No. 2 St. Thomas (Minn.) 25, Wisconsin-River Falls 7 | Box Score

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Second-ranked St. Thomas (Minn.) survived an uneven, penalty-plagued performance on offense to overcome Wisconsin-River Falls 25-7 Thursday night at Ramer Field.

The Tommies (2-0) scored easily on their first possession with a four-play drive but struggled thereafter to find their rhythm on offense. They played stingy defense deep in their own territory to twice keep River Falls (0-2) at bay in the fourth quarter.

“We knew they were tough from the St. John’s game,” head coach Glenn Caruso said of the Falcons, who dropped a 17-14 heartbreaker to the Johnnies on Sept. 6 after leading 14-7 late in the game. “They improved greatly between games 1 and 2.”

The St. Thomas defense, after allowing 182 yards and seven-of -11 third-down conversions in the first half, buckled down after the break. It held the Falcons to 62 yards on 32 plays in the second half and only two-of-eight third-down conversions — more in tune with the 28 percent hold rate that ranked among the best in Division III last year. The Tommies finished with five sacks for 33 yards.

“What I loved about our defensive effort,” Caruso said, “was we rolled a ton of guys in there, stayed fresh and were aggressive throughout the whole game.”

St. Thomas had a 438-244 advantage in total offense and held the Falcons to net 72 rushing yards on 34 carries after the sacks were factored in.

The win was the 36th in a row during regular seasons for St. Thomas and sets up a Sept. 21 showdown with St. John’s at O’Shaughnessy Stadium. The Tommies’ last loss in regular season was 20-7 in overtime in October 2009 at St. John’s.

No. 3 Linfield 71, Hardin-Simmons 21 | Box Score

ABILENE, Texas -- Josh Yoder passed for three touchdowns and ran for another score in his first career start, and Dominique Forrest had 13 tackles as third-ranked Linfield dominated Hardin-Simmons 71-21 on Saturday at Shelton Stadium.

With Yoder at the controls, the Wildcats (1-0) rolled up 651 yards of offense on the Cowboys (0-2), halting a five-game home winning streak. Yoder connected on 22 of 33 passes for 350 yards without an interception and also gained 54 yards on nine carries.

Charlie Poppen finished with five catches for 144 yards, Brian Balsiger pulled in seven receptions for 80 yards, while Josh Hill and Evan Peterson both had four catches. Hill ended with a game-high 57 yards rushing, carrying 12 times and scoring twice.

Forrest topped the defensive statistics with 13 stops, five of the unassisted. End Alex Hoff contributed six tackles for the Wildcats, including two for loss.

No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor 34, Kean 7 | Box Score

UNION, N.J. -- Mary Hardin-Baylor shook off a sluggish first half to dominate the second half as the Cru rolled to a 34-7 victory against Kean on Saturday in New Jersey. UMHB improves to 2-0 on the season with the win while Kean drops to 0-2.

The Crusaders led just 3-0 at halftime before Zach Anderson scored on a four-yard run on the opening possession of the second half. A Brodrick Crain interception set up a 20-yard TD pass from Anderson to Elijah Hudson to make it 17-0. Kean answered with a 100-yard kickoff return from Damian Corredor to cut it to 17-7. But Anderson added touchdown passes to Kamray Runnels and Ryan Murphy and Drew Owen hit a 35-yard field goal to provide the final margin.

Elijah Hudson rushed for 154 yards on 23 carries while quarterback Zach Anderson threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns for Mary Hardin-Baylor.

No. 5 Wesley 30, Salisbury 27 | Box Score

DOVER, Del. -- Jeremiah Howe came down with a 43-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Dyamond Ruffin intercepted a pass in the closing seconds to give fifth-ranked Wesley a 30-27 victory against Salisbury on Saturday afternoon at Scott D. Miller Stadium.

The "Hail Mary" from Joe Callahan to Howe came on a fourth-and-21 as Callahan rolled right to escape pressure and launched a pass to the corner of the end zone. Both Howe and Matt Bundy were there for the Wolverines as were several Sea Gull defenders, but Howe, the smallest guy on the field, came down with the ball for the score.

