DULUTH, Minn. -- In consecutive weeks, the Greenville football team (3-3, 2-0 UMAC) held a conference opponent to one touchdown as they beat the Saint Scholastica Saints 35-7.
This was by far the best all around performance by the Panthers this season. Both sides of the ball were consistently excellent in their handling of the Saints (3-3, 2-2 UMAC).
The Panther defense filled up the box score on Saturday with two interceptions, seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss, seven pass break ups, and one fumble recovery. They also held the Saints to 132 total yards, allowing only nine yards rushing.
The two stars on defense were senior cornerback James Binder (Stockton, Calif.) and freshman defensive lineman Morris Hobson (Cahokia, Ill.). Binder had two interceptions to go along with his three tackles and one pass breakup. Hobson led the team with two sacks and four tackles for loss.
Offensively, the Panthers stuck to their game plan which was simply, "Give it to Ambers." Senior running back Anthony Ambers (Apple Valley, Calif.) rushed for an eye-popping 221 yards on 28 carries. Ambers also led the way with four touchdowns, bringing his season total to 11.
Freshman running back Justin Honeycutt (Wabash, Ind.) had his first touchdown of the year, breaking off a 71-yard run.
The Saints were led by sophomore defensive lineman Christopher Doran who led the team with nine tackles and one tackle for loss. The lone score was thrown by freshman backup quarterback Cole Houston. He connected on a 21 yard pass to sophomore receiver Tyler Olson in the final seconds of the game.
Much like the game last week, there was an uneventful first quarter. The Saints did not have a first down even though quarterback Alex Thiry was 3-for-3 passing. The Panthers offense looked good early, but mental mistakes killed promising drives.
The second quarter was continued dominance from the Panther defense, forcing the Saints to punt from their own end zone early in the quarter. This led to a 26-yard missed field goal by freshman Luis Diaz (Santa Anna, Calif.). It was only his fourth missed FG this season and his first under 30 yards.
After another three and out by the Saints, the Panthers finally broke though. A 43-yard seven-play drive ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Ambers.
The Panthers could not capitalize on the Binder interception late in the second quarter, and at the half, Greenville held a 7-0 lead.
The third quarter started with another three and out by the Saints, giving the Panthers great field position. Two plays later, Ambers scored his second touchdown of the day, and Greenville was up 14-0. Binder's second interception led to a touchdown drive, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Ambers.
After another St. Scholastica punt, Greenville began their drive on their own 24 yard line. The third play of the drive had Ambers break loose for a 67-yard touchdown run.
The fourth quarter started with the Panther firmly in control of the game. The Saints finally put together a long drive but came up short after 16 plays and 68 yards. The next possession by the Panthers gave fans a look at the future when Honeycutt scored on a 71-yard run making the score 35-0.
The lone mistake by the Greenville defense came with 1:33 left in the game. That's when a blown coverage allowed the Saints to score on a 21-yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers ended the game in a victory formation, taking another step toward a second UMAC championship.
Next week is homecoming for the Greenville College Panthers as they host MacMurray College (0-5, 0-2 UMAC). Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Francis Field in Greenville.