Houghton, Mich. — St. Thomas opened its FCS era in style on Saturday, with a dramatic 12-9 victory over Michigan Tech.
Louis Hyde’s 32-yard field goal with 59 seconds gave Tommy his first lead over his Division II foe, and Johnson Fallah’s interception with 14 seconds put the game on the ice.
For St Thomas (1–0), it was not the team’s first game as a Division I event in the Football Championship subdivision, it was the team’s first football game in 95 weeks. Tommy last played a game on November 16, 2019 in a 17-7 win at Bethel. The former Division III program did not play any games in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
Tommy’s defense went big, didn’t allow touchdowns, and kept Michigan Tech (1-1) off the scoreboard in the second half. St Thomas put the Huskies on the third down in 2-of-11, and they forced two turnovers.
Freshman tight end Aidan Carlson boosted Tommy’s offense when he fixed a fumble inside the end zone in the fourth and inch game, with 5:43 to level the score 9-9. The Huskys remained in the game by intercepting Hyde’s pat kick.
Hyde, a sophomore of Benilde-St. Margaret, who was playing her first college game, also scored a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter.
St. Thomas ended the game with a 269-yard offense for Michigan Tech’s 233. Tommy survived two stalled drives inside Husky’s 10-yard-line that ended in field goals. Senior quarterback Tommy Dolan, a former St. Thomas Academy star, completed 13 of 23 passes for 184 yards for St. Thomas.
On defence, senior Luke Glenna led St Thomas and had a crucial tackle-for-loss among his 11 tackles.
Coach Glenn Caruso improved to 13–0 in the opening games of the season, improving his overall record at St. Thomas to 127–21. He was 126–21 in 12 seasons with the Tommys Division III program, reaching the national championship game twice, in 2012 and 2015, before losing.
Next season for the Tommys is their biggest test of the season, playing next Saturday at FCS Power Northern Iowa. In last week’s season opener, Northern Iowa battled No. 9 Iowa State on the Cyclones’ home turf to the very end before losing 16-10.