Blue Jays win battle of birds, 26-14
Hillard breaks free for his first Loras touchdown (PHOTO COURTESY: Todd Smith)
Hillard breaks free for his first Loras touchdown (PHOTO COURTESY: Todd Smith)
Sat, Sep. 4, 2010 - [Football]

The Loras College football team opened the 2010 season with a 26-14 loss to Elmhurst College on Saturday afternoon in the Rock Bowl.

The opening drive of the game came to abrupt end after 11 plays and seventy-five yards march by the Duhawks. Ryan Baez entered the red zone on a rush off the left edge of the line and had the ball knocked away, where it was recovered by Elmhurst. The Blue Jays went on a sustained 13 play drive and were forced to punt after Aaron Strong's sack 15-yard sack of Elmhurst quarterback Joe Furco as the Blue Jays neared the red zone themselves. The Duhawks' only other drive was a brief five play effort.

In the second quarter, each team posted a touchdown, beginning with another lengthy Elmhurst drive that ended on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Furco to wide receiver Rodney Payton. After a short drive by the Duhawks quickly gave the ball back to the visitors, linebacker Brandon Ronan forced a fumble that Kile Beaver in bounds. After a loss of six yards on a sack by the Blue Jays, Matt Hillard broke off a run through the left side of the offensive line that quickly had him in the open field and all along for the final 40 yards of the 72 yard touchdown run that tied the game at 7-7 going into halftime.
(Hillard reaches paydirt for the Duhawks' first touchdown of 2010)

The Blue Jays received the opening kickoff of the second half (which the Duhawks kicked out of bounds) and promptly turned into an 11-play touchdown drive, capped off by Scottie Williams' three yard run. Kile Beaver blocked the extra point to make it 13-7.

Matt Hillard struck again late in the third quarter for a 51-yard run that setup quarterback Vaughn Gesing's first touchdown pass of the year. John Ingersoll made a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone on a ball that Gesing lofted towards the back pylon. The Duhawks claimed their only lead at 14-13 after Tyler Wilker converted the extra point.
(Ingersoll is congratulated after his 6-yard TD catch)

The Blue Jays took control in the fourth quarter when the ensuing drive by Elmhurst led to six points. Furco connected with Joe St. Peter for a 52-yard touchdown pass to make it 19-13. The Furco two-point conversion pass failed, and the Duhawks remained within six points. Loras went 3-and-out and the visitors again reached the end zone with Scottie Williams jumping over the pile from one yard out on their next drive.

The Duhawks ran 16 plays and with their remaining 3:22 of possession, but couldn't do any more damage to close the scoring gap.

Loras travels to Rockford, Illinois to take on the Rockford College Regents next Saturday at 1:00 PM.

At halftime, the Department of Athletics inducted Ann Cunningham-Women's Golf, Shane Davis-Football, Chris Jans-Men's Basketball, Tim Keane-Football and Track & Field, and Jeff Valentine-Men's Basketball, into the Varsity Athletics Hall of Fame.

GAME NOTES

  • The Blue Jays produced 419 yards of total offense to Loras' 340.
  • Vaughn Gesing was sacked seven times on the day.
  • Zach Myers led the defense with 9.5 tackles, including one for a loss
  • Matt Hillard finished with 136 yards rushing on seven carries
  • Gesing completed passes to six different receivers
  • Ingersoll caught a team high six passes for 69 yards and one touchdown, and averaged 37.4 yards per punt in his first action as the team's punter, and also orchestrated a fake punt with Gavin Kaiser that resulted in a first down.