Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Don’t be fooled by the fact that the St. Thomas football team has won each of its past two games by more than 20 points.
The Tommies have plenty to do yet this season if they intend to play more than the 10 regular season games they’re allotted. That’s what coach Glenn Caruso is preaching to his team after they dominated their last two opponents, at least on the scoreboard.
St. Thomas led 35-0 at halftime Saturday on the way to a 49-14 win over St. Olaf in its MIAC opener. Things are likely to get a lot tougher this week. The Tommies, now ranked No. 3 in the latest Division III national poll, face a long road trip to Moorhead and have a formidable opponent in front of them in the Concordia Cobbers.
Concordia went into a hostile environment at St. John’s on Saturday and took the Johnnies to overtime before coming up short 28-21 for their first loss of the season.
“It is a big test, they played an awesome game against St. John’s,” Caruso said. “They played a stellar, mentally tough game. I have a ton of respect for the program Terry Horan runs there.”
The Tommies have had no issues scoring points in three wins so far this season. Quarterback Dakota Tracy, running back Colin Tobin and wide receiver Fritz Waldvogel have formed a triple threat that no defense has been able to stop so far.
Concordia also features an offense that’s hard to stop, so the Tommies will have their hands full Saturday afternoon. The Cobbers play a wing-T where it’s tough to pick up where the ball is, and the Cobbers have plenty of weapons. Trent Johnson, Brett Baune and Michael Dunham are all threats in the run game. Baune leads the team with six touchdowns and Johnson is averaging close to 100 yards per game on the ground.
Dunham has two touchdown passes, both to Bronson Shepherd.
Caruso said their offense presents a great challenge to the St. Thomas defense because it’s so unique. They haven’t seen it yet this year, and they likely won’t see anything similar the rest of the season.
“Their offense is the anomaly in the league and we’re facing a D we haven’t seen yet this year. That keeps you on your toes,” Caruso said.
St. Thomas breezed to a 56-7 win over Concordia last year in a game where the Tommies led 35-0 at half and 56-0 in the fourth quarter. But Caruso said there’s absolutely no reason to think this will be an easy win for the Tommies. They’ll have to earn everything they get, because any slip up they suffer whether it be Saturday or this season could alter their postseason hopes.
“We heard the same stuff last year about overlooking them, and our guys are pretty good about not letting that happen,” Caruso said. “We’re only guaranteed to play 10 games this year and if we want more, we’ll have to earn them. We have nothing more to do this week than figure out how we’re going to beat Concordia. People out there are going to say it’s a slam dunk, but I have a lot of respect for their coach and their program. It’s anything but a slam dunk.”
St. Thomas and Concordia kickoff at 1:10 p.m. Saturday in Moorhead. Tune into a radio broadcast of the game at WCCO Radio 830 AM as Dave Lee and Eric Nelson will have the call, or head to wcco.com for a live web stream of the action.