MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso said last Saturday’s game at Concordia would be “no slam dunk,” but the Tommies sure made it look easier than expected with a 48-30 win over the Cobbers in Moorhead.
The win leaves St. Thomas in a tie for the MIAC lead with Augsburg, who spoiled homecoming at St. John’s on Saturday with a 32-31 victory over the Johnnies. St. Thomas, ranked No. 3 in Division III, hosts St. John’s this Saturday in one of the great rivalry games in college football.
St. Thomas completed a 4-0 September with the win over Concordia. They did it with the combination of a potent passing game and a dominant rushing defense.
Dakota Tracy had just 11 completions, but they went for 263 yards and two touchdowns. The Tommies also got scores from three different running backs in the victory. Concordia scored first, but St. Thomas scored 28 straight points and led 28-14 at the half.
The Tommies then scored three straight rushing touchdowns to take a commanding 48-14 lead. St. Thomas racked up more than 500 yards of offense in the win. It’s also the third week in a row the Tommies have scored at least 45 points in a victory.
“Offensively it’s the third week in a row where we’ve had a nice run-pass balance and got off to a quick start,” Caruso said. “Any time you can do that effectively and early in a game it makes it easier to be successful.”
St. Thomas’s run defense was as stingy as it has been all season, allowing 50 net yards on 26 carries, an average of less than two yards per carry.
From looking at the box score and statistics from the game, St. Thomas simply overwhelmed Concordia and slammed the door shut with 21 third quarter points. That’s not an easy thing to do with Concordia’s potentially deceptive run game, plus a long road trip that can make the most talented player around lose focus if they aren’t careful.
The Tommies host St. John’s at 1:10 p.m. Saturday in St. Paul. I’ll have a preview of that game later this week with ticket info and link to a guide for O’Shaughnessy Stadium. Nearly 17,000 people attended last year’s match-up in Collegeville, which the Tommies won in overtime after St. John’s missed an extra point.
Caruso said he expects a big crowd at Saturday’s game.
“Last year at homecoming we had 8,000 to 10,000 and this is a game that means so much to so many people,” Caruso said. “There’s a genuine excitement any time you play a rival.”