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MIAC Football Week Seven: Understudies Lead the Way

floated rightby Rich Mies, CSN Mapping the MIAC Columnist

With league-leading Saint John’s enjoying a bye, Week Seven of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football race was a week of jockeying for position. Three former backup quarterbacks (Dakota Tracy, Reid Velo and Michael Dunham) led their team to victory. St. Thomas and Bethel remained within striking range should SJU falter. The Tommies hammered Augsburg, 42-3, and the Royals dispatched Gustavus, 33-21. Elsewhere, Hamline blasted past Carleton, 34-17, and Concordia made it two in a row, nipping St. Olaf, 17-14.

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FEATURED GAME

ST. THOMAS 42, AUGSBURG 3

The Tommies dominated from start to finish, racking up 519 yards in total offense while picking off five passes en route to a 42-3 rout of the Auggies in front of 1,150 at O’Shaughnessy Stadium in St. Paul. The win avenged a 22-20 loss to Augsburg last year and was UST’s 19th consecutive home win over the Auggies.

St. Thomas rolled up 308 yards rushing, led by Ben Wartman with 108. It was the 14th time Wartman has gone over the century mark. Colin Tobin added 102 yards on the ground. Dakota Tracy, looking poised and relaxed in his first collegiate start under center, completed 15-of-22 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one interception but was not sacked. (Hear Tracy talk about the game here)

Fritz Waldvogel finished the day with 188 all-purpose yards, including six receptions for 71 yards and a TD. He added an 87-yard touchdown by returning the game’s opening kick for a score. It was the second week in a row Waldvogel has returned the opening kick for a TD.

The Tommie defense recorded five interceptions, with Wyatt Delgado, Brady Ervin, Kirk Baglien, Tommy Becker and Mike Valesano each snaring a pickoff. They held Augsburg to 105 yards on the ground.

Marcus Brumm completed 22-of-49 passes for 219 yards. Muneer Al-Hameed led the way with eight catches for 91 yards, while Mike Nourie added eight receptions for 88 yards.

Waldvogel got the game started with a bang. He caught the opening kick at the UST 13, cut to his left and followed the sideline, dodging would-be tacklers. He faked one last defender out near the Auggie ten and scampered into the end zone.

Augsburg drove down to the St. Thomas 22 before stalling. They sent in Jack Christopherson, who split the uprights from 40 yards out to pull the Auggies within 7-3.

The Tommies took the ensuing kick and marched back down field, Facing third-and-19 from the Augsburg 21, Tracy dropped back to pass. The line gave him excellent protection, allowing him to scan left and right before spotting Wartman open up the middle. He lofted the ball to Wartman in the end zone to give UST a 14-3 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Tracy engineered a 66-yard drive that he capped by connecting with Waldvogel from 18-yards out. Waldvogel took the pass near the line of scrimmage, raced towards the goal line He spun free from a would-be tackler and dove into the end zone.

Later in the same quarter, UST took possession at its own 46 after Baglien’s interception. Six plays later, Tracy pitched to Wartman, who rolled wide to his left. As he neared the goal line, he leapt over a defender and into pay dirt, giving UST a 28-3 lead at the half.

Early in the third quarter, the Tommies pushed the lead to 35-3 as Tracy faked a handoff and rolled to his right. He spotted Jake Friederichs wide open near the end zone. He fired the ball to him for the score.

UST added an insurance score in the final stanza. Back-up quarterback Greg Morse handed off to Tobin, who in turn handed off to Tony Margarit, who lofted a rainbow pass to a wide-open Morse for the game’s final touchdown.

St. Thomas was whistled for 14 penalties and assessed 159 yards for the infractions. Still, Coach Glenn Caruso was happy with the win. (Listen to Coach Glenn Caruso discuss the game here)

With the win, St. Thomas improves to 6-1 in MIAC play and 7-1 overall. The Tommies conclude the MIAC portion of their schedule on Saturday at Bethel, in a big showdown that could secure a playoff berth for the winner.

Augsburg is now 3-3 in conference play and 4-4 on the season. The Auggies host Saint John’s on Saturday in the HHH Metrodome.

BETHEL 33, GUSTAVUS 21

The Royals outscored the Gusties 26-7 in the middle two quarters to cruise to a 33-21 win before 1,021 at Hollingsworth Field in St. Peter.

Dusty Wahl punched it into the end zone three times to lead Bethel. Logan Flannery racked up 102 net yards rushing, Backup quarterback Reid Velo, filling in for an injured Josh Aakre, converted 12 of 19 passes for 214 yards. He threw one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Joel Quick had seven catches for 131 yards and the TD.

For the Gusties, Jordan Becker rushed for 58 yards. He also threw for 184 yards, completing nine of 24 attempts. He was sacked four times and threw three interceptions. Muresuk Mena hauled in three passes for 39 yards and Cody Sukalski had a pair of catches totaling 91 yards.

Bethel threatened to score early, but GAC’s Joe Welch picked off a Velo pass in the end zone to mute the threat. The Gusties took over at their 20, and six snaps later, Becker broke free from the Bethel 43 for the game’s first touchdown.

That lead held until early in the second stanza when Velo connected with Quick for a 38-yard scoring play to tie the game. After getting the ball back after a Gustavus punt, Velo connected with Kevin Lindh for a 62-yard gain. Two snaps later, Wahl muscled in from two yards out, putting BU on top, 14-7, a margin that held up into the intermission.

Early in the third quarter, Gustavus’ Paul Stommes stepped in front of a Velo pass at the Bethel 40. He raced into the end zone to tie the game.

