The St. Thomas football team, ranked No. 22 in the country, faces its biggest game of the year Saturday at No. 11-ranked Bethel. The Tommies need a win over the Royals to stay in the hunt for a MIAC title and keep their chances alive to get to the postseason.
We’re about halfway through the MIAC football schedule, and the conference race is already starting to take shape. While many of the usual suspects are near the top, there’s one name that’s in unfamiliar territory. And St. Thomas remains one game back in the MIAC race after being Augsburg in its homecoming game 45-27.
Sometimes all it takes to recover from a frustrating loss to your rival is to blow out your next opponent with a dominating performance in all phases. That’s exactly what happened for the No. 24-ranked St. Thomas football team on Saturday. After a disappointing 24-14 loss to St. John’s last week, the Tommies put away St. Olaf early in a 69-7 win over the Oles in Northfield.
The St. Thomas football team likely has to win the rest of its games after losing to St. John’s last Saturday to get to the NCAA Playoffs. They still face tough league games against Bethel, the consensus MIAC favorite, Ausgburg, Concordia and Gustavus.
If you attend college at St. Thomas or St. John’s, the weekend where the two squads square off on the football field represents everything that’s right about college athletics. It will be an electric atmosphere on Saturday as the No. 10-ranked Tommies (2-0) host the Johnnies at O’Shaughnessy Stadium. With a forecast of close to 80 degrees and sunny skies expected, it will be a packed house as more than 10,000 fans are anticipated to represent the two schools.
St. Thomas scored 14 points in the first four minutes and cruised to a 46-0 win over the Eagles to improve to 2-0 on the season. It was exactly the type of performance Glenn Caruso was looking for out of his squad after a sluggish 22-17 win over UW-Eau Claire in the season-opener.
It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of games, but the St. Thomas football team is off to a 1-0 start after holding off UW-Eau Claire 22-17 on Saturday. The Tommies had a 22-3 lead in the third quarter at one point, but they needed a late interception from Sean Hamlin to seal their first victory of the season.
After about a month of fall camp and a final scrimmage to finalize some preseason items, coach Glenn Caruso and the St. Thomas football team play an opponent for real this weekend. The Tommies, coming off an 8-2 season in 2013 and their first time not in the NCAA Playoffs since Caruso’s first year at St. Thomas, host UW-Eau Claire Saturday to open the regular season.
There were 136 players reporting for duty Saturday as Glenn Caruso opened his seventh season as the head coach of the Tommies. After failing to reach the NCAA Playoffs in 2013 for the first time in four years, two years removed from a run to the Division III national championship game, the program is hungry for better results in 2014.
It was announced earlier this month that St. Thomas football reached an agreement with WCCO Radio to stay on the local station for at least the next three years. WCCO Radio 830 AM has been broadcasting St. Thomas football since 2011.
Coming off its first two-loss regular season since Glenn Caruso’s first year as coach, the man in charge announced his 2014 recruiting class last week. Caruso, entering his sixth season with the Tommies in 2014, is looking for his program to bounce back this year after missing the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the first time in four years.
Sunday, more than 100 St. Thomas football players will be back on the field as the Tommies open their 2014 spring practice session. After missing out on the postseason in 2013, you can bet they’ll be as hungry as ever to get back to work.
It’s a safe bet that the St. Thomas football team will be a motivated bunch when the squad hits the football field in August for the start of the fall season. The Tommies entered the 2013 season a top-five ranked team and a contender to return to not only the NCAA Division III playoffs, but a possible return to the national title game.
The pieces seemingly fell into place last Saturday as the St. Thomas football team put itself into position for an at-large NCAA berth. But instead of deciding its own fate, the Tommies had to leave it in the hands of a third party.
The St. Thomas football team is practicing this week as if it’s not the last game it will play this season. If you ask coach Glenn Caruso, he’s confident the Tommies name will be called by the NCAA selection committee for a playoff berth on Sunday.