ST. PAUL, Minn. — St. Thomas knew stopping Eureka College's Le'Anthony Reasnover was its top priority in Saturday's NCAA Division III first-round playoff game.
The No. 4-ranked Tommies did just that, holding Reasnover to 44 yards on 27 carries. St. Thomas used a big third quarter to pull away for a 47-8 victory over the Red Devils, who were playing in the Division III playoffs for the first time.
"Especially defensively they were aggressive up front," said Eureka coach Kurt Barth, whose team finished 8-3. "They did not allow any alleys or seams for Le'Anthony to get some opportunities. I was happy with the way we played defensively down 19-0 (at halftime). Some of that was our inability to move the ball offensively."
Reasnover came into the game as the No. 2 rusher in Division III with 1,834 yards and first with 31 rushing touchdowns.
But, outside of a 24-yard run, the Tommies (10-1) kept the junior tailback bottled up. Reasnover also caught four passes for 35 yards as the Red Devils totaled 155 yards of total offense.
St. Thomas quarterback Jacques Perra threw for 132 yards and two TDs, while Josh Parks gained 106 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown.
The Tommies, who had 397 yards of total offense, scored 21 points in the third quarter to take a 40-0 lead.
"We came out in the second half and they blocked a punt and had a couple plays go their way," said Barth. "They jumped on us to start the second half. I was proud our guys fought from start to finish. We fared better than everyone thought we would. We knew who could come in and compete."
Eureka's lone score came when Drew Barth threw a 3-yard pass to Trevor Zeibert with 11:13 left. Barth, who completed 6 of 9 attempts for 76 yards, then threw a conversion pass to Tanner Kuhne.
"This doesn't take away from these guys and what they accomplished this season," said Kurt Barth. "We got to experience that level and see what it's like. Then you realize where you're at and what you need to do to get to the next level. Seeing and playing in it is a huge step."
After winning the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference title, the Red Devils will move to the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference next season.