USF Senior Sets MSFA Career TD Record
By Bill Scott, Saint Francis (Ind.) Sports Information Director
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Now with a 56-23 decision in the win column for top-ranked University of Saint Francis, quarterback Nick Ferrer could catch his breath and reflect on his new achievement — the career passing touchdown leader in the Mid-States Football Association.
“It’s an honor to get that record,” Ferrer said after throwing for six TD passes in USF’s 17th consecutive win. He entered the game at Missouri Baptist University needing four to pass Ohio Domincan quarterback Cris Reisert, who finished with 120 TD passes playing from 2005-08.
“I know about the type of football that is played in this conference,” Ferrer continued. “It’s the best conference in NAIA football in my opinion, so it does mean a lot to me.”
Ferrer, who hadn’t thrown for a TD pass in USF’s last two wins, secured the record with a 13-yard pass to Casey Coll, the first career TD reception for the freshman receiver. USF linebacker Spencer Cowherd set up the score when he plucked an MBU pass that Piercen Harnish deflected for Cowherd.
“That’s the kind of team we have, guys doing their job to help the other side of the ball,” Ferrer observed. “Receivers get open, the big men up front keeping me safe, out of harm’s way, and receivers getting open and making plays. All share in this record. It’s not something I could do all by myself.”
Ferrer’s fourth TD pass in the first half gave USF some breathing room after the ‘Senior Day’ and Homecoming inspired Spartans jumped in front early 7-0 and only trailed 28-20 before the Ferrer-Coll connection with 46 seconds to play in the first half.
“Their (MBU’s) game plan, they really wanted to take away our outside, deep threat, vertical threat,” Ferrer pointed out. “I don’t think they liked their matchup with our guys out there. (Our) receivers did a great job of getting open; we just did a great job all around. The offensive line did a great job protecting me.”
After Justin Green scored USF’s first TD on a 15-yard burst, Gavin Gardner knotted the score at 7 with the PAT. Ferrer hooked up with Will Chrisman for the first of his six TD passes at 13:46 in the second quarter for a 14-7 USF lead. MBU tied the game at 14 on a 38-yard Domini Demerath to D’Ante Cox TD, but USF’s Duke Blackwell’s 50-yard catch and run gave the Cougars the lead for good with 12:56 to play in the second quarter.
Donvont Johnson picked up a fumbled Andreas Gomez-Espino pass and returned it 78 yards drawing the Spartans within a point, 21-20, with 8:09 to play in the second quarter but a Jordan Norwine pass fell incomplete and MBU got no closer.
Nate Carson gathered in Ferrer’s third TD pass in the second quarter for a 27-yard score to tie Reisert’s career record at 120 with 4:49 to play setting up the Ferrer to Coll record-setting throw.
“Nick has been an outstanding quarterback, the best in the country in my opinion,” USF Head Coach Kevin Donley asserted after getting his 310th career win, 196th in 20 seasons as the Cougars’ head coach. “His vision, his knowledge of the game and implementation of the game plan is without equal, so him getting the record is something special in a special career here at USF.”
With two more TD passes in the fourth quarter, Ferrer finished the game Saturday with 124 career TD passes, 26 this season after his second 6-TD passing game this season and his fourth in four years at USF. Ferrer finished the MBU game connecting on 33 of 49 passes (1 interception), a .673 completion percentage, for 446 yards to become just the third MSFA quarterback to pass the 11,000 yards passing plateau and has 11,002 heading into USF’s ninth game of the season against Lindenwood University-Belleville on Oct. 28. Ferrer is No. 2 on the NAIA career TD passing list behind Austin Dodge (Southern Oregon, 2011-14), who finished with 154 career TD passes.
USF junior running back Justin Green joined Ferrer in the record assault by rushing for 169 yards putting his 2017 total at 1,061 and making him the first and ONLY USF back to rush for 1,000 or more yards in three consecutive seasons. He also has rushed for 14 100+ yard games in his career, also a USF record. He has scored at least one TD in 12 consecutive games.