College Football: St. Francis drops heartbreaker on the road to Trinity International 41-39
Michael Wojtychiw For Sun-Times Media September 21, 2013 7:36PM
St. Francis wide receiver Trace Wanless makes a move after a reception Saturday in Deerfield. | SUPPLIED PHOTO
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:38AM
After a sluggish start and a furious late comeback, St. Francis was left with putting its defense to the test as Trinity International drove to potentially win the game. Unfortunately for the Saints, the Trojans drove all the way to the 11-yard line, setting up a 28-yard field goal that would give them a wild 41-39 victory Saturday in Deerfield.
“As a team, we weren’t ready to go at the beginning. We didn’t start well on offense and in all three areas (offense, defense and special teams), we seemed confused early on,” St. Francis coach Joe Curry said.
After E.J. White (32-of-45, 365 yards) threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Trace Wanless to bring the Saints to within 17-13 with 1:15 remaining in the first half, the team mysteriously went for a two-point conversion, which was no good, leaving the halftime score at 17-13.
After halftime, the St. Francis defense allowed the Trojans to score 21 of the next 28 points before setting up the comeback attempt.
Trailing 38-20 at the start of the fourth quarter, the No. 17 Saints (2-1) relied on their defense to make key stops and quarterback White’s arm to bring them back.
White threw touchdown passes to Wanless (13 catches, 133 yards) and Troy Torrence (nine catches, 111 yards), each of whom had two touchdown catches apiece, before setting up what looked like the gamewinning drive.
With 3:45 remaining, White, who finished with six touchdown passes on the afternoon, drove the Saints down the field, looking to give St. Francis its second 3-0 start in school history. White’s sixth touchdown toss, to Dustin Greenwell, gave the Saints a 39-38 lead with just 1:38 remaining.
Trinity International (3-0) started what would be the game-winning drive at its own 15-yard line with 1:31 remaining and no timeouts. Aided by a 26-yard run by quarterback Stephen Anderson, the Trojans drove down the field, hitting the game-winner with 16 seconds remaining.
St. Francis (2-1) got the ball back, but its last-second attempt was thwarted when White was sacked at the Trojan 49-yard line as time expired.
“TIU is a good team and you have to play four quarters against them,’’ Curry said. “We let them hang around long enough and they found the plays and the ways to beat us.”
Both teams came in averaging over 40 points per game, with St. Francis’s offense being the 11th best in the country, while Trinity International’s defense was the top-ranked scoring defense in the country.