College Football: St. Francis’ ‘D’ comes up big vs. Concordia
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media October 5, 2013 11:00PM
Updated: November 7, 2013 6:48AM
St. Francis turned to its defense during its Mid-States Football Association Mideast League opener against Concordia of Michigan on Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Michigan and it delivered.
The Saints’ defense came up with three turnovers and held the Cardinals to 192 yards of total offense during a 56-6 road win. The victory comes after back-to-back losses and moves the Saints to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the MSFA Mideast. Concordia dropped to 1-4, 0-1.
“To this point, this was the most complete game we’ve played,” Saints coach Joe Curry said. “That was as good of a game we’ve played all year.”
The Saints’ defense has allowed just three offensive touchdowns the last two games. Saturday, the Saints were seven seconds away from posting the program’s first shutout in 23 games. Concordia scored on a 75-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter against the Saints’ second- and third-string players.
“Those kids played the whole fourth quarter and that was good for them and for us,” Curry said of the reserves. “This was really the first game we got a chance to see those kids play. That helps build our program and helps those kids learn in a game situation. I thought today was a great teaching tool for us.”
St. Francis allowed just 2 of 20 third-down conversions, had two interceptions and a fumble recovery that paved the way for 14 points as the Saints won their third road game in four tries.
Offensively, E.J. White completed 25 of 34 passes for three touchdowns and ran for another. Anthony Hulbert carried the ball 15 times for 155 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a 14-yard touchdown from White.
White hooked up with Trace Wanless for a 9-yard touchdown. Luke Gundersen caught the two-point pass for an 8-0 lead after a quarter. The Saints erupted for 27 points in the second.
“The kids really responded well after a slow start in the first quarter,” Curry said. “We scored on four straight possessions and had three, three and outs in the second quarter.”
Josh Woodard’s interception led to a 35-yard run by Hulbert and a 15-0 lead. A 3-yard run by White, a 1-yard plunge by Hulbert and a 70-yard touchdown pass from White to Jordan Mixson pushed the Saints’ lead to 35-0 at the half.
It was the first catch of the season for Mixson, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound running back.
Touchdown runs by Hulbert (41 yards) and Wanless (13) gave the Saints a commanding 56-0 lead late in the fourth quarter.
“To be a playoff caliber team, you have to finish things and I thought we did that today,” Curry said.