Reusse: Tommies shrug off small bit of trouble, roll past Johnnies

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2012 - 4:44 AM

view larger photos

  

COLLEGEVILLE, MINN. - St. Thomas arrived at Clemens Stadium on Saturday with consecutive MIAC titles, with 18 victories in a row in conference games and 26 in a row in the regular season.

The Tommies found themselves in trouble in the first half. The trouble lasted for roughly five minutes.

Down 14-7 early in the second quarter, the Tommies scored the next 29 points, and went from there to a 43-21 pasting of St. John's. That gave them a third consecutive victory over St. John's for the first time since 1954.

John Gagliardi was in his second season at St. John's that fall. He is in his 60th season at St. John's this fall.

This was his 600th game as the coach of the Johnnies. And if that wasn't enough inspiration, St. John's also brought in as many of its living All-America honorees as could be mustered. Fifty-five of 80 accepted the invitation, and they were introduced to the announced crowd of 14,286 at halftime.

The Tommies had taken some pizzazz out of the festivity by scoring with 1.7 seconds on the first-half clock. This is how things got there:

Sophomore Matt O'Connell, the starting quarterback after a year of apprenticeship under Dakota Tracy, threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to an open Dan Noehring on the Tommies' first play from scrimmage.

St. John's came back with drives of 80 and 82 yards to go in front 14-7 in the first minute of the second quarter. When O'Connell followed with an interception to cornerback Bobby Fischer, that's when the spectators might have shared the thought:

"The Tommies are in trouble.''

It wasn't a view shared on the St. Thomas sideline. The Tommies defense -- fierce in its pursuit of St. John's quarterback Connor Bruns throughout the afternoon -- forced a punt.

There was 9:39 left in the half and the Tommies went 80 yards in 11 plays. And then Glenn Caruso, the coach responsible for St. Thomas' gigantic turnaround, had holder Dan Ferrazzo run it in for a two-point conversion.

The Tommies had more trickery before the end of the half. They drove to the Johnnies 7 with seven seconds left. And they had a play for the occasion: O'Connell rolls right, then throws across the field to Logan Marks standing in the front corner of the end zone.

"We ran that same play for the third touchdown when we played 'em last year,'' Marks said. "That one just came a lot earlier in the game.''

True. The Tommies led 49-0 at halftime a year ago, on the way to a 63-7 carnage that was the most lopsided ever for St. Thomas vs. St. John's.

This touchdown hurt more, since it made a difference. The decades of All-Americas had to make the ceremonial walk under a scoreboard that read: St. Thomas 22 St. John's 14.

Really, it wasn't much of a contest after that. There were multiple Tommies charging toward Bruns most any time he tried to throw. And the Johnnies couldn't run at all -- 26 yards in the first quarter, a minus-2 rushing the rest of the game.

The Johnnies kept shuffling offensive linemen and never found an effective combination.

The Tommies didn't have that problem. O'Connell had time to throw, and O'Connell and Ryan Toney had some room to run. Toney squeezed into the end zone three times -- from 1, 5 and 7 yards.

Touchdown Toney?

"I like that,'' the sophomore from Dublin, Calif., said. "I'll take that nickname.''

St. John's had one moment of life late in the third quarter: O'Connell's pass floated to Fischer for an interception at the Tommies 17. Turns out, the intended receiver fell down.

The Johnnies scored in one play, but with no running game and no pass protection, it was a short-lived rally.

When it was over, Caruso followed his post-victory tradition: He went to the stands where the undergraduate seminarians congregate and they all sang Caruso's original composition, "On the Corner of Cretin and Summit.''

Meantime, Gagliardi was digesting the 128th loss in his 600 games at St. John's. Asked about the Tommies, he offered an observation that opponents had aimed at his teams many times:

"I don't know where they have a weakness, to be honest with you.''

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. preusse@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Area roundup: UMD gains 675 yards in rout of Concordia

    Sunday September 16, 2012

    Minnesota Duluth scored on its first 10 series and rolled up a school-record 675 yards Saturday in beating Concordia (St. Paul) 70-24 in St. Paul.

  • MIAC roundup: Augsburg slips past Gustavus

    Sunday September 16, 2012

    Hakeem Bourne-McFarlane caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Ayrton Scott as the clock expired to lift Augsburg to a 26-24 victory over Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter on Saturday.

  • St. Thomas quarterback Matt O'Connell (11) hurdles several St. John's...

  • ST. THOMAS 43, ST. JOHN'S 21

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close