MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The St. Thomas football team heads just across the Wisconsin border Saturday afternoon to complete its non-conference schedule.
The No. 4-ranked Tommies (1-0) travel to UW-River Falls, who will be playing its season opener.
Saturday’s match-up has all the makings of a potential trap game for St. Thomas. River Falls lost to the Tommies 27-3 last year in St. Paul after St. Thomas pulled away in the second half.
The Falcons struggled last year to a 1-9 record, with every one of its losses being by double digits. Their closest defeat was a 24-7 loss to UW-Stout. They have a new head coach in Matt Walker and 12 returning seniors on the roster. In three previous seasons at DePauw University, Walker went 22-8.
UW-River Falls managed to end its 2010 season on a positive note with a 45-42 win over UW-Eau Claire. The Falcons bring back eight starting seniors, including running back Taylor Edwards, who has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of the past two seasons.
Saturday is one of those match-ups where they can’t afford to overlook River Falls. The Falcons had a first week bye, and the Tommies don’t exactly know what to expect.
“That puts a lot of pressure on us. We don’t know exactly what we’re going to see and they’re going to be well prepared. I’m sure they’ll be ready,” coach Glenn Caruso told WCCO’s Mike Max Thursday night.
This year’s St. Thomas team appears to have picked up right where it left off from 2010 after last weekend’s 20-7 win over St. Norbert, an NCAA playoff team from last year. Quarterback Dakota Tracy passed for 336 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores in that victory. Fritz Waldvogel, one of the top wide receivers in the country, had seven catches for 144 yards in the win. That included a 62-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
River Falls leads the all-time series against St. Thomas 8-3, including three wins at home. Saturday’s game will be a true border battle as 28 of the Falcons’ 44 players on their two-deep roster are Minnesotans, and St. Thomas has 14 players on its roster from Wisconsin.
Not traveling to River Falls for the 1 p.m. game Saturday? Tune into WCCO Radio 830 AM for a live broadcast of the game or head to wcco.com for a live stream of the radio broadcast.