Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the second time this season, the St. Thomas football team got a lopsided win on its home field the week after a tough loss in the MIAC.
Back in Week 4, the Tommies crushed Carleton 65-6 one week after a devastating 20-18 loss to St. John’s in their MIAC opener. St. Thomas suffered a tough 28-21 loss at Bethel last weekl, and it was followed by a dominating 43-7 win over Hamline on Saturday.
Alex Fenske tossed four touchdown passes on the day and finished with 360 yards passing. John Gould, more of a running quarterback, rushed for 131 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Tommies (5-2, 3-2) led 29-0 at the half.
It was exactly what St. Thomas needed as it prepares for a crucial MIAC game at Augsburg this Saturday. The Tommies dominated at the line of scrimmage and produced more than 600 yards of total offense for the second time this season. In the win over Carleton, St. Thomas had nearly 700 yards of offense.
The St. Thomas defensive unit was just as dominant. The Tommies allowed 235 yards of offense in the win, with just 51 coming through the air. Austin Duncan, one of the better running backs in the MIAC, led the Pipers with 190 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Tommies limited the Pipers to 11 first downs, with just two coming in the passing game.
Elsewhere in the MIAC on Saturday, there were no real surprises. Bethel remains on top of the league after pulling away from Gustavus in the second half for a 41-17 victory. The Royals remain a top-five team nationally and should be unbeaten heading into their regular season finale at St. John’s. Bethel travels to Hamline this week and hosts St. Olaf in two weeks. It will be heavily favored to beat the bottom two in the MIAC.
Concordia beat Augsburg 47-20 and remains in a second-place tie with St. John’s at 4-1 in the MIAC. The Johnnies had a bye this week. The best-case scenario for St. Thomas to reach the postseason remains intact. The Tommies need to win their final three games and have Bethel win the MIAC. If St. Thomas can finish with two conference losses, it has a decent chance at an at-large playoff berth.
One notable thing from the Tommies’ win over Hamline was the abundance of success in the passing game. St. Thomas passed for nearly 400 yards, with Dan Noehring, Nick Waldvogel and Greg Kriege all catching touchdowns from Fenske. Dan Ferrazzo led the Tommies in receiving with six catches for 100 yards
Waldvogel was St. Thomas’s top rusher who wasn’t playing quarterback as he finished with 11 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown. Brenton Braddock also ran six times for 25 yards. Jack Kaiser, who had been the Tommies’ top running option as of late, did not play.
It’s been a bit of an unusual year for St. Thomas. For the first time since Glenn Caruso’s first year as coach, the Tommies have more than on MIAC loss. And when they went down 14-0 at Bethel last week, it was their largest deficit against a MIAC opponent in Caruso’s tenure as head coach.
St. Thomas will have a tough match-up at Augsburg Saturday, which we will preview later this week. The Auggies (4-3, 3-3) have a deceiving record as two of their three league losses were by a combined five points to Bethel and St. John’s, the top two teams in the MIAC. The Auggies feature one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the MIAC in Ayrton Scott, but the Tommies have won three of their past four games.
Current MIAC Standings
Bethel (7-0, 5-0)
Concordia (6-1, 4-1)
St. John’s (6-1, 4-1)
St. Thomas (5-2, 3-2)
Augsburg (4-3, 3-3)
Carleton (4-3, 2-3)
Gustavus (4-3, 2-3)
Hamline (2-5, 1-5)
St. Olaf (1-7, 0-6)