DEERFIELD, Ill. — St. Ambrose overcame the slop and muck to grab the win.
The Fighting Bees played dominating defense and did just enough offensively to pull out a 12-7 win over Trinity International on Saturday at a water-logged Leslie Frazier Field.
"We really played well. We did a great job of really trying to control the line of scrimmage and limit the run game," St. Ambrose coach Mike Magistrelli said. "It wasn't raining during the game, but there was standing water and mud all over the field. ... It's one of those where halfway through the game you couldn't see guy's jersey numbers."
The win is the second straight for the Bees, but the biggest story was the ejection of senior end Chris Overton, who leads the nation with 14.5 sacks this season.
According to Magistrelli, Overton was ejected for throwing a punch midway through the second quarter. Overton told Magistrelli he was trying to punch out the ball during a gang tackle after the Bees (4-5, 2-2) had stood up the ball carrier.
"I'm anxious to see the film," Magistrelli said. "The official said that he was (trying to punch the ball out) but there was a blocker in between him and the ball carrier so when he actually punched, he punched the other player. I have to see the film."
Magistrelli said the Bees plan to appeal the ejection — which carries with it an automatic suspension for the St. Ambrose season finale against Olivet Nazarene — and expects a decision to be made by Monday.
"For him, if he has to miss his last game, that's awful tough," Magistrelli said. "Talking to the official at halftime I said, 'Listen, his career is probably over then by making that call. I hope the video shows what you think it shows because that's a tough call to make.'"
Despite the loss of Overton, the Bees held the Trojans (2-6, 1-3) to 161 total yards and only allowed the touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Bees took an early lead on a safety forced by Deontae Curry. Curry is a freshman and has only played in three games at the varsity level but already has made an impression. He finished with six tackles in the game and now has 26 through three games.
"It's a great example of getting an opportunity and making the most of it," Magistrelli said. "He's just got a knack for making plays — very aggressive, makes plays in the backfield. He's been a real great addition for us defensively."
Jake Osterberger scored a touchdown to make it 9-0, and then Kenny Rowe hit a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to put the Bees up 12-0. Baylee Hopps led the team with 173 rushing yards while the Bees put up 250 yards on the ground and only threw for 76.
"It was hard to get any type of traction. Throwing the ball was almost like throwing a watermelon, you couldn't grip it. It was really rough conditions," Magistrelli said. "The conditions did not lend itself to be able to throw the ball with any success so we really relied on the run game."