After handling Hamline 43-7 last week, the St. Thomas football team faces one of its tougher games of the 2013 schedule this Saturday. The Tommies (5-2, 3-2) face a must-win situation when they head to Minneapolis Saturday to face Augsburg (4-3, 3-3). Then again, when you have two MIAC losses and need to win out to have any shot at the NCAA Playoffs, every week is a must-win.
For the second time this season, the St. Thomas football team got a lopsided win on its home field the week after a tough loss in the MIAC. Back in Week 4, the Tommies crushed Carleton 65-6 one week after a devastating 20-18 loss to St. John’s in their MIAC opener. St. Thomas suffered a tough 28-21 loss at Bethel last weekl, and it was followed by a dominating 43-7 win over Hamline on Saturday.
The St. Thomas football team knows it’s probably on the outside looking in when it comes to earning a playoff berth this year. The Tommies, which dropped to No. 15 in the latest Division III poll after losing 28-21 at Bethel last week, need to win their last four games and have Bethel go undefeated and win the MIAC to have any chance at the postseason.
The Tommies lost at Bethel 28-21 Saturday to drop to 4-2 on the season, but more importantly 2-2 in the MIAC. The win for the Royals also gives them the inside track at a league title and the MIAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs.
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.
It’s probably been a very, very long time since St. Thomas had to look up at Gustavus in the MIAC football standings, but that’s exactly the case as the two teams square off Saturday afternoon in St. Peter. The Gusties have made quite a turnaround in the last year and are 3-1 entering Saturday’s contest.
There were several smiling faces on the field after the St. Thomas football team got done with a dominating Homecoming performance on Saturday at O’Shaughnessy Stadium. The Tommies, ranked No. 6 in Division III, piled up nearly 700 yards of total offense and had seven different players score touchdowns in a 65-6 win over the Knights to claim their first MIAC win of the season.
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.
The St. Thomas campus, at least from a football standpoint, was quiet last weekend with the Tommies on a bye following a frustrating loss to St. John’s. With that bye after three games, it gave St. Thomas an early chance to correct several mistakes and get back to the fundamentals of football.
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.
St. Thomas hosts arguably the biggest small-college athletic event of the year Saturday as it opens the MIAC football slate against rival St. John’s at O’Shaughnessy Stadium. When the two teams met in St. Paul two years ago, St. Thomas broke a 29-year record with more than 10,000 people in attendance as the Tommies rolled to a 63-7 victory.
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.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the “what might have been” scenario, especially when it comes to sports and championships. I’ve always viewed that as pretty cut and dry. If you did enough, you’ll win a championship. If you didn’t, you won’t.