Saint Clare is the patron saint of good weather, and she smiled on her namesake school Saturday night.
Rain squalls swept through the Bay Area throughout the afternoon, but the evening fell clear and dry. Santa Clara took advantage of the break in the weather to drown Cal Lutheran, 38-15, before a crowd of 1,179 in a nonconference game at Buck Shaw Stadium.
"I thought we were better than they were coming into the game, and rain is a great equalizer," Santa Clara Coach Terry Malley said.
Malley's best "mudder," running back Paul Marcy was out with a separated shoulder, and Malley was looking to avoid a slow, muddy slugfest with Cal Lutheran (2-5) and its big offensive line.
Except for a light mist that fell intermittently in the second half, St. Clare smiled on Malley, and Santa Clara (5-3) built a 38-7 third-quarter lead on the strength of three touchdown passes by John St. Jacques.
"We got too far behind, gave up the big plays, and Santa Clara is a good football team," said Cal Lutheran Coach Bob Shoup, whose team was blown out for the first time this season.
Trailing, 24-7, at the half, Cal Lutheran found itself deep in Santa Clara territory several times in the second half but couldn't capitalize until quarterback Eddie Hoffman scored on a seven-yard run with 2:07 to play.
The Santa Clara defense took away the pass, and Cal Lutheran's most effective weapon proved to be quarterback keepers.
"We seemed to be a little out of sync," Shoup said. "You don't like to make the quarterbacks the main ballcarriers, but that's the way it turned out."
Quarterbacks Dan Nagelmann and Eddie Hoffman ran for 66 and 45 yards, respectively, but combined for only 80 passing yards.
Nagelmann picked up 59 yards on four runs around the right side on Cal Lutheran's first scoring drive, an 81-yard, 12-play march late in the first quarter.
"I'd be looking left and the whole right side would be open," Nagelmann said. "They overpursued every time."
Wide receiver Vic Williams capped the march when he picked his way six yards into the end zone on a reverse to cut the gap to 10-7.
Santa Clara scored on its first possession, aided by a pass interference call on Cal Lutheran cornerback Mark Staley on his own one-yard line.
Five plays later, Aron Wise swept untouched around the left for a four-yard touchdown. On Santa Clara's next possession, Tobin Douglas kicked a 22-yard field goal.
Santa Clara capitalized on a pair of costly Cal Lutheran turnovers to build its halftime lead to 24-7. Mark Modeste intercepted a Nagelmann pass and returned it 52 yards, and Tony Evenson beat Staley for a 15-yard touchdown pass from St. Jacques.
After Cal Lutheran quarterback Tim Zeddies fumbled a snap, Santa Clara drove 33 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds remaining. St. Jacques, who passed for 196 yards, hit Brian McKelligon with a two-yard touchdown pass.
On Santa Clara's first possession of the second half, St. Jacques hit Travis Bargeman, who streaked past a fallen Cal Lutheran defender for a 60-yard touchdown.