Loyola opens with decisive win, 34-20

September 13, 1992|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Loyola coach Joe Brune said he liked the way his offens looked in preseason scrimmages. He liked it even better yesterday.

Quarterback Bill Evans threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as second-ranked Loyola gained 425 yards on offense and rolled to a 34-20 victory over visiting St. John's (D.C.) in the Dons' season opener.

The Dons were able to use several different weapons against St. John's (1-1), ranked 13th in the Washington area. Evans picked apart the Cadets in the first half with the rollout pass. Then, in the second half, the Dons found success with the run.

Loyola's ground game was strong all day, as the Dons finished with 279 yards on 29 carries.

"I don't think they were expecting us to be as good," said Evans. "I guess we showed them."

Loyola repeatedly burned St. John's with the big play. Nine times, the Dons gained 25 yards or more on one play.

The Cadets stuck with an eight-man front much of the day, and the Dons found plenty of success with the pass. Evans hit 5-of-9 for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

On the first play of the game, Evans hit Karl Zeller on a rollout pass for 24 yards. Two plays later, Evans rolled to the left and lofted one to Brian Perrier for a 48-yard gain to the 2-yard line. Evans sneaked in on the next play.

"I don't know whether we just were flat or they made us flat with that first drive," said St. John's coach John Ricca. "All I can say is that they were much better than I thought they'd be on offense."

Perrier led the Dons' rushing attack, gaining 117 yards on 10 carries. His big play was a 73-yard touchdown that sealed the victory in the fourth quarter.

The Dons rolled up 262 yards in the first half, taking a 21-6 halftime lead. They then fought off a St. John's comeback in the second half, triggered by quarterback/running back Kevin Ricca yards rushing), who scored two touchdowns.

A key play for Loyola happened in the third quarter. Leading, 21-14, the Dons were forced to punt.

The snap sailed over Evans' head and rolled inside the 10. Evans hurriedly kicked it, and it bounced to the line of scrimmage at the 26. Then, it hit Mark Galliard of St. John's, and Loyola's John Conrad recovered at the 30.

That kept the Dons' drive going. One play later, Evans hit Rob Buccheri for 35 yards on a rollout pass. Three plays later, Evans hooked up with Charlie Smith on a quick out, and Smith broke away from his defender for a 30-yard touchdown and a 28-14 lead with 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter.

But Kevin Ricca kept the Cadets in the game. On an option play, he broke off a 59-yard run that set up a 1-yard touchdown for him on the second play of the fourth quarter. That cut the deficit to 28-20.

On the next play, however, Perrier took the handoff, burst through the line and raced 73 yards for the final touchdown.

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