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On a chilly, windy day at Leslie Frazier Field, the Trojans were unable to overcome the power running game of the University of Saint Francis Fighting Saints, losing 36-3.
On a day that saw consistently heavy winds that made yardage through the air difficult, the Fighting Saints carried the ball 62 times for 310 yards using a three-headed monster of quarterback E.J. White and running backs Garen Demery and Connor Krisch.
The Saints got on the board early as White hit Demery on a 12-yard touchdown strike to go up 7-0. The Trojans would take their next drive 71 yards behind the strong running of Donnie Irving (FR Arlington, TX) and a 21-yard completion from quarterback Morgan Hall (JR Fresno, CA) to Kwame Harris (FR Bolingbrook, IL). However, the drive would stall out on the next play on a fumble. Following the fumble, the Fighting Saints would go on a six-play, 76-yard drive, capped off by a Demery touchdown and a Fighting Saint two-point conversion to take a 15-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Trojans would stall on offense their next drive, but the defense was able to answer as Thomas Denne (SR San Jose, CA) intercepted White's pass, giving the Trojans the ball on the Saint Francis 27-yard line. However, the drive would end with an interception deep in Fighting Saint territory. The Fighting Saints would tack on one more touchdown before the half to take a 22-0 lead into the locker room.
Saint Francis' first drive of the second half started well, but ended with Denne recovering a fumble by Demery to give the Trojans the ball back. The Trojans were able to get their first points of the day as Jason Owens (SR Chicago, IL) connected on a 42-yard field goal to bring the score to 22-3. The Fighting Saints would go on a long scoring drive in the latter half of the third quarter, finished off by a White touchdown run to put the Saints up 29-3.
Denne again came up big for the Trojans, intercepting another White pass for his second pick of the day. However, the Trojans were not able to capitalize and the Saints went on a 17-play, 95-yard scoring drive to go up 36-3. The Trojans drove deep into USF territory but were unable to score.
Denne finished the game with an outstanding 10.5 total tackles, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. Irving ran the ball well on the ground, finishing with 18 carries for 79 yards. Punter Derek Mathewson (FR Vista, CA) did a superb job in tough wind, averaging 49.8 yards on his five punts on the day.
The Trojans hit the road next week to face McKendree University. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.