MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The St. Thomas football team proved it can withstand virtually any element after its 48-2 win in the NCAA Playoffs on Saturday over previously unbeaten St. Scholastica.
A heavy snow started just before kickoff and made things interesting for everyone involved in the game. The Tommies still managed 351 rushing yards and more than 500 yards of total offense despite the conditions. Their defense limited the Saints to just 73 total yards and four first downs.
St. Thomas (11-0) moves on and hosts Monmouth College of Illinois (9-2) at noon Saturday in St. Paul after the Fighting Scots knocked off Illinois Wesleyan 33-27 in triple overtime last week.
The two teams have one comment opponent this season: St. Norbert. The Tommies beat St. Norbert 20-7 in their season opener, while Monmouth lost to them 10-3 on Oct. 1. That game was also Monmouth’s lowest offensive output of the season. Otherwise they’ve put up at least 35 points in every other game.
The St. Thomas defense, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation against the run and fourth in the nation in points allowed, will face its toughest test yet this weekend. Monmouth averages a gaudy 546 yards of total offense a game, with more than 200 of that coming on the ground.
Quarterback Alex Tanney has thrown for more than 3,600 yards and 37 touchdowns this season. Running back Trey Yocum has more than 1,400 yards on the ground and 21 scores. Mike Blodgett is Tanney’s favorite target with more than 1,700 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns.
On defense, Monmouth has a pair of linebackers whose statistics are nothing short of impressive. Preston Lumzy has 72 tackles on the season, including 15 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. Rod Ojong leads the team with 99 tackles, including 11.5 for a loss.
Two years ago, St. Thomas went to Monmouth and beat them 43-21 in the NCAA Playoffs, but a lot of changed since then. St. Thomas will need its playmakers to step up once again in Saturday’s battle, and that defense will probably have to have its best game of the year to pull out the victory.
If you can’t make it to the game, tune into WCCO Radio 830 AM as Dave Lee and Eric Nelson will have the call starting at about 11:50 a.m. You can also find a live stream of the game online at wcco.com.