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

NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco - LP: S. Romo 9 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 10
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 4
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 4
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86
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 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
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: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close