual rushers. Tucker Trettel's 83-yard TD run helped him collect 102 yards on nine carries. Josh Parks had TD runs of 4 and 25 yards and finished with 99 yards on 12 carries. Fenske finished 16-of-23 for 229 yards and no interceptions as he improved to 16-1 on his career as a starter.
The Tommies lost a fumble on their first possession at the UST 29, but three plays later Andrew picked off a fourth-down Coe pass and returned the ball 52 yards to the Coe 24. That set up the first TD, a 13-yard Fenske to Luke Iverson pass.
The Tommies stopped Coe for a loss of three on 4th and 1 at the Coe 45. On the first UST play, Fenske hit Joe Reed for a 42-yard scoring pass to push the lead to 13-0. Another interception by Alada and a return to midfield set up a seven-play scoring drive that pushed the lead 20-0 after one quarter.
Coe scored on its first play of the second half on a 66-yard bomb from Gavin Glenn to Seth Williams. Terrence Hall led the Coe defense with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery, a break up and a QB hurry.