MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The St. Thomas football team can finally say it’s in unfamiliar territory.
The Tommies, ranked No. 3 in the nation, advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the first time in school history with a 45-10 win over St. John Fisher on Saturday at O’Shaughnessy Stadium in St. Paul. Their reward is a Saturday date with UW-Whitewater, the No. 1 team in the nation, in the semifinals this week.
UW-Whitewater has won the last two Division III national titles and has won 43 straight games, including 25 straight home wins.
Before we look ahead to the Whitewater match-up, there were plenty of highlights from Saturday’s victory to get there. St. John Fisher ran a kickoff back for a touchdown in the second quarter to pull within 14-10, but the Tommies scored the next 31 points to pull away in the contest. St. Thomas had a 35-10 lead at the half.
Dakota Tracy threw touchdown passes to Fritz Waldvogel and Logan Marx during the stretch, and Colin Tobin and Matt O’Connell added rushing touchdowns in the victory. St. Thomas collected 408 yards of total offense in the win while holding St. John Fisher to just 133.
Tobin again carried the load with 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Waldvogel had five catches for 105 yards and two scores, both in the first half. He missed most of the second half with a neck injury, but said after the game he should be fine for Saturday and expects to play.
Perhaps most impressive yet again was the defensive effort for St. Thomas. The Tommies held St. John Fisher without an offensive touchdown, collected two sacks and forced three interceptions. St. John Fisher came into the contest averaging nearly 31 points per game.
St. Thomas won the game on both sides of the ball at the line of scrimmage, and they’ll need to do it again this week to knock off the No. 1 team in the nation. The winner of Saturday’s contest between St. Thomas and Whitewater advances to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the Division III National Championship, in Salem, Va. Dec. 17.
We’ll break down Saturday’s match-up later this week. The game, which is slated for a 2:30 kickoff, will be broadcast live on WCCO Radio 830 AM as Dave Lee and Eric Nelson will have the call. ESPN3 and Channel 23 have picked up the game and will carry it on television.