Howe's final catch gave him seven catches for 133 yards on the day, both of which are career highs. Callahan finished 20-of-34 passing for 276 yards and a touchdown after hitting 10 different receivers.

Wesley's ninth consecutive win against Salisbury saw a lead that flip-flopped several times.

After a 37-yard field goal by Jon Storck increased Wesley's advantage to four points with 9:26 left in the game, SU's Brandon Norwood put the Sea Gulls back on top for the final time with a 31-yard scamper.

Trailing by three, Wesley turned the ball over with 3:59 remaining but a sack by the duo of Dominique Herald and Jordan Wescott forced a three-and-out. Sean Hopkins returned a punt 18 yards to the Salisbury 32-yard line.

Salisbury's David Handy sacked Callahan 11 yards back to the 43-yard line on second down. Wesley then called timeout and an incomplete pass forced the fourth-down "Hail Mary" call.

Defensively, Jared Morris led the Wolverines with eight tackles while Wescott, Luke Maginnis and Herald had seven tackles apiece. Herald also produced 2.5 tackles for loss.

No. 6 North Central (Ill.) 41, Wisconsin-La Crosse 24 | Box Score

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- North Central (Ill.) enjoyed a promising start to the 2013 campaign, breaking open a close game in the second half and setting a single-game school record for total offense in a 41-24 victory at Wisconsin-La Crosse.

The sixth-ranked Cardinals compiled 674 total yards, breaking the previous North Central record of 669 set against Millikin in 2011. They ran 90 plays and completed six touchdown drives which covered at least 73 yards each. North Central put the game away with three consecutive scores in the second half and matched its highest opening-game point total since a 44-27 win against Benedictine in 2005.

Leading the offensive charge was senior quarterback Spencer Stanek, who completed 26 of 35 passes for 330 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for a team-high 106 yards and two scores on 15 carries. His passing yardage total is the second-highest of his career, eclipsed only by a 361-yard outing at Cornell College in 2010, while his rushing total was just six yards shy of his output from the entire 2012 season.

After allowing the game's first touchdown, the Cardinals' defense stepped up its performance as well, ending seven Eagle drives in three plays or less and limiting the hosts to 264 total yards, more than 200 less than UW-La Crosse recorded in last week's season opener against the Dubuque.

Chad O'Kane and  Peter Sorenson each established new career highs for receptions and receiving yards, as O'Kane made nine grabs for 105 yards and Sorenson caught eight passes for 142 yards. Matt Randolph gained 80 yards on 11 rushing attempts, while Kent gained 76 yards on 13 carries and Oshayne Brown ran 10 times for 54 yards. Stanek passed NCC Athletic Hall of Famer Luther Selbo for third place on the Cardinals' all-time list in passing yards (4,384).

The Cardinals' defense was led by Nick Slezak's nine tackles, while John Focosi recorded three tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. Shane Dierking intercepted a pass in the second quarter, giving him nine for his career to tie for eighth all-time at North Central.

Cardinal kicker Nick Dace connected on five of six extra-point attempts, giving him sole possession of North Central's career scoring record (289).

No. 8 Bethel (Minn.) 30, Wartburg 17 | Box Score

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. -- Bethel (Minn.) kicked off the 2013 season Saturday afternoon with a 30-17 win against Wartburg at Royal Stadium. The No. 8 Royals (1-0) built up a 30-0 lead with 6:20 left to play in the third quarter before allowing the Knights (1-1) 17 unanswered points.

Bethel's offense was running on all cylinders throughout the game, as the Royals finished the nonconference affair with 430 yards of total offense. Quarterback Erik Peterson finished the day 25-of-36 with 311 yards and zero interceptions. Peterson targeted nine different receivers, including Jared Schultz, who caught four passes for 94 yards, and Mitch Hallstrom, who hauled in eight passes for 64 yards.

