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Saint Francis pulls away in second half for first win

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Kick-off: Saint Ambrose at Saint Francis, Saturday at 7 p.m.

Cougars play well on both sides of ball eventually

Monday, September 16, 2013 - 7:26 pm

Saint Francis used a pair of offensive threats Saturday to topple William Penn 31-13 and open its 2013 football season on a positive note.

Cougar running back Antoin Campbell rushed for a career-high 188 yards on 29 carries and scored three times, while quarterback Josh Miller rushed for 114 yards and threw for 161 more in guiding an offense that totaled 549 yards.

"It was great to get out here and get some things done," Campbell said in a release. "It felt like we've been in camp forever."

He opened the Saint Francis scoring on the team's initial series and plunged in from 3 yards out for a 7-0 Cougar lead.

The score capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive.

The Statesmen are known as a rushing team by implementing the triple-option offense, but Saint Francis outrushed the hosts 209 to just 54 yards in the second half.

“It was kind of a slow first half, but we picked it up in the second half and played Cougar football," Campbell said. "I got a little bit tired, but your body can do a lot more things than your mind tells you that you can. So I just went out and played my hardest to try and get this win for my team."

The teams were tied at halftime and William Penn took an early 13-10 lead in the third quarter on a 43-yard field goal. However, Saint Francis got defensive from that point on and shut out the Statesmen.

"We just realized it's going on too long," Cougar safety Erick Humphrey said. "We talked on the sideline, made a few adjustments and said 'This is it. It's time to bury them.' And that's what we did."

The Cougars outscored the Statesmen 21-0 the rest of the game and beat William Penn for the sixth time in as many outings.

Saint Francis limited the Statesmen to just 77 total yards in the second half.

Senior safety Taylor Brown finished with a team-high nine tackles and a forced fumble to pace the victors. Senior nose tackle Matt Carden tallied seven tackles, including 1.5 sacks.

Cornerback Kory Stamps had six tackles along with Humphrey, but it was junior Keith Harris' energy that really ignited the defense after the intermission.

The outside linebacker compiled six tackles and added 3.5 tackles for a loss.

Offensively, Miller finished the game completing 16 of 24 passes with the longest completion being a 35-yard strike to Cameron Smith.

With the Cougars trailing 17-13 late in the third quarter, Miller hit Campbell for an 11-yard score.

He also averaged 14.2 yards per carry and Saint Francis totaled 350 rushing yards.

William Penn had 199 total yards.

Cougars backup quarterback Wesley Hunsucker was inserted into the game with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter and four plays later found Matthew Noll for a 38-yard touchdown, which was Noll's first of his career.

The Cougars will open their home season at 7 p.m. Saturday against Saint Ambrose University.