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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, September 09, 2017 4:10 pm

Saint Francis rolls in home opener

GREG JONES | The Journal Gazette

Senior quarterback Nick Ferrer threw for 301 yards and five touchdowns – in the first half – as the defending NAIA national champion and top-ranked Saint Francis football team cruised in their home opener 68-23 over St. Francis (Illinois) on Saturday at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium. 

Ferrer, who was 22 of 26 in the first half and 0 for 3 in the second half before being taken out, threw three touchdown passes to Rocky James and one each to senior Sean Boswell and sophomore Duke Blackwell. 

Junior running back Justin Green had 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

Saint Francis (2-0) scored 34 points in the second quarter to lead 48-9 at halftime.

The Cougars' special teams also had their moments, including sophomore Ryan Johnson's blocked field goal attempt and subsequent 67-yard touchdown return. Saint Francis also blocked a punt and recovered a muffed kickoff return attempt.

The Cougars' defense held St. Francis (0-2) to 296 yards of total offense after Saints quarterback Don Butkus threw for a school-record 520 yards two weeks ago. Butkus, the great nephew of Chicago Bears legendary linebacker Dick Butkus, had only 66 yards passing and left the game twice with a leg injury.