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.
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.
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.
If the St. Thomas football team has any hopes of playing in the NCAA Division III Playoffs, it knows winning out is pretty much the only option. That got a lot more difficult this week despite a 20-12 win at Gustavus last Saturday.
The excitement of a road win for the St. Thomas football team at Gustavus was a bit tempered Saturday as the Tommies headed back to St. Paul. St. Thomas, ranked No. 6 in Division III headed into the game, actually dropped three spots in the polls despite claiming a 20-12 win over the Gusties.
After falling to St. John’s 20-18 in the conference opener, every week the rest of the season will essentially be a playoff game for the Tommies. St. Thomas (2-1, 0-1) can’t afford to have another MIAC loss if it has any hopes of another league title and a trip to the NCAA Playoffs.
There’s rarely been a time in the St. Thomas/St. John’s football rivalry where it’s considered an upset if the Johnnies come out with the victory. That was exactly the scenario Saturday as the two teams entered their MIAC opener 2-0, with the Tommies ranked No. 2 in the nation after making a run to last year’s national title game.
The St. Thomas football team got its first real test against an opponent last Saturday in its home opener, and by all accounts the Tommies passed with flying colors. The Tommies, ranked No. 2 in the national polls, scored the first 15 points against UW-Eau Claire and led 32-7 at the half on the way to a 52-7 victory.
Students moved in over the weekend, and it should make for a festive atmosphere Saturday when No. 2-ranked St. Thomas hosts UW-Eau Claire Saturday afternoon. They may not say it right away, but the three-time defending MIAC champion Tommies have their sights set on something bigger: A national championship.
If you head over to Palmer field at O’Shaughnessy Stadium it’s pretty quiet these days. That will all change in a few short weeks as the St. Thomas football team prepares for the start of the fall season. Camp starts in early August for the Tommies, who went 14-1 last season. That one loss prevented St. Thomas from winning its first national championship.
Matt O’Connell ran for two touchdowns and threw for another on Saturday and St. Thomas (Minn.) beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh 28-14 in the Division III national semifinals.