Story and photo courtesy of St. Thomas Athletics
Senior RB Colin Tobin rushed for 159 yards and tied a school record with his 49th and 50th career touchdowns and the Tommie defense kept another opponent out of the end zone in Saturday’s 45-10 win over St. John Fisher in NCAA playoff quarterfinal football play at UST’s O’Shaughnessy Stadium.
The Tommies (13-0), who scored the game’s final 31 points, set a school record for victories and advanced to the national semifinals for the first time in school history.
The Toms outgained the Cardinals 408-133 net yards and had no turnovers as they won at home for the 23rd time in their last 24 games.
UST’s defense allowed 60 net rushing yards on 33 carries, had three interceptions, eight tackles for loss and allowed just three first downs in the first half. The Tommies have allowed just five touchdowns on defense in their last nine games.
Ryan Francis’ 85-yard kickoff return TD pulled the Cardinals within 14-10 late in the first quarter. But UST outscored the visitors 21-0 in the second quarter on scoring drives of 88, 31 and 89 yards to take a 35-10 halftime lead.
Senior Fritz Waldvogel, making his school-record 49th career start, played just two quarters before getting a minor injury. He caught touchdown passes of 31 and 41 yards, and finished with five catches for 105 yards and 175 all-purpose yards while scoring his 45th and 46th career touchdowns.
The Cardinals (10-3) began the game with a 35-yard kickoff return by Francis and a five-yard penalty to start at their own 47-yard line. They marched 41 yards in just four plays and had 1st-and-10 at the Tommie 12, but the drive stalled, and they settled for a 24-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead. It marked the sixth time St. Thomas has trailed early in a game in their 13-0 start.
UST senior QB Dakota Tracy, who improved to 28-1 on his career as a starter, led the Toms to scoring drives on the team’s second and third possessions to build a lead they would not relinquish. Tracy finished 9-of-18 in passing for 133 yards and three TDs with no turnovers.
SJFC's Francis left the game with a third-quarter knee injury after compiling 169 all-purpose yards on just seven touches. Cody Miller rushed 15 times for 84 yards. Dave Vosburgh had 11 tackles for the Cardinal defense.
The UST defense got nine tackles and a break-up by Tyler Erstad and interceptions from Josh Carey, Jack Gavin and Julio Vasquez.
St. Thomas becomes the third different Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team to reach the semifinal round in the last nine seasons of the Division III football playoffs joining St. John’s and Bethel.
UST came into the game 0-3 all time in NCAA quarterfinal round games, including an 11-point loss at Linfield in 2009 and a 12-7 home defeat last season to Bethel.