College Football: St. Francis falls short vs. St. Francis (Ind.)
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media October 19, 2013 10:53PM
St. Francis' Sheldon Magee runs for yards Saturday against St. Francis (Ind.) in Joliet. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 21, 2013 6:54AM
Tied at 14-all late in the first half, St. Francis (Ind.) scored on four straight possessions and then hung on to post a 37-28 Mid-States Football Association Mideast win over St. Francis on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
The No. 4 Cougars ran their record to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the MSFA Mideast.
No. 20 USF dropped to 4-3, 2-1 heading into next week’s road game at defending NAIA champion Marian (Ind.).
“Our kids played a heckuva game,” USF coach Joe Curry said. “That’s the best team we’ve faced all year. We were going to have to play a really, really good game to be in it at the end.”
With the game knotted at 14-14, the visiting Cougars scored 20 straight points to take command. It marked the Saints’ seventh straight loss to a nationally ranked opponent.
“They have a good offense,” Curry said of the Cougars, who ran 108 plays, second most in NAIA history. “They do the little things and keep taking what they are given. You have to give them credit.”
Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, USF scored on back-to-back drives to tie it.
Senior quarterback E.J. White (28-of-44, 273 yards, 2 touchdowns) found junior Troy Torrence for a 9-yard TD pass with 7:32 left in the second quarter.
White ran six yards for a touchdown with 2:10 left in the half to tie the game at 14.
Sixty-five seconds later, the Cougars regained the lead with a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play that gave them a 21-14 advantage going into the intermission.
St. Francis (Ind.) then scored on its first three possessions of the second half to take a 34-14 lead late in the third quarter.
Malik Norman ran it in from two yards out with 1:07 left in the third quarter to cut the Cougars’ lead to 34-21. A 5-yard touchdown pass from White to junior tight end Luke Gundersen shaved the lead to 34-28 with 11:18 left in the game.
St. Francis (Ind.) was driving for a clinching score, but Jesse Hogan intercepted a pass in the end zone with 4:43 left in the game. The Saints, however, could not move the ball on offense and the Cougars tacked on a field goal for a 37-28 lead with 57 seconds remaining.
“At the end of the game, our defense gave us the ball back with a chance to win the game,” Curry said. “I’ll take that any day of the week. We didn’t get it done, but I can’t be prouder of our guys and the effort they gave today.”