First evening, football game for Saint Mary ends in big defeat

On a historic night, the University of Saint Mary football team may choose to forget Saturday altogether as the 2017 season unfolds.

As part of the GPAC-KCAC challenge, the USM Spires played host to 17th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan in the first ever night game to take place at Saint Mary.

By the time the first quarter had ended, the visiting DWU squad was already on its way to dimming the hopes for a big, Spires' win and would roll away for a 60-14 win.

The Spires (1-1) now take a week off before kicking off KCAC play on Sept. 16 when they travel to Kansas Wesleyan at 6 p.m. in Salina.

Against DWU (1-1), who was coming off of a shock 56-39 defeat at Dakota State the previous week, the Spires saw their wounded opponent come out and hit the Spires early and often en route to a 19-0 lead after the first quarter.

That renewed confidence would grow into a 40-7 lead by intermission.

USM's lone first half score came when quarterback Drew Cortez connected with Andre Long on a touchdown pass to pull within 26-7 midway through the second quarter.

A keeper by Cortez accounted for the remainder of the USM scoring, tallied late in the contest.

Cortez finished 24-for-53 with 374 yards passsing and a touchdown, while AJ Barnett led the USM receivers with 102 yards on two receptions. 

DWU finished with 692 total yards of offense and 31 first downs while USM accounted for 449 yards, but held to 2.6 yards per rushing attempt while being gashed for 7.6 in return.

The GPAC won the challenge taking seven of 10 contests, with an average margin of victory of 26 ppg, compared to losing three games by an average of 19.3 ppg.

OTHER GPAC-KCAC RESULTS (GPAC wins 7-3)

Morningside 65-14 over Tabor (KCAC)

Midland 29-24 over Friends (KCAC)

McPherson (KCAC) 43-14 over Texas Wesleyan

Bethany (KCAC) 36-23 over Briar Cliff

Northwestern (Iowa) 41-16 over Ottawa (KCAC)

Hastings 52-35 over Southwestern (KCAC)

Doane 34-28 over Sterling (KCAC)

Kansas Wesleyan (KCAC) 28-13 over Concordia (NE)

Dordt 44-10 over Bethel (KCAC)