Not a whole lot of people thought the University of San Diego would have a chance to beat Northern Arizona University in the opening round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. The Toreros opened as 11 ½ point underdogs and that was bet UP to 17 points by kickoff.
The joke is on Las Vegas.
USD went into Flagstaff and put a hurting on the 25th-ranked Lumberjacks 41-10 on Saturday night.
NAU came into the game with the 9th-best passing offense in the FCS but the Toreros held quarterback Case Cookus, who came into the night averaging 294 yards a game, to just 178 yards and forced him in to a pair of turnovers. In the early going USD’s defense was nothing short of dominant.
On their first four possessions combined the Jacks had -29 yards of total offense. That’s right, NEGATIVE 29 yards, helped by sacks from defensive linemen Jonathan Petersen and Aaron Laut. The play of the D allowed San Diego to jump out to a lead that it would never give up.
Quarterback Anthony Lawrence relied on his senior pass catchers. In the first quarter he lobbed one to wideout Justin Priest, who had a defensive back right in his face but somehow came down with a scintillating 1-handed touchdown catch. Priest also made a 42-yard catch with a defending literally grabbing his jersey to set up another Toreros TD and finished with 93 yards receiving.
Lawrence also found tight end Ross Dwelley for a pair of touchdowns. The first one came in the 2nd quarter and was good for 26 yards. USD kept the balance it’s shown all year with a running game led by freshman Emilio Martinez, who ran 20 times for 117 yards and a score.
This is the second playoff win for the Toreros. Last year they beat Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo before going up to North Dakota State and losing in the second round. This year … they get another shot at the Bison, who are the #2 national seed and winners of five of the last six national championships. That game is in the Fargodome (because the school is located in Fargo) on Saturday, December 2, with a 12:30 San Diego time kickoff.
Published 3 hours ago
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