Running back Brenton Braddock’s three second quarter touchdowns lifted the St. Thomas football team to a 27-0 halftime lead in the first round of the NCAA tournament at O’Shaughnessy Stadium on a mild Saturday afternoon.
In a defensive first quarter, St. Norbert dominated time of possession. Neither team mustered any points, though defensive back Austin Arts intercepted quarterback Matt O’Connell in the end zone with 6:13 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tommies would strike first in the first minute of the second quarter following a 31-yard fake field goal attempt by holder Kyler Anderson. On the play, Anderson drew a 15-yard penalty, extending the drive. Two plays later, Braddock punched in off left tackle to give the Tommies a 7-0 lead with 14:21 left in the half.
O’Connell conducted a 12-play, 50-yard drive spanning four minutes and three seconds capped off by tight end Logan Marks’ 10-yard touchdown reception with 9:11 remaining in the second quarter. Fullback Dominic Truoccolo’s attempted two-point conversion pass was incomplete, leaving the score 13-0.
With 4:31 remaining in the half, Braddock powered in from 1 yard out, giving the Tommies a 20-0 lead. The touchdown finished off a seven-play drive covering 33 yards.
St. Thomas wasn’t finished with Braddock scampering in from 5 yards out with 17.7 seconds remaining in the half. Kicker Paul Graupner tallied the extra point, extending the St. Thomas lead to 27-0.
The Tommie defense confused quarterback James Tringali on multiple occasions, sacking him three times, forcing an interception and recovering a fumble.
St. Thomas dominated the field position battle, starting five of six drives first half drives at their own 44, 48, midfield and the St. Norbert’s 33.
St. Thomas received the kickoff to open the second half.
Ross Schreck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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