College Football: St. Francis upends Marian (Ind.) 20-6
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media October 26, 2013 5:58PM
St. Francis' Mike Passo intercepts a pass Saturday. | Supplied photo
Updated: November 28, 2013 6:52AM
For the first time in its history, the University of St. Francis has beaten a defending national football champion.
Senior quarterback E.J. White and junior receiver Troy Torrence hooked up for a pair of touchdowns as the No. 24 Saints defeated Marian (Ind.) 20-6 Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis.
The win puts USF in position to earn an NAIA playoff bid at 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-States Football Association Mideast Division. Marian dropped to 4-4, 2-1.
“Our kids responded today,” USF coach Joe Curry said. “I can’t say enough about our team. To have a crushing defeat at home and go on the road and beat the defending champs says a lot about our guys.”
White and Torrence hooked up for touchdowns of 27 and 72 yards. Torrence caught seven passes for 150 yards to spearhead the Saints, who had lost the previous five meetings against the defending NAIA champions.
“They are fun to watch when they have a game like today,” Curry said. “It was all set up by our run game. We established the run in the first and second quarter, then hit some big plays when we needed them.”
Defensively, USF kept Marian out of the end zone, limiting the Knights to a pair of field goals and just 79 rushing yards on 31 carries (2.5 average). The Saints defense also came up with four sacks and an interception, which set up a touchdown.
“Our defense played outstanding,” Curry said. “To hold (All-American) Tevin Lake to 68 yards rushing, I don’t think that’s ever happened this year or last year. To hold him below 75 yards is great for our defense.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Marian hit a 26-yard field goal with 9:26 left in the half to take a 3-0 lead. Marian nearly turned the ball over twice on the drive. An interception was called back because of pass interference and the Knights recovered their own fumble.
On the ensuing drive, White hooked up with Torrence for a 27-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead at the half.
An interception by Mike Passo and a fourth-and-13 conversion paved the way for a 2-yard touchdown run by Malik Norman and a 14-3 lead with 10:50 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth, the Saints struck again.
After USF missed a field-goal attempt and forced a three-and-out, White (17-of-29, 205 yards) found Torrence for a 72-yard touchdown with 13:11 to play.
Norman led a rushing attack that totaled 145 yards by rushing for 63 yards on 13 carries.
Passo led the defense with 15 tackles to go along with an interception.
“Anytime you beat the reigning national champions and hand them their fourth loss, we may have dethroned them today,” Curry said. “We have a ton of respect for Marian. But our guys have a ton of confidence right now.”