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Late scoring burst seals No. 5 Cougars’ season-opening win


– If you blinked, you missed the coup de grace.

It went like this for No. 5 Saint Francis: Two touchdowns, eight total plays, 106 total yards, elapsed time 4:17. And the book was closed on No. 16 William Penn, which went down 31-13 Saturday to the Cougars in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

For Saint Francis, Antoin Campbell scored three touchdowns, ran for 188 yards and generated 199 yards of total offense. Quarterback Josh Miller ran for 114 yards and threw for 161 and one score. And the Cougars defense drained all the options from the potent William Penn triple option, limiting the Statesmen to 172 rushing yards on 47 attempts, or 3.7 yards per rush.

“We did a good job,” Cougars coach Kevin Donley said. “On both sides of the football, our coaches really did a good job preparing our players. Made some adjustments at halftime on defense and shut them down pretty well.”

On offense, the Cougars’ hurry-up attack wore down the Statesmen, with Miller and Campbell doing the lion’s share of the damage. More significantly, the Cougars won the time of possession game, 30:25 to 29:35, against a team that makes its living eating clock.

“I just looked at the stats, and we got 549 (total yards) to their 199,” Donley said. “And their first ballgame they had 40 minutes of possession time.”

It was still a 17-13 game after three quarters, but the Cougars made quick work of that in the fourth. Midway through they went 51 yards in four plays, using just 1:43, with Campbell busting a 33-yard run for the score. Not quite four minutes later, they went 57 yards in four plays, with backup quarterback Wesley Hunsucker finding Matt Noll from 38 yards out.

“Antoin Campbell has got some magic, I’m telling you,” Donley said. “You got to try to tackle him 30 times a game, good luck. And Miller was the difference maker. He’s a real dual threat. He gained 114 yards and 14 yards a carry. That’s pretty good.”

It was a 10-10 game at halftime, and William Penn took a 13-10 lead on its first possession of the second half. But thereafter, the game tilted radically toward Saint Francis.

The Statesmen had just 26 yards after their first possession of the half, and in four fourth-quarter possessions, they gained just four yards.

“Our offensive line really got off the ball,” Donley said. “And our up-tempo wore them out. They were out of gas midway through the third quarter.”