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Football starts slow, finishes fast in home win

Football starts slow, finishes fast in home win

Senior All-America RB Jordan Roberts had 100 yards of offense on 23 touches and the No. 5-ranked and host Tommies scored 42 points in a row after an early deficit to defeat UW-Eau Claire 47-13 in non-conference football Saturday at Palmer Field in O'Shaughnessy Stadium.

Junior QB Jacques Perra made his first college start and completed 17-of-32 passes for 202 yards with one TD and no interceptions. Perra also rushed for TDs of 19 and five yards.

St. Thomas (1-0) gave 10th-year head coach Glenn Caruso his 100th victory with the program. Caruso is now 100-15 with the Tommies, including a 19-0 record in regular-season non-conference play. The Toms have won 24 consecutive regular-season games.

St. Thomas fell behind 6-0 on quarterback J.T. DenHartog's 65-yard bootleg run just 2:30 into the game. The extra point was no good.

UST scored the next 21 points to take a 21-6 halftime lead, then scored the first 21 points of the second half.

Eau Claire (0-1) got a 75-yard TD pass from DenHartog to LeeShaun Evans to cut the lead to 42-13 in the final quarter. 

The Tommie defense had three sacks, recorded a safety, limited the visitors to 1-of-13 on third downs, and recorded seven consecutive three-and-outs by the Blugolds from the mid-first quarter into the fourth quarter. Of Eau Claire's 220 total yards, 140 came on just two plays.

DenHartog had 180 yards of offense, including 120 passing yards on 9-of-17 attempts and no pickoffs. On defense, UWEC's Cameron Swanson had a forced fumble, two pass break ups and 10 tackles.

The Toms finished with 393 yards of offense. Roberts rushed 20 times for 72 yards and caught three passes for 28 yards. He tallied his 40th and 41st touchdowns in his 18-game St. Thomas career. Senior tight end Matt Christenson had a 19-yard tying TD in the first quarter.

UST's Dylan Andrew had a sack among seven tackles for loss and a pass breakup, and also threw a two-point pass in the first half off of a fake.

On special teams, UST sophomore Vinny Pallini had punt returns of 29 and 33 yards in the second quarter, the latter setting up a four-play, 17-yard touchdown drive. Tommie junior Carter Schmitz converted a 47-yard field goal in the final quarter -- the first made field goal of his career.

St. Thomas plays Sept. 9 at UW-Stout.