MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A long-standing rivalry in Minnesota college football was in the national spotlight Saturday.

The University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University faced off in Collegeville, but fans were in the stadium long before the two teams took the field.

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Approximately 3,500 fans showed up for “SportsCenter’s On the Road” The show chose to feature the Tommies-Johnnies game for their weekly broadcast.

Game-time lights shined down on team loyalty early Saturday morning at Clemens Stadium.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The rivalry has a way of bringing out the fan frenzy, but at 6 a.m. neither team was even on the field.

“This is a huge day right now. This has never happened before. ESPN’s here. This is awesome! I watch them every day, [I] really want to be on TV,” Tommies fan Taylor Voit said.

This is the first time “On The Road” has come to Minnesota, and the first time they have featured a Division Three school.

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“You don’t hear about D3s because we’re automatically written off as just an academic school, not sports,” Johnnies fan Claire Haddock said. “But we’ve got a good sports team!”

Both Tommies and Johnnies had a front seat to college football coverage for two hours.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Everyone said it’s something you can’t miss,” Tommies fan Justice Hazlett said.

Meanwhile, football fans around the country learned of the quest for the “Holy Grail.” The football rivalry between St. John’s and St. Thomas reaches back 84 years. The winner of each matchup takes home the “Holy Grail” trophy.

St. John’s Athletic Director Tom Stock says a number of factors helped bring “On the Road” to Collegeville. Along with the long-standing rivalry, both teams are undefeated, both are nationally-ranked D3 teams and St. John’s coach — John Gagliardi — has the most wins of any coach in college football.

WCCO’s David McCoy was at the game, and has all the highlights:

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