Matt Crable tied a Saint Francis record by throwing six touchdown passes as the Cougars beat St. Francis (Ill.) 56-6 in Joliet, Ill., in the season opener.
P.J. Dean opened the game with a 55-yard kickoff return, which was supplemented by a 15-yard penalty on the Fighting Saints, and the Cougars started their first drive of the season on the Saints 26-yard line. All it took was one play, a pass from Crable to Rocky James, and the Cougars scored their first touchdown of the season and took the lead for good.
Crable then hit (in order) Casey Coll, Will Chrisman and James again to take a 28-0 lead into halftime. Duke Blackwell, who missed the 2018 season after tearing his ACL in the 2017 title game, got in on the scoring when he caught a 35-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Crable's last touchdown pass was to Matt Kominkiewicz. Backup quarterback Heath Simmons then took over, throwing one touchdown pass to Kominkiewicz, and Eli Wallace ran in the Cougars' final touchdown for a 56-0 lead.
The Saints, who lost 80-0 to defending NAIA champion Morningside in their season opener, avoided a second straight shutout when Dwayne Milton score on a 3-yard run with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
Crable went 16 for 22 with 251 passing yards. Nick Lucas led the Cougar defense with 10 tackles, and the Saint Francis defense sacked Saints quarterback Major Dedmond five times.
The Cougars next play at Robert Morris in Chicago on Sept. 21.