Slideshow by Rita Kovtun, chief photo editor
Senior running back Colin Tobin and the Tommies stayed in rhythm Saturday in their conference opener. Behind Tobin’s second consecutive four touchdown performance, the Tommies overwhelmed St. Olaf in a 49-14 win.
Everything was working for the Tommie offense, which gained 199 yards on the ground and 244 through the air.
“It’s a rhythm, a flow of the game,” Tobin said. “When everyone is hitting their rhythm at the same time, great things can happen.”
Senior receiver Fritz Waldvogel added 96 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Waldvogel broke P.J. Theisen’s St. Thomas record for most career receiving yards on the third offensive play of the game.
“It has been fun to pass (Theisen), but personal goals are not as big as team goals,” Waldvogel said. “Personally, I’m just happy to get it over with.”
Waldvogel is also on pace to break MIAC return records, and he made his presence felt as a punt returner Saturday. On both a 29-yard return and a 40-yard return Waldvogel let the ball bounce before snatching it and bolting upfield.
“I was losing it in the sun a little bit,” Waldvogel said. “Luckily coach (Travis) Walch gives me some freedom to go out and make plays where some other coaches would say to let that ball drop.”
Still, Waldvogel said he will “probably get yelled at for that tomorrow.”
Tobin matched his four touchdown total from last week before halftime, scoring three times on rushing plays and once on a screen pass. He spent most of the second half on the sidelines with his team safely ahead.
Tobin’s first score came on a 3-yard run to cap off a less than three minute drive. The Tommies came out with a no huddle offense that the Oles couldn’t keep up with.
“We wanted to throw the first punch, and we succeeded in that today,” Tobin said. “The aggression was there and the attitude was there.”
The Oles pushed St. Thomas into a third and 18 on the next drive, but the Tommies responded by going with what works; giving it to Tobin. Tobin took a middle screen pass 31 yards for his second touchdown, giving St. Thomas a 14-0 lead.
Another Tommie threat later in the first quarter ended when freshman running back Ryan Toney fumbled a handoff at the St. Olaf two-yard line.
“The very next play I put Toney back in,” coach Glenn Caruso said. “In our house we have three rules: we don’t quit, we don’t whine and we never get embarrassed, and that is the same for our team. Ryan went right back in with a good attitude.”
After a 16-yard Dakota Tracy touchdown run, the St. Olaf defense once again found itself with its back against the goal line. This time, Caruso and the Tommie offense went back to Tobin, who leaped over linemen and across the goal line for his third touchdown to give St. Thomas a 28-0 lead. Tobin said NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton inspired the move.
“On the one-yard line you’ve just got to have a nose for the end zone,” Tobin said. “I just had to get in some how, some way.”
Tobin closed out the first half with a 10-yard touchdown run to give the Tommies the 35-0 lead that they took into the locker room.
Asp gets Oles in end zone in second half
The Tommie defense shut down a highly regarded running back for the second game in a row. This week it was the speedy senior Leon Clark, who eeked out nine-rushing yards on eight carries.
“Leon Clark is a great running back, but we were able to contain him today because of that hustle and extra effort,” senior linebacker Willy Baregi said.
The St. Olaf offense was two drives into the second half before they finally got the ball across midfield. A 38-yard Dan Dobson pass to junior wide receiver Jake Schmiesing got the Oles to the St. Thomas 21-yard line.
Sophomore running back Michael Thai’s 14-yard touchdown run capped the drive and got the Oles on the scoreboard with 7:37 left in the third quarter.
“You always want to get that goose egg. It’s just one of those things,” Baregi said. “But mistakes will get you.”
The Tommies got the touchdown back on the first play of their next drive when Tracy threw a bomb to Waldvogel, who had gotten behind the Ole defensive backs and went untouched into the end zone. Waldvogel’s second touchdown put St. Thomas ahead 49-7
“Coach Caruso saw something in how they were playing us and thought we could take advantage of a deep shot,” Waldvogel said. “Dakota threw a prefect ball and we just completed it and got in the end zone.”
That touchdown was the end of the game for many St. Thomas starters.
St. Olaf’s next drive continued when St. Thomas sophomore wide receiver Kyle Whitley fumbled away a punt, and the Oles were able to capitalize on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Dobson to sophomore Stephen Asp to make the score 49-14. The 6-foot-3-inch Asp went up high over a Tommie defender to make the catch.
“It was one of those fifty fifty balls that the quarterback just throws up,” Baregi said. “That guy is like 6’3’’ or 6’4’’ and he can jump. He made a great play.”
“We didn’t necessarily finish as strongly as we started,” Caruso said. “We’re a team that prides ourselves on how we finish. If that was a 0-0 game at half time the second half was 14-14.”
Behind freshman quarterback Matt O’Connell, who has played in all three games this season, the Tommies ran out the fourth quarter, going to 3-0 on the season with a 49-14 victory.
St. Thomas will try to stay in rhythm at Concordia-Moorhead for next Saturday’s game.
Alex Keil can be reached at email@example.com.