Saints Top Western 31-14 for Homecoming win - News, Sports and Weather

Saints Top Western 31-14 for Homecoming win

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Dustin Rinker ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns and Mac Roche passed for 207 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 5 Carroll College to a 31-14 victory over The University of Montana-Western at Nelson Stadium, Saturday afternoon.

Rinker started the scoring off with a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:34 remaining in the first quarter, after a 70-yard drive. The score was set up by a 22-yard circus catch by Dylan Simac on the on the 1-yard line.

The Bulldogs answered on their nest possession with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Hulse to Beau Brekke to tie the score at 7-7 at the 3:30 mark in the first frame.

The Saints offense found its pace in the second quarter. They began with a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped off with a 6-yard touchdown reception by Anthony Clarke with 9:34 left in quarter. 

After a three-and-out by the Bulldogs, Carroll completed a 62-yard, 10 play drive to set up a 6-yard touchdown pass from Roche to Kyle Griffith.

Another quick stop by the Saints defense, Carroll finished the half with a field goal with just 17 seconds left on the clock to give Carroll a 24-7 lead at the break.

The Western offense turned the table and ran the ball effectively. The bulldogs ran for 96 of their 168 yards in the third quarter. The production didn't amount to points for UMW.  Neither team found paydirt and the Saints held on to their 24-7 lead to start the fourth.

“We didn't play the run very well in the third quarter,” head coach Mike Van Diest said. “They came back and controlled the ball really well in the third quarter but overall the defense played well. We held them to just two touchdowns, one of them was on a trick play.”

Western cut the Carroll lead to 24-14 with 10:58 left in the game on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Hulse to George Sherwood.

The Saints answered with 4:13 left in the game after a 48-yard punt return by Anthony Clarke set up a Rinker touchdown, which gave the Saints a 31-14 lead that they would hold.

“We have been waiting all year for a great special teams play all season and Anthony Clarke did it,” Van Diest said. “ We were struggling a little bit on offense in the second half but that return got us fired up and set up a touchdown.”

The Bulldogs outgained Carroll 336 to 296 including a 168-89 advantage in the run game. The Carroll defense racked up four sacks, Sean Blomquist had two and Sean Condon added two of his own. Blomquist also added an additional tackle for loss as part of his team-high nine tackles.

Another bright spot for the Saints was punter Rhys Felton. He average pinned Western inside the 10-yard line three times.

“Rhys did a tremendous job,” Van Diest said.  “Defensively you can't put a pricetag on how great it is to have them start with the ball inside their own five yard line.”

The Saints next travel to play No. 17 Eastern Oregon in La Grande Saturday, Oct. 11, at 2 p.m. mtn.

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