In addition to a stellar air attack, BU's ground game rushed for 119 yards on 39 carries and three touchdowns. Brandon Marquardt led all rushers with 109 yards on 14 carries and two scores. Marquardt averaged 7.8 yards per carry and spouted off a 37-yard run in the third quarter that set up a Jesse Phenow touchdown.

Preseason All-American Seth Mathis led all Bethel defenders with 13 tackles, including a half-sack for two yards. Meanwhile, Luke Buttenhoff tallied six wrap-ups and a sack for a loss of six yards. Altogether, the Royals managed to get to the quarterback five times for a pushed the Knights back 22 yards.

Wartburg linebacker Drew Kooi led all tacklers with 17 total tackles.

Bethel topped the Knights in nearly every statistical category Saturday, owning a 22-17 lead in first downs, a 119-116 mark in rushing yards, and a 311-198 advantage in passing yards. In addition, Bethel's punter Phil Peterson, despite one error late in the game, helped the Royals defense by averaging 40 yards per punt—including two inside the Wartburg 20-yard-line.  Nathaniel Van Loon and Andrew O'Reilly also collectively averaged 60.7 yards on kickoffs.

WIth Saturday's victory, the Royals make it three consecutive wins against Wartburg and begin the season 1-0 for the sixth consecutive season and for the 18th time in the past 20 years.

No. 9 Wisconsin-Platteville 38, Dubuque 24 | Box Score

DUBUQUE, Iowa --  Ninth-ranked Wisconsin-Platteville was propelled by 21-3 second quarter to beat Dubuque 38-24 on Saturday night at Chalmers Field.

The Pioneers improve to 2-0 for the fourth consecutive season and the Spartans fell to 1-1.

John Kelly completed 24-35 passes for 294 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. The three-headed attack of Trevor Whitehead, seniors Ryley Bailey and Paul Reit caught a combined 22 passes. Whitehead recorded a game-high nine receptions for 137 yards with two touchdowns. Bailey hauled in seven passes for 69 yards, while Reit caught six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. Senior Lee Vlasak led all rushers with 15 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The Pioneer defense was led by senior defensive back Kevin Ybarra, who recorded 11 total tackles and two pass break-ups, while sophomore defensive end Andrew Robinson registered six total tackles, two sacks and a hit on the quarterback.

No. 10 Wisconsin-Oshkosh 34, Marian (Ind.) 13

INDIANAPOLIS -- Wisconsin-Oshkosh improved to 2-0 with a 34-13 victory against Marian (Ind.) on Saturday in Indianapolis.

The Titans, ranked 10th, scored 20 points in the second quarter and then shut out the Knights for the final 40 minutes. Marian (1-2) is ranked second in the NAIA after winning the 2012 national championship. The loss snapped Marian's eight-game home win streak.

Ryan Stefaniak turned the tide on a 13-13 game late in the first half. Quarterback Joey Hecklinski turned and fired a pass to his left, where Stefaniak read the play perfectly. He grabbed an interception and raced 45 yards for the touchdown that gave UW-Oshkosh the lead for good.

Both Stefaniak and Brian Hardy led the Titans with seven tackles. Stefaniak also marked three tackles for loss and one sack. UW-Oshkosh totaled six sacks by six different players.

This was the fourth time in seven games that UW-Oshkosh booked a second-half shutout. The Titans have outscored their opponents in the second half, 134-13, during the previous seven contests.

Myhra set a career-high with 29 carries, totaling 121 yards and two scores. Olla threw for 179 yards, while Voss posted three catches for 65 yards. The Titans achieved a 403-333 edge in total offense, as they converted 9-of-16 third downs. UW-Oshkosh was able to overcome three interceptions and one lost fumble.

Marian finished 0-for-3 on fourth down and came up empty on its final 10 possessions. Hecklinski racked up 206 yards passing, with 60 going to Summa (four catches). Lake rushed for 119 yards and acquired a game-high six receptions for 21 yards.

Narvin Powell topped all players with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Ryan Hartnett also made 10 stops for the Knights.