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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.