Takeaways, toughness lead Football Homecoming win

Photo by Haley Staffon
Photo by Haley Staffon

Junior running back Tucker Trettel rushed for 86 yards, including touchdown dashes of nine and two yards, and the Tommie defense limited No. 15-ranked Concordia-Moorhead to 108 yards and six first downs in Saturday's 21-0 shutout win for the No. 6-ranked Tommies on Homecoming at Palmer Field in O'Shaughnessy Stadium.

St. Thomas (5-1 overall, 4-0 MIAC), which had just one turnover, ran its win streak over conference opponents to 24 games. It took a one-game lead in the MIAC race -- plus a tie-breaker -- with four games to go.

Junior linebacker Adam Brant recovered two fumbles on the Cobber side of the field, and both set up touchdowns. On his second recovery, Brant scooped it and returned it 22 yards to the Cobbber two-yard-line for a clinching third-quarter score by Trettel.

Junior QB Jacques Perra threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Hull as the Toms took a 14-0 halftime lead. Perra also punted four times for a 40-yard average on fourth-down quick quicks that pinned the Cobbers.

It was the second shutout by the Tommies in conference play. In 55 opponent offensive drives in its 4-0 MIAC start, St. Thomas has allowed just six touchdowns, all by pass, and only 37 first downs.

UST has only allowed one rush longer than 10 yards against conference foes, a 17-yarder by Eric Johnson Saturday in the fourth quarter. Johnson came in averaging 146 rushing yards a game, and rushed for 146 yards last season aaginst the Tommies, but he was held to 55 yards on 16 carries on Saturday.

The Cobbers (4-1, 2-1) played without injured senior starting QB Michael Herzog, who has a 16-5 record as a starter. The Cobbers lost three fumbles and never crossed midfield against the UST defense. It was the first time Concordia was shutout since the 2006 season. Concordia's average starting position was its own 22-yard line, including four drives starting between the seven and 13 yard lines.

The Tommie defense had 11 tackles for loss, including four sacks, allowed just 3-of-14 on third-down conversions, and allowed just 78 net rushing yards on 38 carries. St. Thomas has allowed just 84 net rushing yards on 108 carries in its 4-0 MIAC start.

Isaac Seering had a fumble recovery and one break-up, and Austin Jochum had a forced fumble and a sack. Mark Dowdle had a pass break-up and a tackle for loss, and blew up two screen passes on third downs with tackles that forced punts.

Concordia's defense limited St. Thomas to 277 total yards and 15 first downs and recorded four sacks. Dallas Raftevold had a fumble recovery and was in on 11 tackles.

Thanks to turnovers and good field position, the Toms' three touchdown drives covered just 43, 49 and two yards. Perra completed 11-of-23 passes for 120 yards and one TD with no pickoffs, and a couple of dropped passes. Josh Parks, Jeremy Molina and Jordan Roberts combined for 133 rushing and receiving yards on 25 touches. Vinny Pallini had three catches for 46 yards.

St. Thomas has a bye weekend Oct. 14 and plays Oct. 21 at Hamline.