Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There were several smiling faces on the field after the St. Thomas football team got done with a dominating Homecoming performance on Saturday at O’Shaughnessy Stadium.
The Tommies, ranked No. 6 in Division III, piled up nearly 700 yards of total offense and had seven different players score touchdowns in a 65-6 win over the Knights to claim their first MIAC win of the season. St. Thomas was without starting quarterback Matt O’Connell, who missed the game due to illness and was also reportedly not feeling well in the Tommies loss to St. John’s two weeks ago.
Plenty of reserves stepped into lead St. Thomas to the victory. And it was a game where, with a 37-0 lead at the half, Glenn Caruso could use a lot of different faces and combinations to get a good look at his talent in case other starters go down. The 65 points St. Thomas scored was a record, being the most since the Tommies put up 63 against St. John’s in 2011. They also put up 63 against Hamline in 2009 and Augsburg in 1989. The 697 yards of total offense topped their record mark of 636 against UW-River Falls last year.
The St. Thomas defense was just as impressive, pitching a shutout until the final minutes of regulation and allowing only 153 yards of total offense. That number includes just 29 yards rushing. Carleton also went only 2-for-12 in third down conversions.
St. Thomas had three quarterbacks see action in the lopsided contest. Alex Fenske went 13-of-17 for 208 yards, while John Gould went 9-of-12 for 127 yards. All of the Tommies’ scores came on the ground. Brenton Braddock, Nick Waldvogel and Jack Kaiser all had two touchdowns, while Fenske, Dominic Truoccolo and Garrett Englehardt each had one. Gould led the Tommies with 95 yards rushing.
St. Thomas also had three interceptions on the day, one each from Sean Hamline, Jeff Rada and Tremayne William. The Tommies had six tackles for a loss.
It was exactly the type of performance the Tommies were looking for, coming off a bye week after a heartbreaking loss to rival St. John’s. Even with one MIAC loss, the conference race is still very wide open for the regular season champion. Through three conference weeks, Bethel and Concordia are tied at the top at 2-0. That will change this week as the two teams meet in Moorhead for Concordia’s homecoming on Saturday.
St. John’s, Augsburg and Gustavus are all 2-1, and the Tommies head to St. Peter to take on the Gusties this week at 1-1. Assuming they beat Gustavus, St. Thomas has a huge match-up at Bethel in two weeks. The Tommies also host Concordia in November in a game that could be huge in the MIAC standings.
For now, Caruso is looking to build off a dominating performance in every phase that was also clean with just one turnover.
In the other games last weekend, Gustavus took care of Hamline 52-7, St. John’s shut out St. Olaf 31-0 and Augsburg rallied but came up just short to Bethel 31-28.
Check back to the with the WCCO Tommies Blog later this week as we preview the Tommies road trip to St. Peter to take on Gustavus.