Story and photo courtesy of St. Thomas Athletics
Most football teams cannot afford to turn the ball over six times in a game and expect to win, much less win handily.
But St. Thomas did so again on Saturday, throwing five interceptions and losing a fumble, and still managing to cruise past Hamline 51-9 at Klas Field. Two weeks ago, the Tommies survived six turnovers in defeating Gustavus Adolphus 28-14 at home.
“You are always going to have some turnovers, but to have that many in the past month is unacceptable,” Coach Glenn Caruso said. “We need to clean things up or we’re going to have trouble down the road.”
The No. 3 Tommies (7-0, 5-0 MIAC) won their 31st consecutive regular-season game – and 24th straight in the conference – in crushing the Pipers (1-6, 0-6). The win was No. 50 for Caruso (50-7, .877), in his fifth year as St. Thomas coach.
St. Thomas also overcame a minor injury to quarterback Matt O’Connell, who threw two touchdown passes to tight end Logan Marks and ran for 51 yards before leaving late in the first half with leg cramps. O’Connell was replaced by junior Ben Duncan and did not return in the second half.
“We could have put Matt back in if the game had been close,” Caruso said. “We planned to give Ben some reps anyway, so we just kept him in the game.”
Duncan struggled at times in throwing four interceptions and fumbling once, but he also figured in three touchdowns and ran for 69 yards. He scored on nine-yard run with 35 seconds left in the first half, threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Matt Allen in the third quarter and caught a 13-yard pass from wide receiver Kyle Whitley after a reverse.
“When is the last time in St. Thomas history a player ran for a touchdown, threw for a touchdown and caught a touchdown?” Caruso asked. “It might be a first.”