Chris Overton
Chris Overton
University of St. Francis (Ill.)
St. Ambrose
Football - Sat, Sep. 30, 2017

It wasn't the Homecoming game the Bees wanted.

St. Ambrose had its struggles on both sides of the ball in a 42-19 loss to St. Francis (Ill.) Saturday at Brady Street Stadium.

SAU settled for field goals deep in USF territory early in the game and couldn't get off the field defensively in dropping to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the MSFA Midwest League. The Bees have lost three in a row after a 2-0 start.

St. Ambrose led early. The Bees marched down the field on their opening possession, with Jake Romani throwing a 31-yard completion to Chase Ferger and later adding back-to-back completions to Vince Vignali of 15 and 11 yards, setting up a 1st-and-10 at the Saints' 12-yard line. But the drive stalled there and SAU was forced to settle for a 26-yard Kenny Rowe field goal.

St. Francis (1-3, 1-0 MSFA) answered with a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The Saints converted both a 3rd-and-6 and 4th-and-4 on the drive, a story of the first half. On the fourth down play, USF took the lead for good on a 22-yard touchdown pass.

The Saints were successful on 7-of-11 third down plays in the first half and took advantage of three Bee turnovers, including a Romani fumble on a sack that set up USF's second touchdown for a 14-3 lead.

SAU put together another nice drive that ultimately sputtered at the St. Francis five-yard line and settled for another short Rowe field goal to get to within 14-6.

The defense appeared poised for a stop when Chris Overton, who had a huge game, dropped the Saints for a six-yard loss to set up a 3rd-and-16 play from the USF 19-yard line. But a 53-yard completion kept the drive alive, and five plays later, St. Francis scored a touchdown for a 21-6 lead.

Two missed field goals and a Kobe Easley interception in the end zone kept the Bees within striking distance into the third quarter. But with the offense struggling to get much going, it was another fourth-down play on defense that broke things open. Servando Duran had a sack setting up a 4th-and-9 from the SAU 31, but the Bees surrendered a 27-yard completion and a play later, a four-yard touchdown run to face a 28-6 deficit.

An interception, the Bees' third turnover of the game, was immediately followed by a 32-yard touchdown pass and the deficit grew to 35-6.

SAU made it interesting with a Romani-to-Carter Himmelman eight-yard touchdown pass late in the third and a Jake Osterberger eight-yard touchdown run early in the fourth to pull within 35-19, before St. Francis tacked on a touchdown midway through the fourth to account for the final score.

The loss overshadowed another big game from Overton. The NAIA's leader in sacks, the senior defensive end picked up two more Saturday, giving him nine through five games. Six of his team-best 11 tackles came behind the line of scrimmage, giving him 14 tackles for loss on the year.

Duran and Dillon Valdez each finished with 10 tackles.

Osterberger ran for 85 yards on 18 carries. Romani completed 16 passes for 194 yards, with Ferger hauling in five catches for 73 yards. Vignali had four receptions.

Things don't get any easier for the Bees. St. Ambrose will visit No. 8 Marian next Saturday.