Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It might have been hard to tell the St. Thomas football team had won by looking at players and coaches after they left Klas Field at Hamline University on Saturday.
The Tommies, ranked No. 3 in the nation, survived six turnovers in a 51-9 win over the Pipers to remain unbeaten on the season. They’re fortunate that they had more talent than Hamline across the board to overcome the miscues, and a potentially key injury to quarterback Matt O’Connell. It was a needed win as the Tommies remain the lone undefeated team in the MIAC with Bethel a game behind at 4-1.
Augsburg, the next opponent for St. Thomas, hung tough with Concordia (Moorhead) Saturday before falling 38-31.
O’Connell managed to throw a pair of touchdown passes to Logan Marx to give St. Thomas an early 14-3 lead before he left the game in the second quarter with an injury. Coach Glenn Caruso said after the game that the injury wasn’t serious and O’Connell could’ve played if he was needed.
Back-up Ben Duncan stepped in with 185 passing yards and a touchdown. He also caught a touchdown pass on a trick play and ran for a score. But Duncan also threw four interceptions. Marx finished with three catches for 25 yards and two touchdowns, and tight end Matt Allen added another score on a 36-yard play.
Jack Kaiser led the Tommies on the ground with four carries for 103 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown.
It was the St. Thomas defense that paved the way to victory in this game. The Tommies allowed just 210 total yards, including only 65 on the ground and 11 total first downs.
Even though it was a win, the Tommies couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with how they played in the game. They know they’ll have to play better to beat Augsburg this week and keep their MIAC title hopes alive.
The more concerning aspect with the number of turnovers is it’s the second time in three weeks the Tommies have had six turnovers on offense. It’s something that must be addressed and cleaned up. St. Thomas won’t be able to really on being more athletic and better skill-wise this week as it was against Hamline.
Augsburg lost a close 21-20 game this year to Bethel, pummeled St. John’s 48-17, beat St. Olaf on the road and suffered a tough loss to Concordia last week. The Auggies are a team that will be competitive against everybody they play.
The Tommies Blog will preview that match-up later this week, which is slated for a 1:10 p.m. kickoff at O’Shaughnessy Stadium in St. Paul.