Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If what Glenn Caruso said last week about football teams and improving between their first and second games rings true, then the sky is the limit for the St. Thomas football team.
A week after escaping UW-Eau Claire with a 27-24 victory, the Tommies dominated UW-River Falls Saturday in a home opening 43-9 victory at O’Shaughnessy Stadium in St. Paul. St. Thomas collected 636 yards of offense and scored the game’s first 22 points to take control.
Sophomore quarterback Matt O’Connell passed for 403 yards and two scores, and Dan Ferrazzo had a stat line that would make fantasy football rubes blush. Ferrazzo had 10 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown, which was an acrobatic play off a deep pass deflected by a defender.
Aaron Terrell-Byrd also had 11 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown in the win. Caruso is now 26-2 at home over 4+ seasons.
UW-River Falls went exclusively to the passing game once they trailed. Ryan Kusilek completed 39 of his 74 passing attempts for 342 yards and one score. The Falcons had -13 rushing yards on the day.
Josh Carey led a balanced defensive attack with five tackles, while Jack Gavin, Riley Heffelfinger and Julio Vasquez all had four tackles. Gavin and Chinni Oji also had interceptions.
It was exactly the kind of performance the Tommies were looking for after battling in their season-opening win. The main thing to clean up: Penalties. After committing 13 in their first game, St. Thomas committed 10 for 92 yards.
It sets up a juggernaut of a MIAC opener for St. Thomas, which jumped to No. 6 in the latest Division III national poll. The Tommies travel to Clemens Stadium to take on rival St. John’s. The Johnnies went to UW-Eau Claire Saturday and snuck out a 31-28 victory to improve to 2-0 on the season.
It’s a 1 p.m. kickoff in Collegeville, and WCCO Radio will have you covered with Dave Lee on the play-by-play and Eric Nelson providing color commentary from the sidelines. In the past, the rivalry game has attracted more than 10,000 fans.