St. Thomas succeeds in stopping run -- in spades

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 14, 2012 - 7:47 AM

The Tommies neutralized Bethel to remain as the only undefeated team in the MIAC.

view larger photos


The St. Thomas defense didn't plan anything unusual for Saturday's homecoming game against Bethel. "We just wanted to stop the run," linebacker Harry Pitera said. "That's our bread and butter."

Given the way the Tommies played, they didn't need to resort to any tricks. Third-ranked St. Thomas held No. 7 Bethel to 160 total yards in a 37-0 pummeling at O'Shaughnessy Stadium, dominating the Royals from start to finish. St. Thomas (6-0, 4-0 MIAC) allowed Bethel only 19 total yards and no first downs in the first half, preventing the Royals (5-1, 3-1) from crossing midfield until late in the third quarter.

The Tommies offense did its part, too, controlling the ball for long stretches to give the defense plenty of rest. Quarterback Matt O'Connell did much of the work, running for a game-high 89 yards and completing 19 of 31 passes for 163 more. Bethel finished with 31 rushing yards and never got past the St. Thomas 46-yard line.

The victory leaves St. Thomas as the only undefeated team in the MIAC, putting it in position to claim its third consecutive league championship.

"We knew it would take an unbelievable effort, and that's what we got," Tommies coach Glenn Caruso said. "Our guys were ready to peak at the right time. It was a tremendously dominating performance."

Caruso said the statistic that impressed him the most was that the St. Thomas defense was only on the field for 16 plays in the first half. O'Connell patiently ran the offense, directing time-eating drives that led to a 24-0 advantage at halftime.

Bethel was struck quickly by some bad luck after forcing the Tommies to punt on their first possession. Garrett Maloney's kick hit the heel of Royals cornerback David O'Reilly, and the Tommies' Ryan Deitz pounced on the ball at the Bethel 14. Three plays later, Aaron Terrell-Byrd scored on a 1-yard run.

The Tommies made it 14-0 with 5 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the first quarter. O'Connell ran the ball to the Bethel 1-yard line and fumbled, but teammate Dan Noehring recovered in the end zone. While the defense bottled up Bethel running backs Jesse Phenow and Brandon Marquardt, the Tommies tacked on a Griffin Snyder field goal, and O'Connell hit Cole Kelly with a 5-yard touchdown pass with only 9 seconds left in the half.

Caruso found plenty of other stats to like, too. St. Thomas amassed a big advantage in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 22 minutes in the first half and 40:38 for the game. It turned the ball over only once, while Bethel lost one fumble and quarterback Erik Peterson threw a pair of interceptions. The Royals also were penalized eight times for 94 yards.

The only blemish on the day for St. Thomas was an injury to Noehring, who hurt his knee in the first half and did not return to the game. Caruso said the extent of the injury had yet to be determined.

  • related content

  • MIAC: Augsburg slips past St. Olaf

    Sunday October 14, 2012

    Jarise Washington rushed for a school-record 245 yards and four touchdowns to help Augsburg outlast St. Olaf 45-37 Saturday in Northfield.

  • St. Thomas Brenton Braddock celebrated with teammates after scoring a...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question