Things got wild midway through the third quarter. First, David Vavra picked off a Becker pass and returned it 55 yards before being drug down at the GAC three. On the first play, Wahl got the call and he bulldozed through the line for the TD, but the PAT failed. Two plays later, Bethel forced a fumble and the Royals’ David Benjamin recovered the ball at the GAC 29. Six plays later, Wahl plunged in from two yards out. Bethel went for two, but the pass fell incomplete, leaving them with a 26-14 lead.

Late in the fourth quarter, Bethel’s Tim Cornish picked off his second pass of the day. He scampered 25 yards for a touchdown; the PAT made it 33-14.

Becker redeemed himself on the ensuing GAC possession, capping a 61-yard drive by rushing the final seven yards for the game’s last TD.

Bethel is now 5-1 in league play and 6-2 on the year. The Royals host St. Thomas on Saturday in a key showdown.

Gustavus drops to 2-4 in league action and 3-5 overall. The Gusties host archrival St. Olaf on Saturday.

HAMLINE 34, CARLETON 17

The Pipers, behind strong play by their defense and special teams, rolled past the Knights, 34-17, in front of 1,437 at Klas Stadium in St. Paul. Hamline posted four interceptions, a blocked kick and returned a kick for a touchdown.

That defensive play offset a 358-yard passing day by Carleton’s Vaughn Schmid, who completed 28-of-49 passes. He threw for a pair of interceptions, but was sacked three times. Tyler Palin was on the receiving end of 10 of those passes for 124 yards.

Hamline got on the board first with a 37-yard field goal by Derek Johnson early in the game.

Carleton cracked the scoreboard early in the second quarter as Jens Lilehei tackled Hamline’s Adam Meyer in the end zone for a safety.

After the ensuing kick, Schmid was intercepted by Cory Olsen at the Carleton 39. Olsen raced into the end zone, giving Hamline a 10-2 lead.

The Knights countered with a seven yard TD pass from Schmid to Anthony Kemper to pull within 10-9.

Hamline pulled away in the third quarter. First, Meyer connected with Tim Queck for a four-yard touchdown. Three plays later, Brady Lorenzen picked off a pass, setting up a 37-yard field goal by Johnson to push the lead to 20-9. Later in the stanza, Lucas Jones recovered a fumble for Hamline at the Carleton eight. Connor Sathre took the handoff on HU’s first offensive snap after that and muscled into the end zone, to increase the lead to 27-9.

Early in the fourth quarter, Schmid and Kemper teamed up again, this time for a 25-yard touchdown. The Knights opted to go for the two-point conversion and Schmid converted by darting into the end zone.

The Knights attempted an onside kick, but Hamline’s Kevin Kramer fielded the ball after it went eight yards. He scooped it up and dashed into the end zone for the game’s final points.

Hamline is now 2-5 in MIAC play and 3-5 on the year. The Pipers step out of league play Saturday and tangle with archrival Macalester in the battle for the Old Paint Bucket, as well as bragging rights on St. Paul’s Snelling Avenue.

Carleton falls to 1-5 in league action and 3-5 overall. The Knights look to escape from the MIAC cellar as they host Concordia on Saturday.

CONCORDIA 17, ST. OLAF 14

The Cobbers prevailed over the Oles in a defensive battle, recapturing The Troll in front of 1.192 at Manitou Field in Northfield.

Andrew Larson, who rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown, led Concordia. He also caught five passes for 94 yards and a TD. Michael Dunham completed 13-of-29 for 150 yards.

For St. Olaf, Clay Garrett connected on 19-of-37 passes for 201 yards and two TDs. Carson Jones caught five of them for 51 yards and Antonio Jennings had four catches for 65 yards and a TD.

Concordia scored first, as Larson punched it in from one yard out midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

St. Olaf tied it up late in the quarter as Garrett connected with Jared Mueller from 35-yards out.

Late in the second quarter, Dunham and Larson hooked up from 14-yards out, allowing the Cobbers to take a 14-7 lead into the intermission.

The teams battled through a scoreless third quarter, but Concordia was driving as the stanza ended. However, the drive came up short at the Ole 12 and Carl Hauser came in to drill a 30-yard field goal.

St. Olaf took the ensuing kick and drove 65 yards in 10 plays with Garrett connecting with Jennings to cover the final 15 yards.

From there, the defenses held.

The win was Concordia’s second in a row, lifting them to 2-4 in league games and 4-4 overall. The Cobbers travel to Carleton on Saturday.

St. Olaf falls to 1-5 in MIAC action and 3-5 on the year. Saturday, they travel to Gustavus.

The Oles are now 1-4 in league play and 3-4 overall. St. Olaf hosts Concordia on Saturday.

* * *

2009 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Standings
Through games of October 31, 2009

                        Conference Overall   
  Team                    W  L     W   L    
  ----                    -  -     -   -   
  Saint John’s University 6  0     8   0    
  Univ. of St. Thomas     6  1     7   1
  Bethel University       5  1     6   2
  Augsburg College        3  3     4   4  
  Concordia College	  2  4     4   4  
  Gustavus Adolphus       2  4     3   5    
  Hamline University      1  5     3   5         
  Carleton College        1  5     3   5   
  St. Olaf College        1  5     3   5  


UPCOMING GAMES
November 31, 2009 – all at 1 PM
Concordia @ Carleton
Saint John’s @ Augsburg @ the HHH Metrodome
St. Olaf @ Gustavus
St. Thomas @ Bethel
Hamline @ Macalester (non-conference)