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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, September 08, 2018 7:40 pm

Saint Francis routs St. Francis (Ill.)

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

Make that 2-0. 

Saint Francis saw its lead cut to as few as eight points in the third quarter before running away with a 49-19 win over St. Francis (Ill.) in Joliet.

Justin Green scored the first touchdown of the game with a 2-yard carry late in the first quarter, a run that capped a 98-yard, 10-minute drive. 

The Cougars, the defending NAIA champions, sped up on their next drive, as quarterback Matt Crable capped a seven-play series with a touchdown pass to Rocky James. A few minutes later, Dan Ricksy slipped behind the last St. Francis defender and caught a pass from Crable, running unencumbered to the end zone for a 56-yard score. 

But Crable also saw more pressure than he did from Robert Morris in the Cougars' 42-9 win in the opener. The Fighting Saints' Malik Thurman stripped Crable of the ball and carried it into the end zone himself to narrow the deficit to 21-6 going into halftime. The Cougars opened the second half with a three-and-out, and Brandon Ruffin matched the St. Francis (Ill.) program record for touchdowns with a short run early in the third, narrowing the score to 21-13.

But Wilmer Cole intercepted a pass attempt by the Saints and returned it for a touchdown to give the Cougars some breathing room. Eli Wallace added on a 26-yard run for a score, and the Cougars' lead increased to 42-13 after Crable hit James with a touchdown pass for the second time.

Clay Senerius entered the game at quarterback late in the game, and got a touchdown of his own with a pass to Jahni Cooper. 

The Saints claimed the last score of the night as Brandon Ruffin again found the end zone, this time taking the school record for touchdowns outright.

vjacobsen@jg.net